Keeneland September Sale Preview: Session 1

Keeneland Sales Preps

The granddaddy of all yearling sales is just around the corner, and my initial glance of the first three sessions has revealed that this could be a fantastic sale if everyone gets to the ring and meets the reserve price. There is a little bit of everything this year: full and half siblings to superstars, sires, and producing dams; yearlings with a catalog page that probably should have been printed purple with 24k golden borders, and the first crop of the Triple Crown hero, American Pharoah.

I will be making my way through the entire catalog by the sale’s start, so you’ll have a full array of choices to read about including the ever popular Book 1 that always brings huge fireworks and the later sessions, where a good bargain can be found by a shrewd horseman or woman on a budget.

Session 1 will start Monday, September 10th at 11:00 AM and will encompass HIPS 1 -248. My selections below will sell on Monday if they aren’t an OUT and are mainly comprised of a few big names that many people will recognize. I have not seen any of them in person, but I will be on grounds to inspect and take pictures once the week of the sale rolls around, and I’ll post those by session as well.

HIP 1– Envied, a bay filly by American Pharoah out of Halljoy (IRE); while the yearlings are going to be sold by alphabetical order of the dam’s name, it is fitting that the 2015 Triple Crown hero has a member of his first crop be the first horse to go through the ring. She is the first registered foal of her dam, a black-type earning mare from England that eventually made her way to America to compete. The second dam is where all the producing power is at, as two of Tithcar’s offspring earned black-type (Halljoy and Antadh) while four of her older daughters went on to produce black-type runners of their own. A fair amount of the family raced in England but Temple’s Door, who is out of Halljoy’s half sister Chetak (IRE), had some stakes success at Santa Anita when he finished second in the Gr. II San Gabriel S. and third in the Lure S. The son of Leroidesanimaux (BRZ) won at both 3 and 4 while amassing $165,126. I think Envied will be a two-for-one package for the right buyer, as both racing and producing run in this filly’s family.

HIP 8– bay colt by Tapit out of 2011 Horse of the Year Havre De Grace; this pick is more for excitement’s sake, as well all know that he will likely bring a very nice price for the simple reason of who his parents are. Besides being a champion racer, genetics don’t come much nicer than what is shown on HDG’s family tree: Toll Fee back to Toll Booth, who was a producer of producers. Toll Booth had 12 foals, 7 had a career that put their bankroll in the triple digits (pre-1990 too), and every single foal made it to the races and ran at least 10 times with the exception being the filly Token Found, her next to last who only made a single start. Tapit is only an extra large check mark on the pedigree page, as he needs no introduction.

Songbird enjoyed her turn-outs while at Taylor Made before being sold to Mandy Pope and relocating to Timber Town.

HIP 63– dark bay or brown filly by American Pharoah out of Ivanavinalot; avid Songbird fans will recognize this yearling as her half-sister. The family comes with a decent page, though Songbird’s achievements do take up almost a third of it. Ivanavinalot has produced Wide Range (f. by Mineshaft) who is the dam of stakes winner Mico Margarita and the second dam Beaty Sark was quite successful in producing black-type runners. On paper, this filly looks like she’ll be a decent performer, but she’ll likely find more success as a broodmare than a racer.

HIP 69– gray or roan colt by American Pharoah out of Joyful Victory; if you’re tired of seeing AP everywhere, then you might want to stop reading because he’s going to be on here a few more times. This particular colt is out of one of my favorite race mares, Joyful Victory, who is a daughter of Tapit. She’s the dam of two other foals, all of racing age, but none of them have made it to the track. This could mean a lot of things: they’re experiencing growing pains and the connections are being patient or the bulb hasn’t turned on just yet. Either way, it’s very exciting to see Empire Maker over Pulpit in any pedigree, and JV happens to come with Wild Again as her dam sire. You don’t see him in catalog pages much anymore, unless the family is older and not quite saturated with all the young sires yet. I’m excited to see this one in person.

Greyvitos, one of HIP 82’s relatives, has shown a lot of promise on the dirt and going shorter distances.

HIP 82– dark bay or brown colt by War Front out of Keertana; this colt will be a turf operation’s dream (as well as the consummate European bloodstock agent) if you can outbid some of the big names for him. His dam was one of the most hard-trying mares on the sod and being by War Front only strengthens his chances of not only becoming a good runner but also landing a stud deal overseas. Keertana has already produced Ticonderoga, who set a new course record at Belmont going a mile and 1/16 in 1:39.45 (contrary to the catalog that lists this record at Aqueduct) and is a Gr. III stakes winner. The second dam, Motokiks (by Storm Cat) was unraced, but she produced nine winners including Diversy Harbor and Snow Top Mountain, who is the dam of Greyvitos (shown above left).

HIP 99– bay colt by Empire Maker out of La Cloche; this will be Empire Maker’s first set of yearlings since his return from Japan and the sales are saturated with them. This colt’s female family is a gold mine of racing talent as this catalog page reads six immediate black-type winners including another favorite mare of mine, Winter Memories. The dams in this family are either black-type runners and producers or producers of black-type if they didn’t earn it themselves. It will be interesting to see which direction a buyer will take this colt, as he could do well theoretically on both surfaces, since his sire’s two champions were Royal Delta (dirt) and Emollient (turf) while he also sired Pioneerofthe Nile, who gave us American Pharoah.

HIP 119– bay colt by Uncle Mo out of Leslie’s Harmony; his dam’s family is one of the most talked about and productive in this decade. Leslie’s Harmony is by Curlin, who is experiencing great success at the Classic distances for both fillies and colts. However, it’s Leslie’s Lady that everyone wants a piece of; this mare has produced Beholder, Mendelssohn, Into Mischief, and gained Broodmare of the Year honors in 2016. You’ve probably heard of all three of her most famous offspring, and even her lesser known daughters have both produced black-type. This is a winning and breeding machine of a family from top to bottom and being a son of Uncle Mo (who is on fire in his own right) only drives his price that much higher. I would be surprised if he went for less than $800,000.

HIP 120– a bay colt by Medaglia d’Oro out of Leslie’s Lady; everything I could have said about him I said for his cousin above, only this colt will have the benefit of having Medaglia d’Oro genes as well as Leslie’s Lady in the mix. That she didn’t visit him sooner (or produce a living foal of mention, if she did) surprises me but I think this guy is going to be one of the sale’s highest prices, if not the topper depending on how he looks. The big names will be gunning for him as his half-brother Into Mischief is experiencing an ever improving career and Mendelssohn is being campaigned by one of the premier groups in racing with an eye most likely set on being the replacement for his sire Scat Daddy, should Justify not pan out (and I like Mendelssohn’s chances at success better, but that’s another blog post).


California Chrome at Taylor Made

HIP 141– a gray or roan colt by Tapit out of Love The Chase; California Chrome’s half brother is going to try his chances at being like the two-time Horse of the Year. The dam’s only notable son is the shiny, copper King of Taylor Made but Faversham (r. by Lucky Pulpit) the full-brother is a winner at 3, with stakes races being in his original future until a few bumps changed them. However, to her credit, all her foals that are of racing age have made it to their first start and three are winners, so in the very least, chances are good that he will make it to the afternoons and win at least once. There is a good dam in Chase The Dream on the third line back, despite second dam, Chase It Down (by Polish Numbers) not doing much in her breeding or racing career besides having Love The Chase. Tapit genetics always help, and if he inherited racing ability along with his coat, this colt might give his dam another favorite son.

HIP 204– gray or roan filly by Tapit out of Miss Shop; I predominantly analyze pedigrees by looking at the female family first. That being said, this filly is another one of those that has a good chance of being able to succeed as both a racer and a broodmare. Her dam, Miss Shop, was a millionaire and raced from 2 to 4 years old, winning or performing well in some of the nation’s most important races. This HIP’s full sister Tin Type Gal, is a stakes winner and hit the board in the Gr. II Sands Point S. The second dam, Shopping (my type of mare) is the dam and granddam of nine black-type winners and runners not counting Miss Shop and Tin Type Gal. Miss Shop’s half sister, Shop Again (f. by Wild Again) is the dam of Power Broker (c. by Pulpit) who is now a sire and her half-brother is Trappe Shot (c. by Tapit), so Tapit has had some prior success with this female family.

HIP 217– dark bay or brown colt by Temple City out of More Than Pretty; if you’ve followed Stonestreet from Rachel Alexandra, forward, then you’ve probably heard of this HIP’s half-siblings Kauai Katie and Winding Way. This breeding seems to be aimed more at the mile or shorter distances as the sire’s best horse was Miss Temple City, the hard-knocking mare that made the trip to Royal Ascot a couple times but could never quite race out of Tepin’s shadow despite winning the Gr. I Maker’s Mark and Gr. I Shadwell Turf Mile among many other fantastic efforts. The half-siblings mentioned above (especially Kauai Katie) tried their mettle at some longer races like the Gr. I Acorn where KK finished third, but their best performances came at shorter distances.

HIP 228– gray or roan filly by American Pharoah out of My Happy Face; this filly’s dam was a sensation by the way she broke her maiden in her second start. Obliterating her competition by greater than 20 lengths, she went on to have a very respectable career finishing second in the Gr. I Frizette, Gr. I TVG Coaching Club American Oaks, third in the Gr. I Test S., and winning a few Graded stakes before retiring and eventually being sold to Clearsky Farm, who is cosigning her second foal; the other registered offspring is a 2YO of 2018 that has not started yet. Dam’s racing prowess aside, the second, third, and fourth dams all won or produced black-type. This is a very consistent family. If you want to see My Happy Face’s 20 length romp, it is shown below as she’s called home by the legendary Tom Durkin.

Those are my highlights from the first session. My list of horses that I’m interested in is considerably longer, and would take all day to write out, so I’ll spare you that one. I’ll be posting updates and hammer prices during the sale as well, so make sure to follow me on twitter if you can’t attend the sale or watch the video feed but want to know how everyone does.

6 replies »

    • My list of horses that I like is probably almost 35+ strong. I just couldn’t highlight them (for obvious reasons lol) but I figured that I’d showcase some names that most people will recognize.


  1. Do you have another “off the record” yearling you really like? One of those on the longer list you don’t want to share. ;P What do you know??


    • Oh yeah, I’m a huge fan of HIP 105. She’s a Galileo filly out of a mare from the family of Shakespeare and Perfect Shirl. She’ll likely go to whomever wins the bidding war between Coolmore and Japan.