Cairo Prince Colt On Top at Keeneland Monday

By Jessica Martini

The Keeneland September Yearling Sale ticked along into its second week with the first of two Book 4 sessions Monday and a colt by hot young sire Cairo Prince bringing top price of $350,000 from bloodstock agent Mike Ryan.

In all during Monday’s session, 276 yearlings sold for $18,385,000. The average was $66,612 and the median was $50,000. There were 13 yearlings to sell for $200,000 or over.

The reformatted 2017 sale makes direct year-to-year comparisons difficult, but in the first Book 4 session in 2016, 275 yearlings sold for $15,036,900. The average was $54,680 and the median was $37,000. Two horses shared the session’s top price of $300,000. Eight horses sold for $200,000 or more.

“There was lively bidding everywhere and, as long as you didn’t set a high reserve, there was a lot of bidding on horses,” said Gainesway’s Brian Graves.

Ryan, who was a major presence during the weekend’s two Book 3 sessions, purchased the highest-priced lot during Monday’s first Book 4 session, going to $350,000 to secure a colt from the first crop of Cairo Prince (hip 2196). Out of Precious Princess (Horse Chestnut {SAf}), the gray colt is a half-brother to graded stakes winner and multiple Grade I placed Zipessa (City Zip). He was bred by G. Watts Humphrey, Jr. and Sally Humphrey and was consigned by Lane’s End. The in-demand Cairo Prince has had 27 yearlings sell at the September sale for a gross of $5,652,000 and an average of $209,333. His highest seller was a $900,000 colt (hip 391) purchased by Shadwell Estate Company, Ltd.

Monday’s session of the 12-day auction saw the emergence of a deeper bench of pinhooking buyers, largely shut out during a competitive first week of selling. Ocala horseman Nick de Meric, buying for end-user clients, as well as shopping for pinhooking prospects, was the listed buyer of three yearlings Monday, and five overall at the sale.

“I’ve got to be honest, we kicked up a lot of dust and vetted a lot of horses and haven’t got as many bought as we’d like,” de Meric said. “We actually have bought a few privately, which of course doesn’t show up on the summary and which probably makes a little more sense with all we’ve been doing. But it’s been double tough for us working folks. We’ve bought a few end-user horses and we have actually managed to get a few pinhooks. And we are a little ways from done yet.”

Although it’s been tough for him to buy horses, De Meric sees the strong September sale as a positive for the industry.

“You love to see a nice vibrant market because it shows quite an enthusiasm for the industry and for the product,” De Meric said. “Of course we hope that carries over when we are selling 2-year-olds. But overall, I’d say it’s been a very, very healthy buoyant market. It’s been great for the sellers.”

As the September sale marched into Book 4, de Meric said there were still plenty of quality offerings.

“You’ve got to sift through a few more to find the right ones,” he said. “But there are certainly plenty of athletic types left and it’s well worth doing the legwork. The density probably isn’t as high as in the earlier books, but you wouldn’t expect that it would be. They are still out there if you do the work.”

The Keeneland September sale continues through Saturday with sessions beginning daily at 10 a.m.

Glen Hill Looking for Dirt

Glen Hill Farm purchased the highest-priced filly during Monday’s session of the Keeneland September sale, going to $285,000 to secure a filly by GI Kentucky Derby winner Orb. Consigned by Claiborne Farm, the yearling (hip 2147) is out of stakes placed Maxinkuckee Miss (Langfuhr).

“She is a strong filly,” Glen Hill’s Craig Bernick said of the bay yearling. “She has some speed on her bottom side, but she looks like a two-turn filly. We got outbid on some yesterday for more money than that and I was probably at the end of my bidding on her, but I’m happy to have her. Hopefully I’m still excited about her next year.”

The yearling was Glen Hill’s fourth purchase of the auction and the quartet are all fillies. The group also includes a Union Rags filly (hip 1670) purchased for $250,000, an Into Mischief filly (hip 1470) purchased for $130,000 and a Candy Ride (Arg) filly (hip 1905) for $70,000.

“I am trying to buy some fillies that hopefully can run on the dirt,” Bernick explained. “Our best mares are turf mares and we’re breeding them to good stallions and we hope to produce some good turf horses. But we need to have some dirt horses. Two-thirds of the graded races in the country are dirt races and our homebreds are going to produce turf horses. So we’re trying to buy some fillies and, if they can run, they’ll be in the broodmare band. If they can’t, we have stallions we are trying to support and make and they can be bred to those horses and sort of moved on. We’ve bought four so far and we could potentially buy a couple more if we find horses we like. If not, we can try in October.”

Bernick agreed there were still plenty of people trying to buy horses as the Keeneland sale moved into its second week Monday.

“We were trying to buying horses earlier in the week and it seemed like there were a bunch of people buying at the top of the market who were more active than they’d been in the past,” he said. “That sort of carried over into later books. So it’s been a good sale and hard to buy horses. There are more people at the horse sales than go the races. You drive around Keeneland and you can’t park your car. When you go to the races there aren’t a lot of people there. I am usually at the races, so it’s a bit refreshing that there are so many people wanting to buy horses.”

Stormy Atlantic Colt a Score for Graves

Brian Graves of Gainesway admitted he was a little surprised when he was able to acquire a son of Stormy Atlantic for $4,000 at this year’s Keeneland January sale, but the colt rewarded his investors when he sold Monday at Keeneland for $210,000 to trainer Mark Glatt.

“I’m not sure why he didn’t bring more in January,” Graves said. “I went in there to give more. It was just one of those things. It was cold, it was early in the sale. And a few people that vetted him were up looking at horses on the hill and they came running down maybe two or three hips after he went through the ring. So it was just one of those things where there wasn’t a reserve and it went my way.”

Hip 2138 is out of the unraced Magically (Mr. Greeley). His second dam is stakes winner and GISP Handpainted (A.P. Indy), a full-sister to Canadian champion Serenading.

“He was always a big, mature horse with a really good walk and he finished out that way,” Graves said of the change in the yearling since January. “One peculiar thing that happened was that, when I bought him, he was a light chestnut color and by the time I had sold him, he had turned into a liver chestnut. And he was out of a Mr. Greeley mare, so he really started to look like a nice Mr. Greeley colt–just in color–and he had a nice pedigree.”

Graves continued, “And there was a big change in the marketplace for yearlings from last year to this year. I think that that made all the difference in the world.”

A Trio for Kirkwoods

Al and Sandee Kirkwood teamed up with Mark Glatt to win the GII Del Mar Derby with Blackjackcat (Tale of the Cat) last month and the trainer was in action at Keeneland over the weekend to buy the Washington-based couple their next crop of stars. Glatt purchased two yearlings on behalf of the Kirkwoods during Monday’s session of the September sale, going to $255,000 to secure a colt by Bernardini (hip 2156) and to $210,000 for a colt by Stormy Atlantic (hip 2138). The two colts join a Giant’s Causeway filly (hip 1573) purchased Saturday for $125,000.

Asked what type of horses the Kirkwoods are looking for, Glatt laughed, “Most importantly, they want a runner. Just like everybody else.”

He added, “They are primarily looking for horses who look like they have a chance to go two turns–horses whose pedigrees suggest they can go two turns.”

Hip 2156, bred by Dream Walkin’ Farms and consigned by Baccari Bloodstock, is the first foal out of Miss Dixie Cup (Giant’s Causeway), a half-sister to graded stakes winner Cactus Ridge (Hennessy).

“He is just a really smooth-walking horse,” Glatt said. “He’s great-looking and he had an excellent walk.”

Hip 2138, just a $4,000 purchase by Blue Sky Stables at this year’s Keeneland January sale, is out of Magically (Mr. Greeley), a daughter of Handpainted (A.P. Indy) and a half-sister to stakes winner and graded stakes placed Patena (Seeking the Gold).

“The Stormy Atlantic colt also had a really nice walk and he is a bit taller than most of the Stormy Atlantics that I’ve seen,” Glatt said.

The trainer admitted, “It’s been very difficult to buy. I’ve been here since Thursday, there was no sale Friday, but I bought one on Saturday. I think we’re probably done shopping [for the Kirkwoods], though there is a possibility we might buy something else if we see something.”


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