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The Punch and Judy Show

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The Punch and Judy Show

The biggest horse auction in the world, Keeneland September, drew to a close after a marathon fortnight of selling. In the end, and for the third consecutive year, it was the Tapit show, the Gainesway stallion chalking up six of the top thirteen lots. Sheikh Mohammed’s Darley Bloodstock was the biggest buyer, with 22 yearlings at $7.88million (around R90 million,) though that was nearly matched by the American couple, Gary and Mary West, who signed for 29 head at $7.805million. To put that into a local context, South Africans Markus Jooste and Bernard Kantor’s spend at the Arqana sale in France last month, was not far short in Euros.

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Strong End To Keeneland September

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Strong End To Keeneland September

The Keeneland September Yearling Sale concluded its 13-day stand in Lexington Sunday with figures holding largely steady with last year’s powerful renewal of the auction. It was a very successful sale, Keeneland’s Director of Sales Geoffrey Russell summed up at the close of business Sunday afternoon.

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Keeneland September Continues to Roll

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Keeneland September Continues to Roll

Closing out its 10th day of selling, Keeneland realized increases for the fifth consecutive session of the September Yearling Sale in Lexington Thursday. During the second and final session of Book 4,276 horses sold for $9,376,000, a 3.7% increase over the gross of $9,038,600 for 291 horses sold last year. The average increased 9.3%, from $31,060 to $33,971. The median price of $25,000 remained the same as in 2013.

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Death of Street Cry

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Death of Street Cry

Street Cry, one of the world’s most successful stallions and a cornerstone of Sheikh Mohammed’s racing and breeding operations for the past 14 years, has been put down at the age of 16 after succumbing to complications relating to a neurological condition.

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END OF AN EMPIRE?

At the peak of America’s ascendency, the centre of the thoroughbred universe also shifted westwards, to the point Kentuckians labelled themselves the “Horse Breeding Capital of the World”, a designation to which they were more than entitled during the era of the legendary stallions Nasrullah, Royal Charger, Bold Ruler, Round Table and Princequillo initially, and thereafter that of Northern Dancer, Mr. Prospector, Danzig, Lyphard, Riverman, Blushing Groom and Seattle Slew.

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A GOOD HORSE CAN COME FROM ANYWHERE

Sitting outside his barn one day many years ago during the Keeneland September sale, Bob Courtney said, “A good horse can come from anywhere.” Asked if he was speaking about the sales or the races and his answer was short and succinct. “Both.”

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BARRY IRWIN - LOVING THE FINISH LINE

Barry Howard Irwin is the founder and CEO of Team Valor International. A racing journalist, successful bloodstock agent, owner, breeder and above all, racing enthusiast, Barry has embraced and helped promote the South African Thoroughbred like few others.

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MEGAN MCLEOD JONES NEW TEAM VALOR VP

Megan McLeod Jones
Megan McLeod Jones

Megan McLeod Jones / Baltimore Sun (p)

TEAM VALOR INTERNATIONAL

Megan McLeod Jones was promoted from Director of Client Relations at Team Valor to Vice President yesterday.

“It is time for her to step up and learn to take over the stable,” said Barry Irwin, president and owner of Team Valor. “She knows the company, she knows the clients, she knows the horses, she knows the stable staff and she is a tireless worker with a love for the game and Team Valor.”

The 29-year-old earned both her bachelors and masters degrees in marketing from Clemson University and was hired by Team Valor shortly after her graduation in 2008.

“Megan started at the bottom and learned the ropes from the ground up,” said Irwin. “She has been a constant surprise, as she turned out to be an outstanding writer and has contributed wonderfully to the Insiders’ Bulletin for the last several years. The clients adore her stories.”

While Irwin added that while he will be grooming Jones to take over the reins at Team Valor, he will still be in control and is unlikely to ever fully retire.

“I like it too much,” Irwin said. “But I foresee turning the reins over to Megan, who will handle the day-to-day activities before too long. Megan has a lot of great ideas that have been percolating in that active mind of hers. I for one look forward to seeing what she can bring to the table once she is let loose.”

Extract from Thoroughbred Daily News

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ZARKAVA FOALS COLT BY REDOUTE'S CHOICE

redoute's choice stallion
redoute's choice stallion

Redoute’s Choice / Arrowfield (p)

“A very elegant colt that is correct and strong” - Georges Rimaud

Champion mare Zarkava (Zamindar) gave birth on Monday morning to a handsome colt by Haras de Bonneval resident Redoute’s Choice. The foal is described by Georges Rimaud, manager of the Aga Khan Studs in France, as: “a very elegant colt that is correct and strong”. Zarkava is now due to visit Frankel.

Redoute’s Choice, currently third leading sire in Australia behind his own son Snitzel, will cover a high-class book of mares this year, including 18 representatives of the Aga Khan Studs. These feature the dam of Gr.1 Prix de Diane heroine Valyra (Azamour), Valima, as well as the dam of Gr.1 winner Bayrir, Balankiya who is currently in foal to Gilltown Stud sire Sea The Stars. Gr.1 winners Rosanara, Shalanaya, Daryakana and Mandesha, as well a sister to Classic sire Azamour add to the prestigious list of mares for the dual Champion sire.

The Aga Khan Studs have made a successful start to the foaling season, with a number of other blue-blooded foals already on the ground.

Sichilla (Danehill) has given birth to a colt by Sea The Stars. She is the dam of young stallion Siyouni (Pivotal), who is fully booked for the fourth consecutive season at Bonneval. The first two-year-olds by this winner of the Gr.1 Prix Jean-Luc Lagardère are eagerly awaited on the racetrack this year.

Gr.3 winner Baliyana (Dalakhani), dam of promising Gr.1 1,000 Guineas entry Balansiya (Shamardal), foaled a Rock Of Gibraltar filly and will now be visiting Sea The Stars.

Last year’s Gr.1 Prix de l’Opéra victrix Dalkala is set to be covered by Dubawi. 2012 Gr.1 winner Ridasiyna (Motivator) and Gr.1-placed Sarkiyla (Oasis Dream) have both travelled to the USA to be covered by War Front and Street Cry respectively.

Extract from European Bloodstock News

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THE 43RD ECLIPSE AWARDS

43rd eclipse awards
43rd eclipse awards

ECLIPSE AWARDS

Gulfstream Park Racing and Casino

18 January 2014

Amanda Duckworth - Gulfstream Park played host to the Eclipse Awards for the second consecutive year on Saturday night. The event’s 43rd renewal was a sold out show that had a heavy dose of history repeating itself, as four horses honored for their efforts in 2012 were honored again for what they did on the track in 2013.

Wise Dan (Wiseman’s Ferry) led the way, as he repeated as Horse of the Year, Champion Older Male, and Champion Turf Male. Secretariat’s owner, Penny Chenery, announced his repeat as the best horse in the country via video feed from Colorado.

“Wise Dan has certainly accomplished a lot,” said owner Morton Fink, who then let the crowd in on possible plans for 2014. “I am hoping to convince trainer Charlie LoPresti that if the horse stays like he is, to run him on the dirt, long.”

Hosted in the Sport of Kings dining room, wine and champagne flowed as the best of the sport were honored for their efforts over the last year.

Joining Wise Dan as repeat winners were Royal Delta (Empire Maker), who was once again named Champion Older Female, and Groupie Doll (Bowman’s Band), the Champion Female Sprinter. Meanwhile 2012’s Champion Juvenile Filly, Beholder (Henny Huges), was named the 2013 Champion 3-Year-Old Filly.

Wise Dan’s connections were seated one table over from the ever-cheerful Ken Ramsey and his family. Ramsey and his wife, Sarah, were honored as both the Outstanding Owner and Breeder. Ramsey and LoPresti shared a thumbs up as they both walked away with hardware. “Nothing beats a good horse,” said Ramsey. “Kitten’s Joy put us on this stage two times tonight.”

The most joyful standing ovation of the night came when freshly crowned Champion 3-Year-Old Male Will Take Charge (Unbridled’s Song) was represented by his owner Willis Horton. Although everyone had firmly been told they had 45 seconds to give their acceptance speech, Horton continued talking through the orchestra trying to play him off the stage while the crowd cheered him on.

As the music got louder, Horton proclaimed: “Will Take Charge has the greatest fan base in the world. That is the reason that I am bringing him back to run in 2014.”

Outside of that comical moment, Master of Ceremonies Jeannine Edwards kept the award show moving along at a steady pace.

Perhaps no award was as anticipated as the Eclipse Award of Merit, which honored D. Wayne Lukas and his decades long success in the business.

“I have been blessed with some really nice horses, and those horses give us great memories,” said Lukas. “But the real joy of what we do as trainers is the association with the people we deal with. The ones that fuel the fire the most are the owners.”

Lukas protege Todd Pletcher presented his former boss with the award. Earlier in the evening, Pletcher received the award for Outstanding Trainer. The usually stoic trainer was noticeably emotional when thanking his family and when honoring Caixa Eletronica, a barn favorite who recently lost his life in a freak training accident.

Another bittersweet moment came when the late Points Offthebench (Benchmark) was honored as Champion Male Sprinter.

Sports personality Jim Rome collected the trophy for Champion 2-Year-Old Colt Shared Belief (Candy Ride), whose category was the tightest race of the awards. He defeated Grade I Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner New Year’s Day (Street Cry) in the polls by just 16 votes.

Although Florida-bred Mucho Macho Man (Macho Uno) did not end up winning an award, his victory in the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Classic was named Moment of the Year. Mucho Macho Man was on the lips of many as just three hours before the Eclipse Awards, he strolled to victory in the Sunshine Millions just feet away from where the awards were held.

2013 Eclipse Award Winners

Horse Of The Year

Wise Dan (Wiseman’s Ferry)

Male Sprinter

Points Offthebench (Benchmark)

Female Sprinter

Groupie Doll (Bowman’s Band)

Male Turf Horse

Wise Dan (Wiseman’s Ferry)

Female Turf Horse

Dank (GB) (Dansili)

Steeplechase Horse

Divine Fortune (Royal Anthem)

Older Female

Royal Delta (Empire Maker)

Older Male

Wise Dan (Wiseman’s Ferry)

3-Year-Old Female

Beholder (Henny Hughes)

3-Year-Old Male

Will Take Charge (Unbridled’s Song)

2-Year Old Female

She’s a Tiger (Tale of the Cat)

2-Year-Old Male

Shared Belief (Candy Ride)

Breeder

Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey

Owner

Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey

Trainer

Todd Pletcher

Jockey

Javier Castellano

Apprentice Jockey

Victor Carrasco

Eclipse Award of Merit

D. Wayne Lukas

Extract from Thoroughbred Daily News

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KEENELAND JANUARY POSTS SOLID RESULTS

keeneland january hip 692
keeneland january hip 692

Sale-topper 15-year-old mare Ponche de Leona (Ponche) / Keeneland (p)

KEENELAND JANUARY HORSES OF ALL AGES SALE

6 - 9 January 2013

The 2014 Keeneland January Horses of All Ages Sale didn’t have the firepower of last year’s event, but, boosted by competitive bidding at the lower and middle levels of the market, concluded its four-day stand yesterday in Lexington with solid results. A total of 1,027 horses sold for $41,025,700 over four sessions, compared to the 1,105 horses that sold for $45,207,300 over five sessions in 2013. The resulting average was $39,947, down 2.36%. The median of $20,000 was up 33.3%. The buyback rate was 19.6%; it was 25.2% a year ago.

“The sale has continued on from what we saw happening in September and November,” said Keeneland Director of Sales Geoffrey Russell. “There was healthy bidding and a lot of interest from start to finish. We’re very happy.” 

The dam of last fall’s GI Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Mucho Macho Man (Macho Uno), the 15-year-old Ponche de Leona (Ponche), topped the sale at $775,000. Betty Moran’s Brushwood Stable purchased the mare, in foal to Distorted Humor, during Tuesday’s second session. Blake-Albina Thoroughbred Services consigned her as hip 692.

A Kitten’s Joy half-brother to Stakes Winner Ha Ha Tonka (Distorted Humor) from Gata Bella (Storm Cat) was January’s top-priced short yearling. David Ingordo signed for the colt, hip 192, at $235,000.

The 2014 January Sale was a different animal to the 2013 renewal, which was boosted by the dispersals of Barbara Hunter’s Brownswood Farm and of Issam Fares’s Fares Farm. The Fares dispersal alone saw 78 horses gross over $7.3 million, including the $800,000 Supreme (Empire Maker), and boasted 29 six-figure horses. Hunter’s horses included the $1 million Keertana (Johar) and the $950,000 Snow Top Mountain (Najran). Nor did 2014 have any off-the-track stars like Nereid (Rock Hard Ten), the Grade I winner who made $1.3 million in 2013 - the top price for a mare.

The difference at the top of the market when comparing the two sales is striking. In 2013, 24 horses brought $300,000 or more, grossing $13,660,000 between them. In 2014, only eight eclipsed that mark, grossing $4,035,000.

All that to say what everyone knows: the January Sale can vary greatly from year to year. But the numbers show that, with the average off just 2.36% and with a huge improvement in the median, that there was vastly improved strength at the lower and middle portions of the market.

“Our recovery has shown strength in all levels of the market - the top, middle and second-week horses - and that bodes very well for us as an industry,” said Russell.

Bloodstock agent Chad Schumer, the sale’s leading buyer by number or horses purchased (33 for $705,000), said simply, “It’s a strong market again, and that’s great. But that’s not a surprise; after November, we had a clearer picture of where things were headed.”

Schumer added, “Most of the time, when we didn’t get something, we weren’t the underbidder; we were way off. But we bought plenty, and we’ve been busy. The first day, I was surprised we bought so many. I usually have a hard time in Book 1, and I don’t know if it was the weather - I heard some people got stuck in Chicago - but I was able to get 13 the first day.”

Russell concluded the market has, for the moment at least, found a good equilibrium between buyers and sellers, and between supply and demand.

“We’ve had solid returns for the past three years now, and we’re on a good footing,” he said. “Breeders are getting a good return on their investment, and stud fees have been held to a reasonable level. That turns into a fair-priced product for buyers.”

www.keeneland.com

Extracts from Thoroughbred Daily News

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2013 ECLIPSE AWARDS FINALISTS ANNOUNCED

Eclipse Awards 2013
Eclipse Awards 2013

ECLIPSE AWARDS

Gulfstream Park Racing and Casino

18 January 2014

Officials from the National Thoroughbred Racing Association, Daily Racing Form and the National Turf Writers and Broadcasters announced the finalists in 12 equine and five human categories for the 2013 Eclipse Awards, to be held on Saturday, 18 January 2014 at the Gulfstream Park Racing and Casino in Hallandale Beach, Florida.

Horse Of The Year

Mucho Macho Man (Macho Uno)

Will Take Charge (Unbridled’s Song)

Wise Dan (Wiseman’s Ferry)

Male Sprinter

Points Offthebench (Benchmark)

Sahara Sky (Pleasant Tap)

Secret Circle (Eddington)

Female Sprinter

Dance to Bristol (Speightstown)

Groupie Doll (Bowman’s Band

Mizdirection (Mizzen Mast)

Male Turf Horse

Magician (Ire) (Galileo)

Point of Entry (Dynaformer)

Wise Dan (Wiseman’s Ferry)

Female Turf Horse

Dank (GB) (Dansili)

Laughing (Ire) (Dansili)

Mizdirection (Mizzen Mast)

Steeplechase Horse

Divine Fortune (Royal Anthem)

Gustavian (Giant’s Causeway)

Italian Wedding (Alphabet Soup)

Older Female

Joyful Victory (Tapit)

Royal Delta (Empire Maker)

Tiz Miz Sue (Tiznow)

Older Male

Game on Dude (Awesome Again)

Mucho Macho Man (Macho Uno)

Wise Dan (Wiseman’s Ferry)

3-Year-Old Female

Beholder (Henny Hughes)

Close Hatches (First Defence)

Princess of Sylmar (Majestic Warrior)

3-Year-Old Male

Orb (Malibu Moon)

Palace Malice (Curlin)

Will Take Charge (Unbridled’s Song)

2-Year Old Female

Chriselliam (Ire) (Iffraaj)

Ria Antonia (Rockport Harbor)

She’s a Tiger (Tale of the Cat)

2-Year-Old Male

Havana (Dunkirk)

New Year’s Day (Street Cry)

Shared Belief (Candy Ride)

Breeder

Adena Springs

Morton Fink

Kenneth and Sarah Ramse

Owner

Juddmonte Farms

Midwest Thoroughbreds

Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey

Trainer

Bob Baffert

Bill Mott

Todd Pletcher

Jockey

Javier Castellano

Joel Rosario

Gary Stevens

Apprentice Jockey

Victor Carrasco

Manuel Franco

Edgar Zayas

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KEENELAND JANUARY OPENING SESSION FARES WELL

Keeneland January Sale
Keeneland January Sale

Session-topper 13-year-old mare Life Happened (Stravinsky) / Keeneland (p)

KEENELAND JANUARY HORSES OF ALL AGES SALE

6 - 9 January 2013

Despite the absence of a seven-figure horse and fewer top-end mares, yesterday’s opening session of the Keeneland January Horses of All Ages Sale fared well compared to last year’s opener, and most everyone agreed it was a lively afternoon of trading on a bitterly cold day in Lexington.

The session 1 average was $59,116, down 22.5% from 2013, while the median of $35,000 was up 16.7%. The RNA rate was a good 23.9%; last year it was 34.1%.

“I think it’s been good,” said Taylor Made’s Frank Taylor. “I’ve been pleased with the prices. If you bring quality up there, you’re going to be rewarded.”

The session was topped by the 13-year-old mare Life Happened (Stravinsky), dam of the current graded winners Vyjack (Into Mischief) and Tepin (Bernstein), who sold to Alex Solis II and Jason Litt for $750,000. Litt signed the winning ticket on behalf of LNJ Foxwoods. Select Sales sold the mare, in foal to the late Harlan’s Holiday, as Hip 36.

Philip Blake purchased the sesson’s top-priced short yearling, a Kitten’s Joy half-brother to Stakes Winner Ha Ha Tonka (Distorted Humor), for $235,000. Noel Murphy’sCastle Park Farm consigned the youngster as Hip 192.

Session figures were particularly impressive when comparing how the top end of the market year-over-year. In 2013, the session’s top three horses - the $1.3 million topper Nereid (Rock Hard Ten), the $800,000 Potesta (Macho Uno) and the $725,000 Princess Arabella (Any Given Saturday) - grossed $2,825,000. Yesterday, the top three horses - Life Happened, the $425,000 Louvakhova (Maria’s Mon) and the $400,000 Unbridled Belle (Broken Vow) - grossed $1,575,000.

Extending it further, only the aforementioned three horses made in excess of $300,000 yesterday, compared to 14 who reached or eclipsed the mark a year ago. Thirty seven horses made six figures in session one - the same as last year. Taken together, the figures indicate great depth in the middle and lower segments of the marketplace.

“This sale is strong as hell,” confirmed Select’s Carrie Brogden. “It seems most of these mares, from what I appraised them at last year, are bringing 40-50% more. That’s the middle-market mares; they’re bringing way more than I thought that would. There’s a huge shortage of pregnant mares. Expenses are still really high, but at least the sale prices are up and hopefully we can ride that wave. I think the momentum will continue until we start overbreeding again. Until then, it’s party and champagne.”

Keeneland officials weren’t breaking out the bubbly yet, but were satisfied with the day’s results. “From start to finish, there was good competitive bidding, especially on yearlings,” said Director of Sales Geoffrey Russell.

Extracts from Thoroughbred Daily News

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KITTEN'S JOY LEADING NORTH AMERICAN SIRE FOR 2013

Kitten's Joy Stallion
Kitten's Joy Stallion

Kitten’s Joy

(Photo : Ramsey Farm)

FOUR SIRES TOP $11-MILLION

From the desk of Bill Oppenheim

bill oppenheim
bill oppenheim

Bill Oppenheim

TDNHighlighted by an almighty duel which saw Ramsey Farm’s Kitten’s Joy (El Prado) nip WinStar’s Speightstown (Gone West) by no more than $15,000 for the title of Leading North American Sire for 2013, according to calculations for TDN sire lists, these two were still outdistanced by two European sires, Coolmore’s Galileo (Sadler’s Wells) and Juddmonte’s Dansili (Danehill), on the final TDN 2013 General Sire List, combining European and North American sires.

World Number One Galileo once again topped the charts in 2013 with 144 winners and the earners of $14,354,382, according to figures generated by The Jockey Club Information Systems (TJCIS). Galileo led all North American and European sires (hereafter abbreviated NA/EU) in four black-type categories, and tied with earnings runner-up Dansili in number of 2013 Group 1/Grade I winners, with six each. From 319 runners, Galileo sired 32 black-type winners (BTW) in 2013, and 65 black-type horses (BTH, won or placed in a black-type race); that’s 10% BTW/runners during the year, and over 20% BTH. He sired 20 group/graded stakes winners (GSW) - 6.3% of his runners last year - and a quite remarkable 46 graded/group stakes horses (GSH) - 14.4% of runners. His career totals now read: 129 BTW; 226 BTH; 81 GSW; 154 GSH; and now 33 Group 1/Grade I winners (G1SW), in nine crops of racing age through 2013. He’s the greatest since his own sire, Sadler’s Wells.

A fast-finishing and arguably unlucky third behind War Chant in the 2000 G1 Breeders’ Cup Mile at Churchill Downs, Dansili nonetheless went to stud a Group 2 winner at Juddmonte’s Banstead Manor Stud in 2001 for a fee of £8,000. He worked his way up until he started to attract the better mares, and ‘stood the raise’ which not that many do - and finished 2013 as the number two sire on the combined NA/EU list, with 124 winners and the earners of $12,887,396. Dansili finished the season with 26 BT winners and 42 BT horses, second to Galileo in both categories, and was also second to him in number of group/graded SH, with 25. As noted, he was tied with Galileo with six 2013 Group 1 winners, and was third in number of GSW, with 13.

Second in that category was Darley’s Dubawi (Dubai Millennium), with 16 GSW among his 21 BTW (ranked 5th in that category), of which four were Group 1 stakes winners.

Kitten’s Joy, with just five crops racing, captured the North American title, as mentioned by a margin of just $15,000. Kitten’s Joy had 24 BT winners last year, Speightstown 23. Each had 10 GSW, while Kitten’s Joy had five GISW, Speightstown four. Unlike other versions of the General Sire List, we do not count jumps earnings in North America, which is why Kitten’s Joy’s margin of victory over Speightstown is smaller on our list than on the other guys’. Moreover, there is a case that Speightstown - who was also second on our list in 2012 - really should be called the winner.

Because earnings in Japan and Hong Kong are so much higher than in North America and Europe, most sire lists, including ours, do not include earnings from Japan and Hong Kong. An example of the problem is this: when we computed the top 2% earnings thresholds for 2012 APEX ratings, the top 2% threshold in North America was $121,200; in Japan, the threshold is $425,698. These are roughly the same standard of horses, yet the horses in Japan earned 3.5 times the same level of horses in North America (over the seven-year period 2006-2012 the average was about 4x). So including Japanese earnings, and earnings in Hong Kong, generally can be dangerous. It cost Speightstown last year, though. He had earnings in Japan of $873,762, and even if we had divided them by four and included them, he would have comfortably topped Kitten’s Joy as North America’s Leading Sire. This controversy shouldn’t detract from Kitten’s Joy’s accomplishments, though, which included siring three Grade I winners in a single day last August 17 - all on the grass. In fact, over 75% of Kitten’s Joy’s 2013 earnings came in turf races - surely the first time ever a ‘turf’ sire has led the North American General Sire List. Also, 23 of Kitten’s Joy’s 24 black-type winners last year were bred by the Ramseys. This has occasioned some murmuring to the effect that, well, only the Ramseys get good horses by him, but I don’t know what people expected. He was a grass champion standing for $12,500, and the Ramseys were the only ones prepared to give the horse a real shot.

No doubt, the way these things work, as Kitten’s Joy’s stud fee has rocketed up and top commercial breeders start to use him, his results won’t be as impressive as they’ve been up until now, but it will hardly be the Ramseys’ fault if that proves to be the case. They’ve made him: good on ‘em. They’re going to get the Eclipse Awards for leading breeder and leading owner as their bonus, and so they should; I certainly voted for them in both categories.

Extracts from Thoroughbred Daily News

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WORLD WAR III

coolmore vs darley
coolmore vs darley

“In a game in which the principals all compete in the same profession, and where success and failure are both logged in the press every day, swirling envies always abound.”

For those of us who think that excellence in the racehorse breeding business, is vitally dependent upon the regular refreshment of one’s productive bloodstock, the annual retirement to stud of the world’s top performers is a matter of fundamental interest. For as long as we continue to believe that imported parent stock is superior to our local stuff, what happens in the Northern Hemisphere will remain the focus of our greater attention. After all, it has been thus ever since South Africans took breeding seriously, and the future fathers of our own prospects will be drawn from the ranks of the stallions that excel in those realms.

The bells of success have forever tolled for those that command the heights of the stallion business, and for close on three centuries, that hegemony rested with the English aristocracy, endowed as they were with the spoils of Empire. The curtain-call on Britain’s dominion over 40% of the earth’s surface, coincided with the rampant American economy of the 1940s, and the irresistible money of the latter’s industrialists soon transferred the pendulum of stallion power to the other side of the Atlantic.

Enter the son of a battling Irish farmer and his utterly gifted father-in-law trainer, backed by the riches of a football pools heir, and the 1980s spawned the emergence of a new force in the Emerald Isle. Given the economics of the time, Ireland was the most unlikely of places to champion a European resurgence, but when it comes to horses, only the ignorant would be foolish enough to ignore her horsemen.

John Magnier, Vincent O’Brien and the Liverpudlian Robert Sangster brought a new meaning to the word “genius,” and while knowing that the best racehorse (and hence, stallion) prospects were to be found in North America was, for them, the easy part, their knack in picking and funding the choice lots was what set them apart. Thus Coolmore was born, a temple to the glories of Vincent O’Brien’s masterpiece, Ballydoyle, the mysteries of which had fired the pens of journalists for five full decades.

The Japanese have long been the masters of imitation, so it wasn’t long before their own “genius”, the late Zenya Yoshida, cottoned on and developed a dominance of his own in his homeland, perfecting it by urging his domestic authorities to rewrite their racing programme to suit the discards of a European model which had served British and French racing so well for so long.

But back to centre court. Within a decade, the Irish-based triumvirate faced an onslaught from a hitherto unimaginable source with limitless pockets. Oil was the new world monetary system, and with their exposure to the intoxication of racing that comes with an aristocratic British education, the four sons of Dubai’s ruler of the time, succumbed to the charms of the sport. Magnier and Co. suddenly had a match on their hands, and before they could say “Jack Flash”, the Arab connection were the senior protagonists, if only from the perspective of what they could spend not only in the United States, but in their pursuit of the best produce of the best stallions already enthroned at Coolmore.

What has become of a rivalry that grew out of the internecine battle for racing supremacy in Europe, has been well-visited in these columns. In a nutshell, the balance of power at the racecourse ping-ponged between these two battalions, the one propelled by what seemed like a “bottomless pit”, the other by the instincts that belong only to those whose talents spring from generations of association with horses. Yes, measured by the standards of a former era, the Irish contingent had “cash”, but the resources at the disposal of Sheikh Mohammed et frère were on a scale no-one had seen or even contemplated before. The fact that the Irish were competitive at all, is the best testimony to our home-coined adage that when it comes to racehorses, a good eye can be just as good as a big cheque book.

In a game in which the principals all compete in the same profession, and where success and failure are both logged in the press every day, swirling envies always abound. The Arabs obviously had their reasons (the grapevine suggested they felt that the flow of the financial largesse accruing from their “mutual” patronage, was pretty much one-way traffic in favour of the “green” team) but out of the blue, the Maktoums decided about 8 years ago, that they would henceforth suspend their support of the Coolmore stallions, as well as their progeny in the sales ring. As the biggest buyers of thoroughbreds the world had known, in almost every other conceivable instance, this would’ve been the death knell for any operation, even one of Coolmore’s scale. After all, it didn’t only mean the withdrawal of their patronage of the stallions themselves, but it was a signal to all commercial breeders who continued their support of the Magnier stallions, that they could no longer count on Maktoum money to drive their prices. In short, it was a declaration of war, a war which has raged on for 8 unrelenting years, at considerable cost to the “boys in blue”, as the Maktoum contingent has come to be known.

It is one of the truisms of the game, that owners can be harder to train than horses, and when money and horses start to run, avarice and resentment are often not far behind. Ever since horses became a currency of their own, nothing has been quite the same. History has always served as a good teacher in circumstances like these, and for anyone plotting a strategy, a glance at the stallion logs of the moment would’ve made worthwhile reading. Sadler’s Wells had already racked up a world record sequence of 12 sires titles (he made it 14 in the end;) on either side of these, the Coolmore stallions, Caerleon and Danehill had their turns (Danehill was on the threshold of a “run” of his own, too,) and the European “top ten” seldom included fewer than seven or eight Coolmore incumbents. If you wanted to remain in the vanguard of European racing, the quick answer was that you had to stay with the Coolmore stallions. The Maktoums didn’t, and since that day, their challenge has “fizzled” to a trickle of its former formidable glory. That’s not going to change any time soon either, not until they “own the farm”.

Meanwhile, already ensconced at Coolmore were the successors to Sadler’s Wells; Danehill, his son Danehill Dancer, Montjeu and High Chaparral, aspiring champions the lot, as well as the inimitable Galileo, most people’s idea of the world’s best sire of the present era. To a man, they are products of a single lineage, the genesis of which lay in the early recognition of Northern Dancer as the “daddy of them all”, long before the rest of the world woke up. By contrast, the very ample ranks of Darley stallions in Europe, are populated by just a handful of quality proven stallions: Dubawi (a son of their own prematurely-deceased Dubai Millennium), Shamardal and New Approach, ironically the products of two Coolmore-owned horses, Giant’s Causeway and Galileo. In a sense, this is akin to “sleeping with the enemy”, and only serves to highlight the cost of that fateful decision to an operation whose ratio vivendi is centred entirely on the frequency of its visits to the big race winner’s podium, and blighted this year by two very unwelcome but much publicised charges for the possession and administration of quantities of illegal medications.

The one thing you can’t do though, is underestimate the ambition and determination of Dubai’s ruler: what Sheikh Mohammed wants, Sheikh Mohammed gets. In the wake of the “declaration of war”, he set out to corner the American stallion market by acquiring the top four performers of the three-year-old generation of 2007; together with his exceptional homebred, Bernardini, a cool $200 million laid claim to the Kentucky Derby star, Street Sense, Hard Spun and Any Given Saturday. Then he reached into a rich vein of genetic quartz, and brought home the exalted sire, Medaglia D’Oro. While the reigning champion of America, Giant’s Causeway (three titles 2009, 2010 and 2012) resides at Coolmore’s Ashford operation, Bernardini looks every bit the successor to his own illustrious father, A.P. Indy, and Medaglia D’Oro remains a force, though not with quite the zest he enjoyed at the height of his “heady” acquisition.

If the penny hasn’t already dropped, this is the background to the world of stallion supremacy, and why, in that battle, the only two parties that matter (in the Northern Hemisphere at least) if only because of the financial and genetic resources at their disposal, are Coolmore and Darley. Yes, there are pockets of genuine resistance (Juddmonte’sDansili and Oasis Dream and the immense but as yet unknown presence of Frankel) Claiborne’s War Front (Danzig’s successor, they say) and down South, the exceptional influences of Redoute’s Choice and, can-you-believe-it, another continental champion for Coolmore, Fastnet Rock. But the reality is, for the foreseeable future at least, these two leviathans of the industry, as diverse in their character as a lion and a hippopotamus, are likely to define the course of things.

Just four years ago (a few months after the fall of Lehmann Bros.) American studs announced the fees for their top new retirees: Curlin ($75,000), Big Brown ($65,000) and Henrythenavigator ($65,000). Since then, only four Northern Hemisphere stallions have stood for $50,000 or more, all in Europe, and two of them veteran “Australians”: Fastnet Rock, shuttling at an “opener” of €35,000 (+-$50k), and in an act of unusual daring most likely engineered by his own bloodstock chief, Georges Rimaud, the Aga Khan took on Redoute’s Choice at €70,000. The other two, arguably the two best European racehorses of the past 30 years, reinforced both the Aga Khan’s new-found entreprenurial verve as well as Prince Khalid Abdullah’s place at the main table of international breeding’s greatest players. Sea The Stars retired to Gilltown Stud for €85 000, while Frankel joined the Juddmonte roster at £125 000. Most betting men will tell you, the Europeans got the best end of that bargain, and looking at the prospects for 2014, it’s another case of “odds-on” Europe.

Top of the European “pops”, at least from a pricing perspective, is Coolmore’s aptly named Declaration Of War, given the theme of this report, who comes at a solid €40,000 (+-$55,000). Coolmore have obviously identified his sire War Front, as the reincarnation of his own father, Danzig, and as a font of future prospects, as they’ve done a fistful of business with that stallion’s principal Joseph Allen, and this fellow combines a “Giant’s Causeway” constitution and mind, with an enviable “milers” record for his place at the top of the stud fee tree.

It is a sad reflection though, on the role which fashion plays in the setting of stud fees, that as admirable a racehorse as Camelot should kick off at just €25,000. It is all the more mystifying since his own sire Montjeu, Galileo and High Chaparral, all giants of the stallion firmament, were like him, Derby winners. His “sin” obviously rests in the extended distances at which he excelled, while Dawn Approach, who like Camelot, was also a winner of the Group One Two Thousand Guineas at a mile, starts life at €35,000. Dawn Approach’s redemption rests in the fact that, unlike our Derby hero, he failed in the Derby, suggesting that his forte’ was at the shorter trips. Damn good miler that he was, there wasn’t €10,000 worth of stud fees between him and Camelot as racehorses. End of story.

Besides having displayed his prowess in Group One company at a mile, Camelot had the added distinction of crushing his Derby adversaries by five, in faster time than any of his mighty Ballydoyle predecessors, Nijinsky, Sir Ivor, Roberto, The Minstrel and High Chaparral, all stellar stallions in their own right. Here was an athlete with the precocity of a Champion Two-Year-Old, the speed to win a Guineas at three, and whose owners were the first since Nijinsky’s Charles Engelhard with the courage and the enterprise to allow a colt of his talents a crack at the Triple Crown. His pedigree spoke of “Elegance” and the “Enforcer”: by Montjeu from a Kingmambo mare, out of a daughter of Danehill, Camelot had done exactly what it said on the “tin”. When it came to the extended trip of the St Leger, the third leg in the “crown”, things just unravelled. One of the brutal truths of the game, is that when things seem almost too good to be true, they almost certainly are. All seemed so well in the world. It only took one race to change it.  And, it only took a horse called Encke, who’s not been seen or heard of since, to do it. That was Camelot’s sin.

Mercifully, the Coolmore team knows better. While Declaration Of War heads their freshman roster pricewise, it is Camelot’s honour to decorate the cover of their newly-released stallion brochure for 2014.

Dawn Approach aside (enigmatic he may be, but on his day, a world class performer with a big shot at Darley,) we’re not departing Europe without a word about Al Kazeem, recently syndicated among the “who’s who” of European breders for duty at The Queen’sSandringham Stud. The son of Sheikh Mohammed’s highly accomplished Dubawi, this debonair entertainer debuts at a fee of £18,000 (+-$30,000). Horses like Al Kazeem are an inspiration. In the simplest way, they symbolise the highest of athletic virtues, rock solid minds and massive physical appeal. It is always dangerous to get too anthropomorphic about horses, but given the calibre of those who’ve invested in him, there’s always mystique in the thought of how such a tough character will fare when he moves to the sultan’s life at stud.

The profiles of American debutants for 2014, is somewhat lower than that of their European counterparts, and appears to herald a subtle fall from grace of Kentucky, not long ago the undisputed capital of world thoroughbred breeding. Nice enough horses they certainly are, but in Orb, Paynter, Point Of Entry, Oxbow, Shanghai Bobby and Take Charge Indy, there’s little among those names to shiver the timbers of European breeders. The one horse who might’ve stirred some emotions across the waves were it not for his “non-event” at Ascot, is Animal Kingdom, the Kentucky Derby ace who, for a stretch of three months earlier in the year, bestrode the world as its highest-rated middle distance performer. He opens at Darley for a mouth-watering $35,000.

Hot off a nail-biting second in the 2012 Breeder’s Cup Mile, Animal Kingdom carried the colours of his breeders, Team Valor to victories in a brace of Group Ones in the opening months of the year, including a crushing defeat of an international line-up in the $10 million Dubai World Cup. South Africa’s Robin Bruss has previously engineered international transactions involving major racehorses and stallions, and one of his more celebrated achievements was the acquisition of the former Chilean champion sire, Hussonet, for duty at John Messara’s fabled Arrowfield in Australia.

Here Bruss was again, coupling Team Valor’s Barry Irwin with Arrowfield in a deal that saw Animal Kingdom go to “post” for the world’s richest race, in their joint ownership. A visionary in the Magnier class, Messara has always been pretty nimble when there is business to be done, especially when a “shrewdy” like Irwin has marked his card. Animal Kingdom’s World Cup was one of those moments when triumph is so complete, vindication so unarguable.

As he’d also demonstrated so often in the past, Sheikh Mohammed is seldom too far out of range when there’s the scent of a good horse in the vicinity, and he too, was quick to pounce in the World Cup aftermath. Few horses have gone to Royal Ascot with such expectations, and with the combined powers of two of the world’s great marketers and the money of one of the world’s richest men behind him, Animal Kingdom arrived in England carrying the aspirations of three different countries. The racehorse is such a symbol of hope and vitality though, that when they go down, as Animal Kingdom did before the eyes of the world at Ascot, the flame is so instantly extinguished, it comes as a choking shock, even in the remembrance. Otherwise, he should’ve been standing for $50,000 or more.

One race: that’s all it takes. Success governs everything in racing. It always has. And it always will.

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STORM IN A TEACUP

Storm Cat
Storm Cat

Storm Cat

(Photo : Paulick Report)

“The truth is that Storm Cat would currently enjoy a huge lead on the broodmare table if he received credit for the tremendous results achieved this year by his daughters’ Japanese runners.”

When it comes to hit rates in this country, there’s never been any sireline more effective than Storm Cat’s. Var, Tiger Ridge, Black Minnaloushe, Mogok, Tribal Dance, they all speak eloquently for their heritage, hence the presence at Summerhill of Brave Tin Soldier and Await The Dawn.

Andrew Caulfield - During his racing career, Storm Cat was pretty good at coming out on top in a close finish, showing the sort of spirit which was to become a feature of his progeny’s success story. He won his second start by a neck and three starts later he pushed his nose ahead of Danzig Connections to take the GI Young America Stakes. Unfortunately, he couldn’t quite repeat the display against Tasso in the GI Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, when he led virtually everywhere but the finish line.

Storm Cat appears to be involved in another very tight finish this year, this time in his role as broodmare sire, and I use the word “appears” advisedly. According to the Blood-Horse on December 9, the former Overbrook star ranks second to A.P. Indy, with Storm Cat’s total of $14,635,997 lagging just $42,365 behind his rivals.

But, the small print includes “as supplied to The Blood-Horse by The Jockey Club Information Systems, Inc., earnings exclude monies from Japan and Hong Kong.” (Note: TDN sire lists also do not contain earnings from Japan or Hong Kong). I mentioned my puzzlement over this arbitrary exclusion in a TDN piece nearly two years ago: “I guess that this is done because the prize-money in those countries is deemed disproportionate to that in the majority of other countries and can therefore slant the statistics,” I suggested.

Statistics from the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities confirm that prize-money in Hong Kong and Japan are at a different level. The average prize-money per race in 2012 was equivalent to €110,947 in Hong Kong and €45,851 in Japan, whereas the figures for the U.S. and Canada were €16,136 and €20,013, respectively. But Hong Kong and Japan aren’t the only countries capable of distorting the figures. The average for the 320 races staged in the United Arab Emirates equated to €103,865. Yet, inconsistently, these races are included in the Jockey Club’s figures.

This year, Darshaan ranks third on the table behind A.P. Indy and Storm Cat, but he owes nearly $3.5 million (virtually a quarter of his total) to the UAE exploits of Sajjhaa. Similarly, the 15th-ranked Acatenango owes $6 million of his total to Animal Kingdom’s victory in the G1 Dubai World Cup. Meadowlake and Arch are other substantial beneficiaries from the World Cup meeting.

If a daughter of Storm Cat had supplied the winner of one of these fabulously rich prizes in Dubai, the stallion would have been given the credit, but not if the victory came in Japan or Hong Kong. It doesn’t make sense! Perhaps it would be preferable if The Jockey Club provided two tables, one all inclusive and the other without Japan, Hong Kong or the UAE.

The truth is that Storm Cat would currently enjoy a huge lead on the broodmare table if he received credit for the tremendous results achieved this year by his daughters’ Japanese runners. He currently ranks fourth on Japan’s table of broodmare sires, thanks principally to Kizuna (Jpn) (Deep Impact) (G1 Japanese Derby), Ayusan (Jpn) (Deep Impact) (G1 Japanese 1,000 Guineas) and the excellent Lord Kanaloa (Jpn) (King Kamehameha) (a Group 1 winner in the Takamatsunomiya Kinen, Yasuda Kinen and Sprinters Stakes). With support from their fellow group winners Hiraboku Deep (Jpn) (Deep Impact) and Red Spada (Jpn) (Taiki Shuttle), they have built a total of ¥1,922,941,000, which I believe equates to $18,658,470.

Of course, Storm Cat also received a boost of around $1.1 million when Lord Kanaloa thrashed an international field of sprinters to record his second success in the G1 Hong Kong Sprint Sunday. In the process, the son of King Kamehameha improved his career figures to an impressive 19-13-5-1. Add all this to the earnings of Storm Cat’s daughters’ earnings elsewhere in the Northern Hemisphere and you arrive at a staggering total of more than $34,000,000. Not bad for a year’s work!

Of course Storm Cat’s broodmare daughters have also had something of a banner year in the U.S., enjoying the limelight via the likes of Close Hatches, Sahara Sky, Honor Code, Global View, Govenor Charlie, Tapicat and Noble Tune. Now the name of the very promising Streaming can be added to the list, following her triumph in the GI Hollywood Starlet Stakes on only her second start.

The last few weeks have seen some spectacular prices for young Group 1-winning fillies and mares, such as Chicquita (Ire) (Montjeu) (€6,000,000), Dancing Rain (Ire) (Danehill Dancer) (4,000,000gns) and Immortal Verse (Ire) (Pivotal) (4,700,000gns). The sky would probably also be the limit were Streaming ever to be offered for sale. After all, she is a granddaughter of Better Than Honour, the brilliant broodmare whose price soared to $14 million when she was offered at Fasig-Tipton in 2008.

Streaming’s dam Teeming repaid less than $70,000 of the $1,500,000 she had cost as a weanling, but she won three of her four starts as a 4-year-old. Although not in the same class as her Belmont Stakes-winning siblings Rags To Riches (A.P. Indy) and Jazil (Seeking the Gold), she is making amends as a broodmare, Streaming being her fifth winner from five foals. There are similarities between Teeming’s pedigree and that of Rising Tornado, the dam of this year’s two-time Grade I-winning filly Close Hatches (First Defence). Both are daughters of Storm Cat and both have the celebrated Best In Show as their third dam. Also, their respective Grade I winners in 2013 were sired by members of the Mr. Prospector male line, Close Hatches being by First Defence and Streaming by Smart Strike.

As a son of Mr. Prospector, Smart Strike had obvious appeal as a mate for Teeming. For a start, Jazil was sired by another son, Seeking the Gold, and Kingmambo, Jade Hunter and Miswaki are other sons of Mr. Prospector with a Grade I winner to their credit from the Best In Show family.

Smart Strike also sired that good filly Denomination, a four-time Grade III winner at up to a mile and an eighth in France and the U.S., from another Storm Cat mare. The Smart Strike/Storm Cat partnership also has another talented juvenile filly this year in the shape of Fascinating, beaten only half a length by She’s A Tiger in the GI Del Mar Debutante and a length by Secret Compass in the GI Chandelier Stakes.

Extract from Thoroughbred Daily News

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IT'S A BREEZE

Visionaire Stallion
Visionaire Stallion

Visionaire

(Photo : Jay Gilbert)

“The Visionaires aren’t just winning: they’re ‘blasting’”

Visionaire is a man who’s been making the headlines lately with his first runners in the United States. For those of us whose mares are carrying his foals right now, there’s been more encouraging news. One of his earlier winners, Bacopa Breeze (who broke his duck by 11 lengths a few weeks back) breezed up again this week, charging home by 8.5 lengths. The Visionaires aren’t just winning: they’re “blasting”, which has got to be the best news for a stallion line-up that is higher on potential than it’s ever been, but which is looking for a man whose proven record says we can lay our lives on him.

On that topic, those who follow our Facebook page and the Sporting Post, will know the drama the first progeny of Golden Sword are creating in these parts. When we arrived at the foaling unit yesterday morning for a preview of Judge Magid’s stock on the farm, we were greeted with yet another “pearler” from Africa’s most accomplished son of High Chaparral: a 65 kg “monster” from Sheikh Mohammed’s well-related mare, Crescent Star. The Sadler’s Wells tribe is not known for its size or its substance particularly, but from what we’re hearing from the boys at Coolmore Australia about the first “So You Thinks”, it seems that High Chaparral himself may have spawned an entirely unique Sadler’s Wells type. Golden Sword is much in the mould of his father, a leggy, athletic high quality individual, in the style of the European classic horse, but mated to the sort of “colonial” mares High Chaparral would’ve been crossed with in Australasia, there seems to be more body, more size and more bone to his issue.

That probably explains why, despite his great successes in the Northern Hemisphere, High Chaparral has outperformed even those with four Group One winners in Australia in his first crop, and a Triple Crown hero in the second. On Saturday, It’s a Dundeel followed up his exploits in the Triple Crown with a stunning victory in the Underwood Stakes (Gr.1), his fifth Group One in twelve months, and in the process he brought to an end an unbeaten run of eight consecutive victories for Australia’s “darling of the turf,” Atlantic Jewel. It was a bittersweet outcome for Coolmore, who own the daughter of Fastnet Rock, but who’ll be consoled by the fact that at $77,000 this year (nigh on R800,000), they seem to have got High Chaparral’s stud fee for the present season, spot on.

Within 24 hours of his victory, Arrowfield’s chairman, John Messara, announced that It’s A Dundeel would become a barn-mate of Redoute’s Choice, Snitzel and Animal Kingdom next season. “It’s A Dundeel’s pedigree combines the brilliance and classic stamina of Sadler’s Wells and Zabeel, infused with the incomparable speed of Luskin Star, to create a racehorse of superlative quality over a range of distances. It’s A Dundeel’s Underwood success highlights both his weight-for-age class and the turn of foot he had previously demonstrated in his emphatic seven-length victory in the Rosehill Guineas. He is indeed the real deal.”

summerhill stud, south africa
summerhill stud, south africa

Enquiries :

Linda Norval 27 (0) 33 263 1081

or email linda@summerhill.co.za

www.summerhill.co.za

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WHO WANTS TO WIN THE ARC ANYWAY

Keeneland September Yearling Sale
Keeneland September Yearling Sale

Keeneland September Yearling Sale

(Photo : Keeneland)

“LETTER FROM AMERICA”

By John P. Sparkman

Five years after Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy during the 2008 Keeneland September Yearling Sale, total proceeds for the 2013 version of the sale surpassed the 2008 total with five sale days still remaining on the sale calendar. I think it is safe to say that the American breeding industry is back - at least in our own insular, persistently xenophobic fashion.

Few thoroughbred breeders and owners at the 2008 September Sale really understood what the disappearance of Lehman Brothers meant on the day it happened, but by the time the Keeneland November Sale rolled around two months later, virtually every thoroughbred they owned was worth 40% less than they had thought in September. Breeders deeply indebted to banks based on September bloodstock valuations and income projections were suddenly in very deep trouble. Although it took a few years, some were forced out of the business and many others cut back sharply.

The law of supply and demand is inexorable. American breeders were producing about 34,000 foals a year in 2008. This year they bred around 23,000, about a 33% decline since the crash.

That in itself would not explain fully the big surge in prices at Keeneland last week. Perhaps an even bigger factor is that wealthy Americans are feeling very, very good about themselves these days. Although the economic recovery that began with the election of Barack Obama has been cautious and hesitant, unemployment remains high and middle class wages are stagnant or declining, income for the wealthy has soared well past 2008 levels. Wealthy Americans have plenty of money to spend and racing is once again an attractive, exciting way to spend it.

Almost all of them, though, are interested only in spending money on horses to run in American races at American racetracks. In response to worries that European buyers are no longer very interested in American horses, one American reportedly said, in essence, “Who wants to win the Arc anyway?”

A sense of history coupled with respect for the institutions of the Old World has never been an American strong point and with wild-eyed Tea Party Republicans competing daily to proclaim themselves more genuinely, completely, against anything they choose to classify as un-American, that kind of statement is unsurprising among a class bound to lean toward the conservative in any climate. Never mind that Ted Cruz, the most wild-eyed of the Tea Partiers, and the one most obviously positioning himself for a Presidential run in 2016, was born in Canada, which is the self-same sin the Tea Partiers claim should disqualify Obama from the Presidency, despite his verified Hawaii birth certificate.

That should tell you all you need to know about the mood of the country right now. In other words, don’t expect rationality from us right now. You will be disappointed.

The answer to the question is, of course, that European and Middle Eastern buyers very much want to win the Arc and some of them have noticed that we are once again breeding horses that might actually have a chance, if not at the Arc, at winning a Guineas or a Champion Stakes. Last year Demi O’Byrne and Coolmore quietly began buying yearlings by Claiborne’s sensational young son of Danzig, War Front. Although he never raced on turf and never won a Grade 1, War Front’s first two crops showed brilliant ability on all surfaces, but especially turf, and, as usual, Coolmore was quick to act.

After the victories this year of Declaration Of War and War Command, owned in partnership by Coolmore and War Front’s owner-breeder Joe Allen, there was considerably more competition for War Front’s offspring. M.V. Magnier and company had to go to $2.5million for a beautiful War Front colt that topped the sale and to $1million for another who is a brother in blood to this year’s Grade 2 Super Derby winner Departing.

With Sadler’s Wells’ grandsons Medaglia D’Oro and Kitten’s Joy, plus Street Cry, Bernardini, War Front, and Distorted Humor, among others, obviously capable of siring top-class European runners, Americans may soon have a clearer idea of who wants to win the Arc, and how much they are willing to pay for a horse who might do it.

Extract from European Bloodstock News

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BIG ACTION: BIG NUMBERS AT KEENELAND

Keeneland September Yearling Sale Book 1
Keeneland September Yearling Sale Book 1

Keeneland September Yearling Sale Day 4 Top Colt - HIP 712 War Front Blading Gold Ring

(Image and Footage : Keeneland)

KEENELAND SEPTEMBER YEARLING SALE

Book 1, Day 4

Keeneland September’s power-packed Book 1 concluded yesterday with impressive increases compared to combined Book 1 and 2 results from 2012. During four days of selling, 546 yearlings grossed $153,385,000. The average rose 38.5% to $280,925 and the median was up 38.3% to $207,500. At this point in the 2012 auction, 655 head had sold for $132,853,000. The average was $202,829 and the median was $150,000. The cumulative buy-back rate stands at 27%. It was 28.7% a year ago.

“Week one was a great success,” confirmed Keeneland’s Director of Sales Geoffrey Russell after the close of business Thursday. “The goal was to get as many quality horses on the grounds and the consignors successfully helped us accomplish that. The cream of North America’s yearling crop was here and our goal is to get as many buyers on the grounds to go through them. We accomplished that. The success of the new format shows all the way through, with top-quality horses every day. There was live spirited bidding everyday on all the horses and the buyers stayed from Monday through Thursday and that is all we can ask. There was a huge, diverse buying bench, both domestically and internationally, there were new buyers, old buyers, pinhookers, end users. You name the criteria of a buyer and they were here. All our goals were accomplished.”

The 2012 total sale figure of seven million-dollar yearlings was surpassed during Wednesday’s trading and was obliterated Thursday when a further five yearlings brought seven figures. A total of 18 horses have passed the million-dollar threshold so far. Thursday’s session was topped by a colt by War Front who brought a final bid of $2.5million from Coolmore’s M.V. Magnier. The colt was consigned by Peter O’Callaghan’s Woods Edge Farm. O’Callaghan had purchased the colt for $180,000 as a weanling last November. The yearling was the second horse to pass the $2-million mark at the auction.

Amplifying the depth of the market, there were 15 individual buying groups among the 18 seven-figure yearlings. That includes three horses Stonestreet bought in partnership, one each with Regis, Gainesway and Spendthrift. Only M.V. Magnier purchased multiple seven-figure horses; the Coolmore partners have purchased four at that level.

After a pause in the action Friday, the Keeneland September resumes with Book 2 on Saturday at 10 a.m. Keeneland’s Vice President of Sales, Walt Robertson, is optimistic the strong results will continue. “People bid on a lot of horses today, but haven’t gotten a lot of money spent over the last week,” Robertson said. “They’ll be here next week. You are always anxious about the next step, but everything bodes pretty well, we hope.”

Extract from Thoroughbred Daily News

Thursday 12 September 2013

TOP COLTS

Lot #

Sire

Dam

Price ($)

Purchased By

712

War Front

Blading Gold Ring

2,500,000

M.V. Magnier

681

Tapit

Avaknowsthecode

1,200,000

Gainesway & Stonestreet Stables

846

Medaglia d’Oro

Dream Supreme

1,000,000

David Ingordo, agent

791

Distorted Humor

Copper State

925,000

Spendthrift & Stonestreet Stables

700

Street Cry

Beautician

750,000

Live Oak Plantation

770

Distorted Humor

Cindy’s Mom

725,000

Spendthrift Farm

720

Medaglia d’Oro

Bonnie Blue Flag

700,000

Willis Horton

705

Smart Strike

Belle Of Perintown

575,000

GEM Stables

664

Galileo

Another Storm

550,000

Blandford Bloodstock

667

War Front

A.P. Investment

550,000

Shadwell Estate Co. Ltd

814

Tapit

Dashing Debby

500,000

Fox Hill Farm, Tom McGreevy, agent

Thursday 12 September 2013

TOP FILLIES

Lot #

Sire

Dam

Price ($)

Purchased By

855

Tiznow

Easter Brunette

1,700,000

Solis Bloodstock

868

Tapit

Evrobi

1,000,000

Shadwell Estate Co. Ltd

779

Smart Strike

Clay’s Rocket

775,000

John Greathouse, agent

742

Malibu Moon

Caroni

725,000

John Greathouse, agent

709

War Front

Biblical Point

600,000

Live Oak Plantation

841

Street Cry

Dream Empress

570,000

John Ferguson

www.keeneland.com

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THERE'S SMOKE IN THE CHIMNEY STACK

Keeneland September Yearling Sale Day 3
Keeneland September Yearling Sale Day 3

Keeneland September Yearling Sale Day 3 - Top Filly HIP 541 Indian Charlie - Take Charge Lady

(Image and Footage : Keeneland)

KEENELAND SEPTEMBER YEARLING SALE

9 - 21 September 2013

Whisper Hill Farm’s Mandy Pope, who bought the $10 million Havre de Grace (Saint Liam) last year at FTKNOV, could well have another sale topper on her hands after going to $2.2 million for an Indian Charlie daughter of Take Charge Lady (Dehere) yesterday at Keeneland September. The filly is a half-sister to recent GI Travers Stakes hero, Will Take Charge (Unbridled’s Song) and to last season’s GI Florida Derby winner, Take Charge Indy (A.P. Indy).

The transaction highlighted a hugely successful third day of selling at Keeneland. The third session average of $310,296 (over R3million) was up 19.9% from the combined average of the first two days of selling, while the median of $240,000 was 20%. Pope, who outlasted Spendthrift’s B. Wayne Hughes to land the filly, has been building a powerhouse breeding and racing operation in recent years. In addition to Havre de Grace, she also purchased the $4.2million Plum Pretty (Medaglia d’Oro) last fall at KEENOV, and confirmed her most recent purchase will ultimately join her broodmare band.

“She’ll be a delight to have, and something to go along with Havre de Grace and Plum Pretty after she becomes a famous racehorse,” Pope smiled. “She’s absolutely beautiful. She’s from a stellar family, she’s by Indian Charlie, who sired a wonderful filly in Indian Blessing, and we hope she follows in the footsteps of her daddy and her mother and her brothers.”

The filly is the second seven-figure sales yearling from Take Charge Lady, the tough-as-nails racemare and Keeneland ace whose wins included the GI Ashland Stakes and two editions of the GI Spinster Stakes. Her first foal was the striking-but-starcrossed Charming (Seeking the Gold), a $3.2million yearling in 2006 who suffered a career-ending injury shortly into her racing days. “We were expecting right around $2 million,” Pope said of the Indian Charlie filly. “She was a standout; she was my pick of the sale.”

Pope maintains a broodmare band of about 25 at Whisper Hill, and has a racing stable of about 45 horses. She both sells and races, and she said the commercial breeder in her was encouraged by the sharp upswing in the market at September. “But what I hope, and this is a very important thing going forward, is that stud farms don’t get stupid and go crazy on stud fees now,” she said. “It seems like every time as a breeder we can get our head above water and get some nice horses and pay our stud fees, the market goes up and then it becomes insane again for the breeders.”

No consignor at the Keeneland September sale has sold more seven-figure horses than John Sikura’s Hill ‘n Dale, which has accounted for a trio of $1 million-plus transactions. That includes the sale-topping $2.2million Indian Charlie x Take Charge Lady filly, as well as yesterday’s $1.7million Medaglia d’Oro x Supercharger colt. Hill ‘n Dale also sold Tuesday’s $1million Smart Strike x Serenading colt. “We thought we had break-out horses, and every horse sold and met our expectations,” Sikura said of his elite group. “And a few exceeded our expectations.” He continued, “I think there’s optimism in the market, and there’s a lot of participation. The people here are finding the good horses and spending their money when they land on the same ones. There’s a lot of competition, and the prices are reflecting that.”

Wednesday 11 September 2013

TOP COLTS

Lot #

Sire

Dam

Price ($)

Purchased By

523

Medaglia d’Oro

Supercharger

1,700,000

Spendthrift & Stonestreet Stables LLC

515

Tapit

Succcessful Outlook

1,550,000

Regis Farms & Stonestreet Stables LLC

496

Galileo

Starlight Dreams

1,400,000

MV Magnier

640

Tapit

Above Perfection

725,000

McCalmont Bloodstock, agent for Jon Kelly

479

Distorted Humor

Soul Search

600,000

Shadwell Estate Company, Ltd

Wednesday 11 September 2013

TOP FILLIES

Lot #

Sire

Dam

Price ($)

Purchased By

541

Indian Charlie

Take Charge Lady

2,200,000

Whisper Hill Farm LLC

446

Tiznow

Silken Cat

1,750,000

Borges Torrealba Holdings

463

Indian Charlie

Smart Surprise

625,000

Borges Torrealba Holdings

470

Distorted Humor

Social Page

575,000

Live Oak Plantation

554

Scat Daddy

Tempting Note

550,000

Bridlewood Farm

www.keeneland.com

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