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KEENELAND JANUARY SALE: Dispersals fuel increases in numbers at Keeneland
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KEENELAND JANUARY SALE: Dispersals fuel increases in numbers at Keeneland
on 15 January 2021
Leo Powell reports on the first major test of the bloodstock market, the Keeneland January Sale

WHILE the global battled with the Covid-19 pandemic continues, the bloodstock market remains resilient.

This was seen during the week when Keeneland’s four-session January Horses of All Ages Sale ended with gross sales of more than $45 million, some $5 million more than in 2020 which was a five-day sale.

This year’s renewal was boosted by a number of prominent dispersals: 21 in-foal broodmares from Canada’s acclaimed Sam-Son Farm; 39 mares, yearlings and horses of racing age representing the complete dispersal of the estate of Paul Pompa Jr; and 41 mares, yearlings and horses of racing age which was the dispersal of Spry Family Farm.

The final figures showed that 963 horses sold for $45,522,100, producing an average of $47,271 and a median of $15,000. These were all increases on the same sale 12 months ago when 1,050 horses sold for $40,453,300, generating an average of $38,527 and a median of $13,000.

The Pompa and Sam-Son dispersals were responsible for the auction’s 11 highest prices and during Tuesday’s second session they each produced a horse which sold for the sale-topping price of $925,000. Gainesway Farm paid the amount for Danceforthecause, a daughter of Giant’s Causeway in foal to Twirling Candy, from Sam-Son. Meanwhile, Peter Brant’s White Birch Farm went to the same amount for the Animal Kingdom mare Regal Glory, a multiple graded stakes winner for Pompa.

Keeneland president and CEO Shannon Arvin said: “The continued stability of the market is a testament to the hard work of all our sales participants, who have adjusted their operations and their expectations to meet the challenges of this unprecedented time. The Sam-Son and Pompa dispersals are the legacies of two wonderful operations, and they infused a lot of positive energy into the January Sale. Dispersals are always bittersweet, but we are honoured that their families and connections entrusted Keeneland to present these dispersals and showcase their excellence.”

The sale was held with extensive Covid-19 protocols for the health and safety of participants. Consignors were able to post videos and photographs of their horses on the sale company’s website to assist remote buyers in evaluating the catalogue offerings. Those who did not attend could bid by internet or telephone. Via the internet, buyers purchased 109 horses for $3,106,900.

“This is our third sale during this uncommon time, and we thank our consignors, buyers and agents for their perseverance and for adapting to the changes we have had to make,” Keeneland director of sales operations Geoffrey Russell said. “Foals sold well, as did quality broodmares. As we’ve seen for quite some time, there is a competitive market for a nice horse.”

Coveted families

The Sam-Son dispersal offered coveted female families nurtured for generations by the multiple award-winning breeding and racing operation founded in 1972 by the late Ernie Samuel.

Six horses sold for $400,000 or more. Joining Danceforthecause in that group were Deceptive Vision, sold to Hill ‘n’ Dale for $900,000, Southern Ring who was purchased by Phil Schoenthal for Determined Stud at $875,000, Mythical Mission who was bought by Shimokobe Farm/Polo Green Stable for $575,000, Fun in the Desert selling to Hill ‘n’ Dale at Xalapa for $530,000 and Theatric who cost Greg and Caroline Bentley $400,000.

Sam-Son conducted a broodmare parade three days before the horses sold. “Keeneland was very good to us and the [Samuel] family was grateful for the show that was put on,” Sam-Son farm manager Dave Whitford said. “We could not have asked for better. We were very well received with people looking at our mares. We got a lot of compliments and were very pleased.”

Hill ‘n’ Dale at Xalapa’s two purchases from Sam-Son are half-sisters out of Canadian champion Eye Of The Sphynx. Deceptive Vision is an 11-year-old daughter of A.P. Indy in foal to War Front and is a full-sister to Canadian champion Eye Of The Leopard and stakes winners Hotep and Desert Isle. Fun In The Desert, a 10-year-old daughter of Distorted Humor, is the dam of Canadian champion Desert Ride. In foal to Candy Ride, she is carrying a full-sibling to that champion.

Determined

During the second session Phil Schoenthal, acting as agent for Determined Stud, included three lots from the Sam-Son and Pompa dispersals among the five horses they acquired through the ring for $2.12 million, making them the sale’s leading buyer. Their most expensive acquisition, Southern Ring, is a Grade 3-winning daughter of Speightstown in foal to Into Mischief. She is from the family of Canadian champion Catch The Ring.

Held during the second and fourth sessions of the sale, the Pompa dispersal included six horses that brought $500,000 or more. “Mr. Pompa’s programme has been meticulously managed and it shows,” Lane’s End sales director Allaire Ryan said. “It is nice to see the top agents and buyers giving these horses the respect they deserve. Mr. Pompa would be pleased.”

Moyglare purchase

Among the highest-priced Pompa horses was stakes winner Beautiful Lover, a five-year-old daughter of Arch sold to Fiona Craig for Moyglare Stud Farm at $650,000. A half-sister to Grade 2 winner Zivo, Beautiful Lover is scheduled to return to racing.

Phil Schoenthal and Determined Stud paid $570,000 for Off Topic, a five-year-old Grade 1-placed daughter of Street Sense consigned by Lane’s End as part of the Pompa dispersal. She is from the family of Grade 1 winners Miner’s Mark, Traditionally and My Flag.

They also spent $320,000 for Sustained, an 11-year-old graded stakes-placed daughter of War Front in foal to Connect. She is the dam of Grade 3 winner Turned Aside. The latter won the Listed Aqueduct Turf Sprint Championship in November and sold to West Point and DJ Stable for $725,000 during the final session.

Selling to BBA Ireland for $500,000 from the Pompa dispersal was sale-topping Regal Glory’s dam, Mary’s Follies, a 15-year-old daughter of More Than Ready. She also is the dam of Grade 3 winner Night Prowler and the Japanese Group 3 winner Café Pharoah.

Horses of racing age from the Pompa dispersal highlighted the final day of the sale. The session topper at $875,000 was Carillo, a three-year-old colt by Union Rags who won on his debut at Aqueduct just days before the sale. He was purchased by Lauren Carlisle who said the colt would resume his career with trainer Tom Amoss.

Rarity value

Other top sellers from the Pompa dispersal on the final day included the Grade 3 winner Turned Aside who realised $725,000. West Point’s Terry Finley said Turned Aside would be sent to trainer Mark Casse in Ocala, Florida.

Finley said: “I got to know Paul about 10 years ago. He was a kind and classy guy, and you never heard a cross word about Paul Pompa.

“I was a huge fan. We in the industry are heartbroken and sad that we don’t have Paul around anymore. We will do our best to sustain his legacy.”

The Spry dispersal was led by Sand Hill Stables’ purchase of the Maclean’s Music yearling colt Mac’s Prize on the opening day for $200,000. He is out of the Tapit mare Heavenly Tap, a half-sister to Grade 1 winner Instilled Regard and from the family of champion Heavenly Prize.

Acquiring seven horses for $1,654,000, Larry Best’s OXO Equine was second among buyers at the January Sale by spend.

Best purchased the three highest-priced yearlings: a colt by Munnings, who topped the opening session at $475,000, along with a $400,000 filly from the first crop of City of Light and a $320,000 filly by Speightstown.

Lane’s End was the sale’s leading consignor, selling 78 horses for $8,741,200.

One standout as Osarus turnover collapses

THE delayed Osarus National Hunt Sale at Maisons-Laffitte on Tuesday was never likely to challenge the results recorded when its equivalent was held in November 2019. Then Ganzo D’Airy and Indiana Jones sold for record sums of €300,000 and €280,000 respectively.

A third of this year’s catalogue did not appear, and the sale lacked any great quality. Indeed, the turnover fell by more than €2 million to just €471,000, and one lot contributed more than a quarter of the sale aggregate.

Grace A Vous Enki, a Grade 3-placed son of Dream Well, sold for €125,000 to bloodstock agent Joffret Huet. The Auteuil winner last February raced for the Papot family and he is a half-brother to last weekend’s Welsh Grand National placed Yala Enki.

Boosted by the debut victory of his half-brother Goodbye Stranger, a son of Kapgarde, for Nicky Henderson in a juvenile hurdle at Sandown last month, a yearling colt by Choeur Du Nord sold to Agence BHB for €30,000.

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