Archive for September, 2015

Take Charge Brandi among the 4,476 cataloged for Keeneland November sale

Edited release:

Recently retired champion Take Charge Brandi and Grade I winner Don’t Tell Sophia, in foal to Medaglia d’Oro, are among the 4,476 horses Keeneland has cataloged for its 2015 November Breeding Stock Sale to be held Nov. 2-13.

 

The total is up from the 4,026 that were cataloged for the 2014 auction, which produced gains in total gross and average as well as a record-tying median.

 

At the 2014 November sale, a North American record price for a weanling sold at public auction was established when Serena’s Harmony, filly by leading sire Tapit and a half-sister to Grade I winner Honor Code and Grade II winner Noble Tune brought a $3 million bid from Bridlewood Farm. Racing Hall of Fame member Serena’s Song is the third dam of the filly, who was consigned by Hill ‘n’ Dale Sales Agency, agent.

 

“The sale of the record-priced filly last year has encouraged other breeders to offer outstanding weanlings in the 2015 November Sale, giving buyers the rare opportunity to acquire one-of-a-kind individuals from exclusive families,” Keeneland Director of Sales Geoffrey Russell said.

 

Horses cataloged for the 2015 sale include 2,610 broodmares and broodmare prospects, 1,719 weanlings, 130 horses of racing age, and 17 stallions and stallion prospects.

 

Horses of racing age will be offered on Monday, Nov. 9, and Tuesday, Nov. 10, and include the annual consignment from WinStar Racing, agent.

 

Among the horses of racing age sold at the November Sale are Grade I winners Hard Not to Like and Slumber; Grade II winners Dramedy and Race Day; and Grade III winner Barbados.

 

The sale’s first two sessions, which are included in Book 1, will begin at 11 a.m. ET.  The remaining sessions start at 10 a.m.

 

The entire sale will be streamed live at Keeneland.com.

 

The 2015 November Sale includes the dispersals of Nat Rea’s Regis Farms, LP and the late Jerre Paxton’s Northwest Farms.

 

Consigned by Three Chimneys Farm, the Regis Farms dispersal comprises 41 horses, including 15 broodmares, six weanlings and 20 horses of racing age, all to be offered without reserve. Highlighting the dispersal are 2015 Kentucky Oaks runner-up Shook Up, by Tapit out of Grade I winner Sugar Shake; Canadian Horse of the Year, multiple champion and Canadian Filly Triple Crown winner Sealy Hill, in foal to Medaglia d’Oro; and Bijou, a half-sister to two Grade 1-winning juvenile fillies in Certify and Cry and Catch Me.

 

Also featured in the dispersal are 2015 Santa Ynez  winner Seduire; Zindaya, graded stakes-placed and winner of the 2015 Intercontinental Stakes at Belmont; the impressive stakes winner and graded stakes-placed colt Donworth; and the Tapit filly Tapas, in foal to Distorted Humor.

 

Bruce Gibbs’ Greenfield Farm is agent for the Northwest Farms dispersal of 42 horses.

 

Tepin back in her comfort zone in Grade I First Lady Stakes

A nose and a head.

 
It was bad enough the margins that kept Grade I winner Tepin out of the winner’s circle during the Saratoga meet were annoyingly minuscule. Add to that the fact her two brutal beats came in near identical, Groundhog Day fashion and bitter could understandably qualify as the default emotion her summer campaign would invoke.

 
What kept trainer Mark Casse and his son, Norman, from sinking into full on pity parties after agonizing runner-up finishes in the Grade I Diana Stakes and Grade II Ballston Spa was some perspective handed down by Tepin herself. Running at distances just beyond her scope on a Saratoga turf course that worked against her early speed, the 4-year-old daughter of Bernstein was still only inches away from leaving Spa City as the leading turf female in the country.

 
“At the moment when you get beat, when you get nailed at the wire, you’re really disgusted,” said Norman Casse, his father’s top assistant. “But then you’re walking back with her and you realize she’s laying it all on the line for you.”

 
Back in her old Kentucky home, Tepin will be back in her distance wheelhouse with designs on making a divisional statement this Saturday when she headlines a field of 11 fillies and mares entered for the Grade I, $400,000 First Lady Stakes at Keeneland going one mile on the turf.

 
The First Lady is part of a blockbuster Keeneland card that features five graded stakes including the Grade I Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity and Grade I, $1 million Shadwell Turf Mile. Arlington Million winner The Pizza Man will break from post No. 10 in a field of 13 entered in the Shadwell while a dozen juveniles are set to go to post in the 1 1/16-miles Breeders’ Futurity.

 
Keeneland’s opening weekend teases of what is to come later this month when it hosts the Breeders’ Cup for the first time on October 30-31. With a winning effort in the First Lady, Robert Masterson’s Tepin would likely take a swing at male rivals in the Breeders’ Cup Mile rather than trying to stretch out to 1  3/16-miles in the Filly & Mare Turf.

 
“A mile and an eighth is probably about her max,” Norman Casse said. “(The Filly & Mare Turf), that’s too far for her. So realistically if we’re going to run her in a Breeders’ Cup  race, it’s going to have to be against the boys at a Mile. That’s a race that  has been won by girls so it’s not a crazy idea. But we’ll get over this race first and then we’ll see what we do.”

 
In a female turf division without a clear cut leader, Tepin has simply willed her way into that picture.

 
Though she won the Grade III Delta Princess on dirt as a 2-year-old, she was nagged by  minor issues and didn’t fully get on herself track until she opened her 2015 campaign with an allowance win over the Gulfstream Park turf on March 21.

 
Tepin could double as the barn pet most days, yet Casse says she gets downright vicious on the racetrack. There was certainly no hint of kindness when she captured the Grade II Churchill Distaff Turf Mile Stakes in gate to wire fashion on May 2 and, on the undercard of this year’s historic Belmont Stakes, the bay filly got obstinate when it counted, holding off Filimbi by half a length to take the Grade I Just a Game going one mile on June 6.

 
“I don’t know if we’ve ever had a horse run ultra consistent like she has at a high, high level,” Norman Casse said. “Every race she’s had she’s brought it.”

 
In both the 1 1/8-miles Diana in July and 1 1/16-miles Ballston Spa, Tepin looked like she had the winning move. In each race, she sat just off Kitten’s Queen through the early fractions before surging up in the final furlong. Hard Not to Like first ruined her day by nailing her at the wire in the Diana and it was Dacita inflicting some deja vu when she caught Tepin on the line in the Ballston Spa.

 
Among those in Tepin’s path in the First Lady are a trio of European runners including Aidan O’Brien trainee Outstanding, who finished third behind Lady Eli in the Grade I Belmont Oaks in July.

 
Breaking from the far outside in post No. 11, Tepin will have to be artfully guided in early going by Julien Leparoux, though she did handle breaking from post No. 9 in the Just a Game.

 
“They’re going to have to beat her,” Norman Casse said. “She put in two big efforts at Saratoga on a racetrack that seems to play more in favor to closers running at distances she didn’t like as much. So she probably gained more respect getting beat in those races than she did winning her races at Churchill and Belmont.”

 
Alicia Wincze Hughes: (859) 231-1676.  Blog: horseracing.bloginky.com. Twitter: @horseracinghl.

Grade I winner Eskendereya purchased by JBBA

The Japan Bloodhorse Breeders’ Association (JBBA) has purchased Grade I winner Eskendereya from Stonestreet Thoroughbred Holdings, and the 8-year-old son of Giant’s Causeway will be sent to Japan to stand for 2016.

 

Eskendereya has stood at Taylor Made Farm in Nicholasville since beginning his stud career in 2011. He commanded an advertised fee of $17,500 this year and counts stakes winners Isabella Sings and Conquest Pacemaker among this top progeny.

 

“Mrs. Banke and Stonestreet have done a tremendous job of supporting Eskendereya from Day 1, and I don’t believe they ever intended to sell him,” Ben Taylor of Taylor Made Stallions said in a statement. “But the Japanese have always been very interested and came to see him every year. They recently submitted an offer that was accepted by Stonestreet.”

 

The JBBA recently completed a deal to sell leading stallion Empire Maker, grandsire of Triple Crown winner American Pharoah,  to Don Alberto and Gainesway in a move that will see the son of Unbridled return to the states and stand at Gainesway for 2016.

 

Campaigned by Zayat Stables and trained by Todd Pletcher, Eskendereya won four of six career starts including the 2010 Grade I Wood Memorial by 9 3/4 lengths. He was expected to be the favorite for that year’s Kentucky Derby but was scratched a week out from the race and subsequently retired due to a soft tissue injury.

Stonestreet bought into Eskendereya upon his retirement.

Exaggerator seeks to become latest star for Desormeaux stable

For the people who work within its confines, a trainer’s shedrow can be a revolving door of hope.

 
There are the highs that spike the spirits of everyone when a breakout horse emerges. But given the inherently fleeting nature of the Thoroughbred business, there must also be constant faith that another runner is in the wings waiting to fill the inevitable void that will come when a stable star steps aside.

 
Two weeks ago, trainer Keith Desormeaux had to send Texas Red, winner of the 2014 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, to the sidelines for the remainder of this season due to a cannon bone bruise.

 
Nothing fixes a horseman’s mood quite like a good 2-year-old in the barn. And Exaggerator with his boundless energy could very well drag the Desormeaux crew back on the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile path again this season should his maturation process take another swing forward during his expected run in Saturday’s Grade I, $500,000 Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity at Keeneland.

 
The opening weekend of the 17-day Keeneland Fall Meet has a tangible feel of added importance this season as the boutique track prepares to host the Breeders’ Cup World Championships for the first time in its history on October 30-31.

 
With nine graded stakes, including five Grade I contests, set to be contested the first three days of the meet, those who prevail will automatically merit serious discussion of what they could achieve weeks later. Hence, Exaggerator’s caretakers are loving the fact the winner of the Grade II Saratoga Special last time out keeps showing zero signs of getting weary as the weight of expectations increase.

 
“This horse is just never tired. Every day he is a bundle of energy,” Julie Clark, assistant to Desormeaux, said from Churchill Downs shortly after Exaggerator worked five furlongs in 1:01 this past Saturday. “He’s a workout, I always say I get my core exercise with that horse. Texas Red, he just was different mentally (as a 2-year-old). He was more focused where this horse is all over the map, he’s still a baby.

 
“But when he’s on the track, it’s night and day from in the barn. On the track he turns into a little different horse. Out there, he’s the boss.”

 
Exaggerator was one of the main reasons Desormeaux took a string of horses to Saratoga for the first time this summer. While Texas Red delivered his own highlight in taking the Grade II Jim Dandy Stakes for the barn, his young stablemate showed grit beyond his years in winning the 6 1/2 furlongs Saratoga Special on August 16 in his third career start.

 
Seemingly faced with no racing room behind horses at the head of the lane, Exaggerator bulled his way between rivals and collared race favorite Saratoga Mischief with a surge up the inside to prevail by three quarters of a length.

 
That effort came less than a month after the son of Curlin broke his maiden second time out going six furlongs at Del Mar on July 25. Though he spiked a mild fever shortly following his outing at the Spa, Exaggerator’s initial demeanor the day after was that of a horse wanting more.

 
“I liked that last race,” Clark said. “He was at the back of the pack in the early stages then moved up and didn’t get rattled sitting behind those horses. Finally I think he got a little impatient with (jockey) Junior (Alvarado) and said ‘Hey we’re going’. So he did show a lot of maturity. And the next day you walk him and you think, ‘This thing needs to run again’.”

 
Saturday’s 1 1/16-miles Breeders’ Futurity will be Exaggerator’s first attempt around two turns. It is the same distance his stablemate Decked Out will be trying for the second time when she faces a field of 10 challengers in Friday’s Grade I, $400,000 Darley Alcibiades.

 
Magdalena Racing’s undefeated Dothraki Queen, winner of the Grade II Pocahontas at Churchill Downs in her most recent start, heads the field of 11 2-year-old fillies entered Tuesday for the Alcibiades.

 
Joining the Alcibiades on Friday’s opening-day card is an outstanding edition of the Grade III, $250,000 Phoenix Stakes featuring reigning Breeders’ Cup Sprint hero and divisional champion Work All Week as well as Grade I winner Runhappy, who drew post positions No. 12 and 1, respectively.

 
“If we’re inside we’ll go, if we’re outside we’ll stalk. But this horse does have a dimension,” said Richard Papiese of Midwest Thoroughbreds, owner of Work All Week. “He’s going to get out of the gate and you’re going to have to come and hang out with him or try and run him down. It’s tough to eyeball him if you want to eyeball him.”

 
Alicia Wincze Hughes: (859) 231-1676.  Blog: horseracing.bloginky.com. Twitter: @horseracinghl.

Empire Maker returning to United States, will stand at Gainesway

Edited release:

 

Multiple Grade I winner Empire Maker, grandsire of Triple Crown winner American Pharoah, will be repatriated to the United States from Japan to stand at Gainesway Farm as the property of an equal partnership consisting of Don Alberto Corporation and Gainesway Farm.

 

 

Empire Maker was originally sold to Japan  Bloodhorse Breeders Association in November 2010 after beginning his stud career at Juddmonte, which bred and campaigned the son of Unbridled. The 15-year-old stallion has continued to have his offspring become a success on this side of the ocean, however.

 

 

In 2012, Empire Maker had more than $10 million in progeny earnings on the North American General Sire list, represented with 13 stakes winners, 3 of them Grade I winners including millionaire Bodemeister, the leading freshman sales sire in 2015.

 

 

“We are building an international organization whose goal is to be truly world class. What better way to expand our base than to partner with Gainesway on three time Grade I winner Empire Maker who was the leading North American Sire in 2012 by worldwide earnings,” said Don Alberto Corporation’s principal, Carlos Heller.

 

Liliana Solari, honorary President of Bethia, the parent company of Don Alberto Corporation, added “this move clearly carries forward the vision of my father, the founding horseman of the family, who always encouraged us to seek out the best of everything.”

 

Empire Maker hails from one of Juddmonte’s elite female families. He is out of the late blue hen mare Toussaud, who produced four individual Grade I winners and was named Broodmare of the Year in 2002.

 

“Empire Maker’s pedigree is clearly one of the best in the world and his influence as a sire is enormous. This horse is especially meaningful as we launched the career of his sire, Unbridled, here at Gainesway,” said Antony Beck, president of Gainesway, which also stands North America’s leading sire, Tapit.

 

Empire Maker retired to stud in 2004, and sired five graded winners among his 10 stakes winners, including four Grade I winners, in his first crop of 93 foals. His second crop in 2008 produced Grade I-winning millionaire Pioneerof the Nile, sire of Triple Crown winner American Pharoah.

 

The Leading third crop sire in 2009, Empire Maker counts three-time Eclipse Award winner Royal Delta among his top progeny along with Grade I winners Mushka, Acoma, Emollient and Grace Hall.

Champion Take Charge Brandi retired

Edited release:

Willis Horton’s Take Charge Brandi, the reigning champion two-year-old filly, has been retired from racing and will take up residence at John Sikura’s Hill ‘n’ Dale Farms near Lexington. It has yet to be determined whether Take Charge Brandi will be offered for sale at the Keeneland November, or if Horton will retain her as a broodmare.

Trained by Hall of Famer D. Wayne Lukas, Take Charge Brandi pulled off a 61-to-1 upset of the 2014 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies last November 1 and went on to annex the Grade III Delta Downs Princess  and Grade I Starlet, securing divisional honors.

The daughter of Giant’s Causeway captured her seasonal bow in the January 31 Martha Washington before being sidelined with a non-displaced bone chip in her right knee.

The chestnut filly struggled in her attempted comeback, finishing tenth in the Grade I Test Stakes at Saratoga on August 8 and being eased in the Grade I Cotillion at Parx on September 19.

“You hate to see a champion retire but it was the right thing to do,” Lukas said. “This family has been so good to me and Willis Horton. Take Charge Brandi was supremely talented and determined. I almost ran her in the Grade I Los Alamitos Futurity the week after the Starlet and think she would have been very tough to beat.

“She reminds me of (champion) Serena’s Song in her determination and natural ability,” Lukas continued. “She is the complete package and has everything you look for in a great broodmare prospect.”

Take Charge Brandi is out of Charming, a half-sister to Horton’s champion Will Take Charge as well as Grade I winner Take Charge Indy. Her second dam is multiple Grade I winner and Broodmare of the Year, Take Charge Lady.

Take Charge Brandi retires with five wins from 11 starts and $1,692,126 in earnings.

“She was a great champion and we just ran out of time making the Breeders’ Cup again,” Horton said. “She owns the best pedigree in the stud book and loved to win races. The family has been great to me owning champion Will Take Charge, and we are very high on her half-sister.”

That half-sister is Take Charge Tressa, a War Front filly who topped the 2014 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga sale at $1.25 million.

Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas in Pennsylvania hospital

Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas is reportedly resting well in a Philadelphia-area hospital after suffering a health scare Saturday, but did not have a heart attack according to his assistant Tim Austin.

Lukas, 80, was slated to saddle Mr. Z in Saturday’s $1 million Pennsylvania Derby and champion Take Charge Brandi in the $1 million Cotillion Stakes at Parx but was feeling unwell and did not attend the races, Austin said. Contrary to initial reports tweeted out by owner Ahmed Zayat that Lukas had suffered a heart attack, Austin said that was not the case.

“He is fine. He didn’t have a heart attack,” said Austin. “The heart was beating a little slow. Right now he is in the hospital and they are monitoring him and everything is good right now.”

Austin said that Lukas’s wife Laurie was currently en route from Colorado.

Though there had also been reports on social media of Lukas having surgery for a pacemaker, Austin said Sunday morning. “I think it’s probably going to happen but it has not yet.”

 A four-time Eclipse Award winner for outstanding trainer, Lukas has won a record 14 Triple Crown races, trained 26 Thoroughbred champions and is hailed as one of the single biggest influences on the modern training game. The tree of trainer proteges that have come of out his heralded program includes seven-time Eclipse Award winner Todd Pletcher, Kiaran McLaughlin, Dallas Stewart and Mark Hennig,
The Wisconsin native has repeatedly joked about how he rarely ever visits a doctor but remains in top physical shape, notoriously being first to the barn in the mornings. His hickory constitution and stubbornness were on display in June 2012 when he was kicked in the head by his charge Hamazing Destiny on the Belmont Park backstretch but was back taking out sets the next morning despite the stitches in his forehead.
“He’ll be back on his pony yelling at us before too long,” Austin said. “He’s a very tough guy.”

 

Tapit again in the forefront as Keeneland September continues steady march

By Tapit’s illustrious standards, the first two days of the Keeneland September yearling sale had been a bit on the quiet side. While buyers still had to go deep into six figures if they wanted offspring by North America’s leading stallion, none of his yearlings had sold at the seven-figure mark and he ranked fourth in average among those sires with three or more offerings sold heading into Wednesday.

 
Let it be known at the conclusion of the select portion of the catalogue that the influence of Gainesway’s flagship stallion is as powerful as ever.

 
Tapit’s hold over the commercial marketplace remains substantial as two of his offspring elicited the highest prices yet for this year’s 12-day September exercise, including gray son of his that sold to Mandy Pope for $2.1 million Wednesday.

 
The final Book 1 session featured more balanced buying strength and was a banner one for both Tapit and Gainesway, which has stood the son of Pulpit throughout his career and had him command an advertised fee of $300,000 for 2015.

 
Gainesway sold the three highest prices horses of Wednesday’s session, consigning the $2.1 million colt purchased by Pope, another Tapit colt out of Grade I winner Pure Clan that sold to Roy and Gretchen Jackson for $1.65 million and a Bernardini filly purchased in partnership by Zayat Stables and Coolmore Stud for $1.5 million.

 
“We’ve had a great day,” said Michael Hernon, director of sales for Gainesway. “Tapit comes through, he’s the boss. He’s a gift. He’s the king of Kentucky.

 
“(The $2.1 million colt) he’s got all the potential in the world. I can tell you the reserve was below a million. It just shows you at the right time with the right product, this is what we all are in this business for.”

 
Wednesday’s activity has now made Tapit the leading sire by gross with 29 offerings sold for $15,665,000 heading into the sale’s off day on Thursday.

 
Judging the end results of the boutique portion of the auction isn’t quite as simple, however, considering the Book 1 portion was condensed from four days in 2014 to three days this year.

 
This year’s cumulative gross of $134,361,000 from 443 head sold is up 33.6 percent compared to the three-day total last year but down if you hold it against the $142,153,000 generated by 473 sold in all of Book 1 in 2014.

 
The average of $303,298 is up compared to the four-day total of $300,535 as is the median of $250,000, up from $240,000 from Book 1 a year ago. A total of 198 horses failed to meet their reserve the first three days – including a Tapit colt that was a $1.2 million RNA on Monday – resulting in a buyback rate of 30.9 percent.

 
“The gross was going to be down anyway because we sold less horses,” said Geoffrey Russell, Keeneland’s director of sales. “It looks like the exact same sale from last year to this year basically.

 
“I think it was steady all the way through. It’s a selective market on both sides. Those people who invest…want to be rewarded or else they’re willing to race them themselves.”

 
Out of the Mr. Greeley mare Silver Colors, a daughter of 1988 Kentucky Derby winner Winning Colors, the $2.1 million Tapit colt was most sought after with Pope enduring a bidding battle that rose in $50,000 and $100,000 increments to win out against the alliance of trainer Bob Baffert, owner Kaleem Shah and Hill ‘n’ Dale Farm owner John Sikura.

 
Bred by Gainesway, the colt has the length and muscle to make one envision a stellar career for him on the track and impressed his many lookers with his composure.

 
“I thought he was one of he nicest colts in the sale,” said Pope, who also sold a War Front filly out of her mare Betterbetterbetter on Monday for $1.45 million. “Just a gorgeous, long stride on him, lovely hip and shoulder, great attitude.

 
“(The price) was a little bit more than I wanted but the Tapits, you can’t buy one. I’ve been trying to buy them all day long.”

 
Pope has been in her share of top-end battles, most notably purchasing 2011 Horse of the Year Havre de Grace for $10 million at the 2012 Fasig-Tipton November sale.

 
With partnerships becoming all the rage among deep-pocketed buyers, Pope has found it increasingly difficult to land those horses who have across-the-board appeal.

 
“It’s making it extremely frustrating because it is really hard for me to get what I want and be able to bid against the partnerships,” Pope said “At this point, no one has really approached me about partnerships and I really wasn’t thinking that way. Maybe I need to, but I like to be in control of my horses. It’s awfully hard to compete against them. Hopefully I can at the track.”

 
The sale continues Friday beginning at 10 a.m.

 
Alicia Wincze Hughes: (859) 231-1676.  Blog: horseracing.bloginky.com. Twitter: @horseracinghl.

Tapit colt sells for $2.1 million to lead banner day for Gainesway

By Tapit’s illustrious standards, the first two days of the Keeneland September yearling sale had been a bit on the quiet side. While buyers still had to go deep into six figures if they wanted offspring by North America’s leading stallion, none of his yearlings had hit the seven-figure mark and he ranked fourth in average among those sires with three or more offerings sold heading into Wednesday’s session.

Let it be known that the influence of Gainesway’s flagship stallion is as powerful as ever.

Tapit once again reigned supreme over the commercial marketplace as two of his offspring elicited the highest prices yet for this year’s 12-day September exercise, including gray colt of his that sold to Mandy Pope for $2.1 million Wednesday.

The third and final select session of the bellwether auction was a banner one for both Tapit and Gainesway, which has stood the son of Pulpit throughout his career and had him command an advertised fee of $300,000 for 2015.

Gainesway has sold the three highest prices horses heading into the later stages Wednesday, consigning the $2.1 million colt purchased by Pope, another Tapit colt out of the Grade I winning mare Pure Clan that sold to Roy and Gretchen Jackson for $1.65 million and a Bernardini filly purchased in partnership by Zayat Stables and Coolmore Stud for $1.5 million.

Out of the Mr. Greeley mare Silver Colors, a daughter of 1988 Kentucky Derby winner and Hall of Famer Winning Colors, the $2.1 million Tapit colt was the most sought after with Pope having to endure a protracted battle against the alliance of trainer Bob Baffert, owner Kaleem Shah and Hill ‘n’ Dale Farm owner John Sikura.

“We’ve had a great day,” said Michael Hernon of Gainesway. “Tapit comes through, he’s the boss. He’s a gift. He’s the king of Kentucky.”

Bred by Gainesway, the $2.1 million Tapit colt has the physical length and muscle to make one envision a stellar career for him on the track and impressed his onslaught of lookers with an unshakable composure.

“I thought he was one of he nicest colts in the sale,” said Pope, who also sold a War Front filly out of her mare Betterbetterbetter to Shadwell on Monday for $1.45 million. “Just a gorgeous, long stride on him, lovely hip and shoulder, great attitude.

“(The price) was a little bit more than I wanted but the Tapits, you can’t buy one. I’ve been trying to buy them all day long. You can’t buy one.”

Pope has been in her share of top-end battles, most notably purchasing 2011 Horse of the Year Havre de Grace for $10 million at the 2012 Fasig-Tipton November sale.

With partnerships becoming all the rage even among deep-pocketed buyers, Pope has found it increasingly difficult to land those horses who have across-the-board appeal.

“Oh it’s making  it extremely frustrating to me because it is really hard for me to get what I want and be able to bid against the partnerships,” Pope said “At this point, no one has really approached me about partnerships and I really wasn’t thinking that way. Maybe I need to, but I like to be in control of my horses. It seems to be a thing to do. It’s awfully hard to compete against them. Hopefully I can at the track.”

 

 

 

Tapit power: Jacksons land colt by leading sire for $1.65 million at Keeneland September

The ongoing appeal of Gainesway sire Tapit – the current king of the North American stallion ranks – produced fireworks again in the commercial marketplace as owners Roy and Gretchen Jackson went to $1.65 million to purchase a chestnut son of the top sire in the early portion of Wednesday’s session of the Keeneland September yearling sale.

Consigned by Gainesway on behalf of breeder Three Chimneys Farm, the Tapit colt is out of multiple Grade I winner Pure Clan and is the highest priced yearling to sell so far during the three select sessions. He also continues a legacy of auction success for his immediate family.

Goncalo Torrealba of Three Chimneys purchased Pure Clan for $4.5 million during the 2012 Keeneland November Breeding Stock sale. The Jacksons called her Tapit yearling “the nicest colt in the sale” and said they would  partner with Three Chimneys to race the colt together.

“We have been involved with Three Chimneys in one other partnership and they are going to retain an interest in the colt,” said Roy Jackson, who along with his wife is best known for campaigning ill-fated 2006 Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro. “So it’s just the two of us. We’re just glad we were able to buy him.”

Added Gretchen Jackson, “He’s just so well balanced. Perfect conformation, smooth walker. And he handled himself in the showing and in the show ring.”

Tapit offspring are often known for possessing their sire’s determined nature. Michael Hernon on Gainesway said the stallion’s latest seven-figure baby was no exception in that department.

“He really was a special horse,” Hernon said. “I would say a combination of his very smooth, balanced build combined with being very correct. On top of that his wonderful demeanor. He got out here and he just kept getting better. He loves this arena, the showing. He walked up here like a champion like ‘Give it to me, what’s next, I’m ready’. Tapit comes through, he’s the boss. He’s a gift. He’s the king of Kentucky.”

Earlier in the session, another Three Chimneys bred and Gainesway consigned offering pushed buyers into the seven-figure threshold. Zayat Stables and Coolmore Stud teamed up to purchase a Bernardini filly that is a half sister to Grade I winners To Honor And Serve and Angela Renee for $1.5 million.

Zayat and Coolmore have already struck one powerful alliance as the former’s Triple Crown winner American Pharoah is set to enter stud at Coolmore’s Ashford Stud for 2016.

They two now own one of the best active female families going in securing the bay filly out of stakes winning mare Pilfer.

“She’s beautiful. She had all the parts and we loved her,” said Justin Zayat, racing and stallion manager for Zayat Stables, who signed the ticket. “When there is a good one, you have to stretch.”

Offspring by Tapit and Claiborne Farm stallion War Front have dominated the Thoroughbred marketplace the last couple years, and that theme shows no sign of slowing down this auction. Minutes into Wednesday’s session, representatives of Coolmore Stud went to $1.15 million to buy a War Front colt out of A.P. Indy mare Orate, who is a full sister to the late, top Claiborne sire Pulpit.

“To be honest it was tough to sell him (the War Front) colt, that family has been so good to us,” said Walker Hancock of Claiborne Farm, which consigned the colt. “This is a stallion’s pedigree being out of a full sister to Pulpit. He’s a great moving horse. Hopefully he keeps improving the page.”

Of the eight yearlings that have hit the seven-figure mark so far during the sale, three of them have been War Front offspring.

 

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