Denali Stud lands Keertana for $1 million at Keeneland January

The Keeneland January Horses of All Ages sale has registered its second seven-figure mare early in the second session on Tuesday when graded stakes winner Keertana sold to Denali Stud for a final bid of $1 million.

Grade I winner Nereid sold for $1.3 million during the opening day of the sale Monday.

Keertana, a dark bay daughter of Johar, is a half sister to fellow graded stakes winner Snow Top Mountain who is also set to sell during Tuesday’s session as part of the Four Star Sales consignment. The 7-year-old mare and her sibling are being offered at public auction under bittersweet circumstances as theirĀ  owner/breeder, the well respected Barbara Hunter of Brownwood Farm, passed away this past November.

“The family really has never been a family that has been sold. It’s been an heirloom of Barbara’s and it’s a credit to her and her legacy,” said Four Star’s Tony Lacy, who also managed Hunter’s racing operation in recent years. “It’s very bittersweet. She’s a sentimental mare not just to (trainer) Tom (Proctor) and I but to a lot of Barbara’s friends. This is special. You hate to see a mare like that go for a lower price so…it’s just nice. It’s just an honor to be around them.”

Out of the Storm Cat mare Motokiks, Keertana was a multiple graded stakes winner on the track including her scores in the 2011 Grade III Bewitch Stakes at Keeneland and victory over males in the Grade III Louisville Handicap at Churchill Downs. She retired with 11 wins from 29 starts and more than $1.03 in earnings.

Keertana was in foal to Arch, but aborted that foal in December.

“I thought she’d be more expensive based on the way these horses have been selling,” said Denali’s Craig Bandoroff, who said her purchased Keertana on behalf of an undisclosed domestic client. “With that race record and her looks…I didn’t expect to get her really. She’s big, she’s pretty. They said (losing the foal) was an umbilical situation and we’ve all been there. That didn’t concern me.”