SHEIKH Mohammed's Godolphin continued its dominance of the Keeneland September Yearling Sale during Tuesday’s second session by purchasing the day’s two highest-priced yearlings.
Godolphin spent $4.1 million on a Curlin colt out of New Zealand champion sprinter Bounding, who is the most expensive September Sale yearling since 2010. Godolphin also took home a War Front colt out of Kentucky Oaks winner Believe You Can for $2.9 million.
Through the first two sessions of the September Sale, Godolphin has acquired six yearlings for $13.25 million, among them the four highest-priced yearlings so far in the sale. They include Monday’s session-topper, a $2.5 million Tapit colt who is a half-brother to champion and Kentucky Derby winner Nyquist and a Medaglia d’Oro colt out of Grade 1 winner Tara’s Tango for $2.15 million.
Bloodstock agent Anthony Stroud, who signed the tickets for Godolphin’s purchases, explained Sheikh Mohammed’s strong participation in the September Sale.
“The love of horse racing and the hope of finding a champion,” Stroud said. “He loves this sport, he loves coming to America and he loves Keeneland – all those things. That’s why he’s doing what he’s doing.”
Godolphin outbid Coolmore to acquire the top seller, the most expensive yearling sold at public auction anywhere in the world in 2019.
“It makes me feel better, because they’re so talented at what they do,” Stroud said about Coolmore. “I think it’s a huge compliment that they liked the horse because they’re a great group of people and they buy wonderful horses.”
On Tuesday, five yearlings brought $1 million and more to increase the total number of seven-figure horses sold during the first two sessions to 12.
Keeneland sold 109 yearlings for a grand sum of $49.15 million, for an average of $450,917 and a median of $375,000. Through the first two sessions of the auction, a total of 216 horses have sold for $95.4 million, for an average of $441,579 and a median of $350,000.
The session-topping $4.1 million Curlin colt is the first foal out of 2014 champion New Zealand sprinter Bounding, by Lonhro. He is the September Sale’s most expensive horse since Besilu Stables went to $4.2 million to acquire Mr Besilu in 2010.
“A lovely well-balanced horse from a good farm; we liked him very much,” Stroud said. “He was just a wonderful mover and had athleticism.”
The colt was consigned by Eaton Sales, agent for Stonestreet Bred & Raised. Stonestreet bought Bounding for more than $1.3 million at the 2016 Magic Millions Gold Coast National Broodmare Sale in Australia.
The $2.9 million son of War Front is the third foal out of millionaire Believe You Can, a daughter of Proud Citizen who was bred and raced by former Kentucky Governor Brereton C. Jones. He consigned the colt, a half-brother to stakes winner Believe in Royalty, in the name of his family’s Airdrie Stud, agent.
“Sheikh Mohammed really liked this horse,” Stroud said. “It was a great deal of money. He is obviously by a great stallion and from a Grade 1 mare. He is bred right by a fantastic stud farm, and he has the conformation to suit. We thought he was a really, really good horse.
“(Other bidders) pushed us all the way,” Stroud said. “Hopefully, he will prove well worth it, but (the price) was more than we anticipated. (The price) shows the market is buoyant at the top. There is a demand for good horses.”
Sheikh Hamdan's Shadwell Estate acquired fillies by Curlin and War Front for $1.05 million and $1 million, respectively.
Godolphin struck early Tuesday by going to $1 million to purchase a Union Rags filly who was the sixth horse in the ring. She is a half-sister to 2019 Black-Eyed Susan winner and Grade 1 runner-up Point of Honor and to Wicked Whisper, a recent juvenile winner at Saratoga in her career debut.
“She has been bought for America, to race here,” Stroud said. “Sheikh Mohammed wants to buy some fillies to race in America. She fits the bill: well bred, very athletic and a nice filly. We’re very pleased. (Her active family) helped. She is a good easy mover with a good pedigree coming from a good farm.”
The September Sale continues until Sunday, September 22nd.