Bellavais, a 4-year-old Tapit filly descended from one of Darby Dan Farm's storied equine families was sold for $485,000 to highlight the Jan. 8 first day of Keeneland's January horses of all ages sale.
Offered as Hip 334 by Darby Dan Farm, the filly was purchased by agent Steve Young on behalf of an unnamed client. Presented as a racing or broodmare prospect, the filly will remain in training and will be sent to Todd Pletcher, Young said.
Bred in Kentucky by the Phillips Racing Partnership, Bellavais was trained by Jimmy Toner to win or place in seven of 11 starts and earn $199,210 to date. Her three victories include the 2017 editions of the Ginger Brew Stakes at Gulfstream Park and Drumtop Stakes at Suffolk Downs.
"She's from a family you have to have a world or respect for," Young said. "There is such an infrastructure of other horses in that pedigree that are doing well. She has to have a base value out there as a safety net she will never be worth less than, so I thought she would be a good gamble to go ahead and run as a 4-year-old.
"A lot of that family gets a little better as they get a little older and she is a multi-surface stakes horse," the agent continued. "She was an obvious pick."
Produced from the grade 3 winning Ghostzapper mare La Cloche, Bellavais' second dam is the hard-knocking mare Memories of Silver, whose nine wins included the Beverly D. Stakes and Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup Stakes, both grade 1 events on grass. Additional produce of Memories of Silver include multiple stakes winner Winter Memories and stakes winners British Blue and War Trace. The fifth dam of Bellavais is the Darby Dan blue hen mare Golden Trail.
"It's a great family and every now and then we'll sell a little bit of the gold to try to keep the gold mine intact," Darby Dan owner John Phillips said of the decision to sell the filly. "We have several of the family members and we will continue to maintain that Golden Trail line as best we can."
Phillips said the price was "a little better than I expected but I'm always pretty conservative. I'm happy and I'm happy for the buyer. I have a lot of confidence in Steve that whoever the buyer is that they will respect the family. She's a good little filly; she's very correct. But a lot of small fillies out of that family have done very well."