Mandy Pope lands HOY Havre de Grace for $10 million

The class that poured from every pore of 2011 Horse of the Year Havre de Grace sparked a remarkable bidding war inside the Fasig-Tipton sales pavilion Monday evening. Mandy PopeĀ  of Whisper Hill Farm won a protracted battle to take home the striking champion daughter of Saint Liam for $10 million.

Havre de Grace becomes the third highest broodmare or broodmare prospect ever to sell at public auction behind Better Than Honour ($14 million) and Playful Act ($10.5 million).

Consigned by Taylor Made Sales on behalf of owner Rick Porter’s Fox Hill Farm, Havre de Grace stepped into the ring the same way she did on the racetrack – calm and collected with a sterling result to match. After the bidding opened at $500,000, it soared in increments of $500,000 and $300,000. After Pope knocked down the final bid for the multiple Grade I winning 5-year-old mare, she could do little more than laugh and smile at the magnitude of her latest purchase.

“I don’t know what to say,” Pope laughed. “She was absolutely gorgeous. You look at her and she’s everything a racehorse could be and she did everything a racehorse could do. She was very sweet, she had a wonderful attitude. She’s the epitome of what we’re all trying to breed in terms of conformation and racing ability. Hopefully she will pass that on to her foals.

“I thought we had her (around $7 million). This is more than I thought she’d bring but this is a once in a lifetime shot and I’m taking a shot at it.”

After previously being conditioned by Tony Dutrow, Havre de Grace was transferred to Larry Jones last season and proceeded to become the third consecutive female runner to earn Horse of the Year honors. Out of the Carson City mare Easter Bunnette, Havre de Grace won five of seven starts in 2011 including the Grade I Apple Blossom, Grade I Beldame and her win over males in the Grade I Woodward. She ended her season with a fourth place run in the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic.

Havre de Grace won the New Orleans Ladies to open her 2012 season but was retired in April due to an ankle injury.

“It’s always hard when you’ve got a horse like that that you’ve spent so much time watching her perform as she did,” Porter said of selling Havre de Grace. “It was hard when I went to say goodbye to her today. It was exciting that she brought what she deserved because she’s got the whole package. I think Mandy loves the horse as much as we do.”