A half brother to multiple group 1 winner Caravaggio became the third highest-priced yearling colt in the history of the Keeneland January horses of all ages sale when he was hammered down for $1 million to representatives of Coolmore Stud during the auction's second session Jan 9.
The expected demand for newly turned yearlings has lived up to its billing with the youngsters accounting for three of the top six prices during Tuesday's session. Comparatively speaking, just two yearlings sold for $300,000 or more during the entire 2017 January exercise.
Coolmore's affinity for the $1 million colt was no stunner, as the global operation stands his sire, Triple Crown winner American Pharoah , and campaigns Caravaggio. Out of the Holy Bull mare Mekko Hokte and consigned by Paramount Sales, the colt elicited an opening bid of $50,000 and had the board jump in $50,000 and $100,000 increments en route to the seven-figure threshold.
"American Pharoah doesn't need any explaining and Aidan O'Brien always believed Caravaggio to be the best sprinter he ever trained, so when our team considered this colt the best individual in the sale it was an easy decision for us to make," M.V. Magnier of Coolmore Stud said in a statement issued to the media. "We're incredibly lucky to have two great partners in Michael Tabor and Derrick Smith who are fully committed to finding the next Caravaggio. We'll leave it until later in the year before we discuss where this colt will be trained."
It addition to Caravaggio, Mekko Hokte also has produced graded stakes winner My Jen.
The colt was bred in Kentucky by Richard C. Imbert's Windmill Manor Farms in partnership with Petaluma Bloodstock. Charlie O'Connor, director of sales for Coolmore Stud, is one of the principals in Petaluma Bloodstock. Windmill Manor and Petaluma also bred Caravaggio.
"He deserved it. He was a beautiful, beautiful horse and Caravaggio is such a good racehorse," said Pat Costello of Paramount Sales. "I thought he would be close to there ($1 million). This horse was so athletic and he moves so beautifully. Every top buyer on the ground seemed to be on him."
The bay colt was the second highest-priced yearling of the session and is from the female family of multiple group 1 winner Air Force Blue as well as champion Flanders. Given the colt was the only yearling by War Front in the catalog, Baccari was prepared to go well into six figures.
"For me, he has a very quick look about him and ... I've been trying to buy War Fronts for a while so I was able to get this one," Baccari said. "War Fronts are hard to buy usually so I got lucky. In any market, if there is a nice horse it's going to be hard to buy. It's hard to sneak up on them, it's really hard."
A dark bay daughter of Mineshaft out of multiple graded stakes winner Summer Applause brought the day's third-highest price for a short yearling, selling for $300,000 out of the Lane's End consignment.
Gabriel Duignan of Paramount Sales signed the ticket for the Mineshaft filly in the name of Popp Bloodstock, adding he purchased her for a partnership that would likely resell their new purchase.
"She has a beautiful pedigree and her half sister (Ipanema Beach) looks quite good," Duignan said. "She's a beautiful individual."