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Monday, November 5, 2007

Keeneland November Breeding Stock Sale: Day 1

I did not watch the Keeneland sale today (unlike the 5+ hours I spent on the Fasig-Tipton sale on Sunday), but some big numbers again emerged, topped by the world record $10.5 million spent by Darley for the Sadler’s Wells mare Playful Act who was bred to, but is not in foal to, Kingmambo. As you can imagine, it came down to Darley vs. Coolmore, thus the final extraordinary price for this English champion mare, a full-sister to graded stakes winner Percussionist.

"From a European standpoint, she was an outstanding filly on the racetrack," said Ferguson of Playful Act. "Sadler's Wells has proven to be a great broodmare sire, as we all know, but most importantly, Sheikh Mohammed was determined to have this mare because of [breeder-owner] Robert Sangster, Swettenham Stud, and for everything Robert achieved. He (Sheikh Mohammed) felt very strongly that this was a mare that he very, very much wanted to own."

And we all know, what the Sheikh wants, the Sheikh gets.

You can browse through the auction results here, but let me highlight some of the lesser discussed sales.

First, some of the bigger names to be offered today—Mary Delaney, Wild Gams, Hystericalady, Baroness Thatcher, Oprah Winney, and Barancella—were all out, as was Octave’s dam, Belle Nuit (#58), and Controlled (#86), the dam of Bear Now. A True Pussycat (#43) did not meet reserve, at $320,000, while River’s Prayer successfully brought $1.5 million.

A very intriguing “out” was Danish Wildcat (#101) who did not have much of a racing career (unplaced in 3 starts), but she is a full-sister to Coolmore stallion Ivan Denisovich and three-parts sister to Three Chimneys stallion War Chant—by Danehill, out of Breeders’ Cup Distaff winner Hollywood Wildcat. Add to that: Danish Wildcat is in foal to Smart Strike. Can you imagine what she would have brought?! Or maybe she did, via private sale...

Those names you may recall from racing this year that sold include the Dynaformer mare Dina (#111)—who won the Rare Treat Handicap at Aqueduct this year—who sold to Frank Stronach for $230,000, while this year’s Xtra Heat Stakes winner Wildcat Bettie B (#25) went for $550,000 to WinStar. One of this blogger’s personal favorite pregnant racing mares, Sabellina (#260), in foal to Pulpit, sold for $550,000 to Woodford Thoroughbreds, LLC.

Of the weanlings, Zanjero’s half-brother (#78), by Ghostzapper out of the A.P. Indy mare Checkered Flag, fetched $775,000, while River’s Prayer’s half-sister (#92) by Forest Wildcat out of the Cozzene mare Cozzy Flyer, only brought $100,000. A Kingmambo filly out of the Royal Academy mare Crystal Crossing (#94) sold for $850,000; her dam is a full-sister to Rule of Law (also by Kingmambo) who won the grade 1 St. Leger and placed in the grade 1 Epsom Derby. A weanling half-brother (#123) to Super Freaky (by Harlan’s Holiday, out of Deputy Minister mare Elrose) sold to B. Wayne Hughes for $500,000, while a half-brother (#139) to Cotton Blossom and Vicarage brought $265,000.

The most intriguing weanling “out” was #290, a Malibu Moon filly out of the Danzig mare Smolensk. Her second dam is the Blushing groom mare Blush with Pride, who also produced Better Than Honour (by Deputy Minister) and Maryinsky (by Sadler’s Wells)—better known, respectively, as the dams of Rags to Riches and Jazil, and Peeping Fawn. Especially considering the similar pedigree with Rags to Riches (by A.P. Indy)—and Malibu Moon by A.P. Indy—someone obviously does not want to let this one slip away.