Grade I winner Ave became the first horse to bring a seven-figure price at the Keeneland January horses of all age auction when she sold for $1.4 million three-quarters of the way through its first session. Teruya Yoshida’s Shadai Farm of Japan purchased the 5-year-old daughter of Danehill Dancer, who was offered as a racing or broodmare prospect, Jan. 10 in Lexington.
“She is good-looking and has good conformation; she’s a well-balanced mare,” said Dr. Yoshiro Nakaji, a spokesman for Shadai, through a translator. “She will be a nice broodmare.”
Ave will be retired from racing and sent to Japan to be bred, according to Nakaji, who is a veterinarian. Three Chimneys Sales, the auction division of Robert Clay’s Three Chimneys Farm, consigned the dark bay or brown mare to the sale.
“I think it was a strong price, but at the end of the day it makes sense,” said Three Chimneys Farm president Case Clay. “She has a fabulous European pedigree. She is a group stakes winner in Europe, a grade I stakes winner in America, and she ran in Japan. She is a very international mare.”
Three Chimneys Racing and Lordship Stud owned Ave and campaigned her in 2010 after acquiring her privately. She won the Flower Bowl Invitational Stakes (gr. IT) for the partnership, and she also finished second in the Dance Smartly Stakes (Can-IIT) and third in the New York Stakes (gr. IIT) and the Gallorette Handicap (gr. IIIT).
In 2009, while running for her breeder, Plantation Stud, Ave triumphed in the Denny Cordell Lavarack & Lanwades Stud Fillies Stakes (Ire-III) and E.B.F Upavon Fillies’ Stakes in England. She finished second in the E.B.F. Lyric Stakes in England.
Three Chimneys, which owned 50% of Ave, entered the mare in last year’s Keeneland November breeding stock sale, but scratched her and sent her to Japan for the Queen Elizabeth II Commemorative Cup (Jpn-I). She finished 16th in the race.
“We were happy in the end,” Clay said. “She sticks out a bit more in the January sale. We really wanted to give that race in Japan a shot. It didn’t work out very well, but we can’t kick ourselves for trying.”
Lincoln Collins, a director of Three Chimneys Farm, tried to buy Ave, but Clay said the Kentucky-based bloodstock agent, who had a cell phone pressed against an ear during the bidding, wasn’t representing Three Chimneys.
Ave, who was bred in Great Britain, won five of her 15 career races and earned $556,169. She is out of the winning In the Wings mare Anna Amalia.