“What a lady in the ring she is!” declared Fasig-Tipton announcer Terence Collier before the bidding began on an elegant Medaglia d'Oro filly July 14 in Lexington. Shoppers attending the Kentucky July select yearling sale apparently agreed with Collier because they pushed her price to $350,000, making her the most expensive filly sold so far during the auction.
Offered during the second and final session of the sale, the pretty bay also is the second-highest-priced horse sold so far, trailing behind only the $450,000 Medaglia d’Oro – Beright colt that went through auction ring on the opening day, July 13.
Virginia bloodstock agent Debbie Easter signed the sale ticket for the filly, saying her new owners would be Wick and Carter McNeely, who operate Morrowdale Farm in Viriginia.
“I’m very psyched,” Easter said. “She’s by Medaglia d’Oro and is a half (sister) to a grade I winner. That’s hard to beat, isn’t it? He (Medaglia d’Oro) is the hottest sire right now, and I figured there would probably be some other good folks (bidding) on her. I don’t know who else was bidding, but she’s a nice filly. She has a big, huge walk and a lovely neck and shoulder. I didn’t know if I could get her. That (the final price) was about as far as I could get, so that was great.”
Produced from the winning Ascot Knight mare High in the Park, the filly is a half sister to Divine Park (by Chester House), who triumphed in the Metropolitan (gr. I) and Westchester (gr. III) Handicaps in 2008 and the Withers Stakes (gr. III) in 2007.
The McNeelys race Funny Moon, who captured the 2009 Coaching Club American Oaks (gr. I) and this year’s Shuvee Handicap (gr. II). Funny Moon was a $175,000 purchase at the 2007 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga select yearling auction.
“We’re trying to slowly build a broodmare band by buying some yearling fillies,” said Easter of the McNeelys’ shopping strategy. “Funny Moon was the first yearling we started on that program with, and we’ve been buying two yearling fillies a year. It’s worked out pretty well so far.”
Brereton Jones, a former Kentucky governor, bred the $350,000 Medaglia d'Oro filly in the Bluegrass State, and she was consigned to the auction by Airdrie Stud, which Jones owns with his wife, Libby. The filly's grade I-winning half brother, Divine Park, stands at Airdrie.
“A couple of years ago, there were probably more high fives at this sale, but we are absolutely thrilled with $350,000,” said the Joneses’ son, Bret, who works in bloodstock services at Airdrie. “She’s just been a great filly to be around. She’s done everything we’ve asked her to do. Her sire has done everything we could ask him to do. And her half brother has done everything we could ask him to do. We’re very, very happy.”
Brereton Jones purchased High in the Park, carrying the Medaglia d’Oro filly, for $205,000 at the 2008 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky November select mixed sale from EMFO Racing, agent.
“That was a nice turn of luck there,” Bret Jones said, “because when we bought her, we were speculating that Medaglia d’Oro could be a very good sire and obviously, he’s gone beyond those expectations.”
Divine Park also was a factor in the purchase, Jones added, because “we knew how talented he was and our expectations were high for him (as a stallion), too.”