Topped by an $8.2 million filly that sold on Wednesday, Kentucky-based stallions and breeders had a remarkable Book 1 of the 2019 Keeneland September Yearling sale.
Through the first three days of the Sept. 9-22 sale, 20 yearlings brought winning bids or $1 million or more, with everyone of them bred in Kentucky, with seven topping the $2 million mark.
When a colt by Curlin sold for $4.1 million on Tuesday, he set a high-water mark that was thought to be hard to surpass. But when hip No. 498 came into the ring on Wednesday, the daughter of Triple Crown winner American Pharoah quickly eclipsed that mark with the bidding jumping in $200,000-$300,000 increments, finally ending at $8.2 million when Mandy Pope outbid B. Wayne Hughes and Godolphin (see video of the filly in the ring below).
The price was the highest ever paid for a filly at the sale and the fourth-highest all time for any horse. Bred by Clarkland Farm, the filly is out of Leslie’s Lady, making her a half-sister to multiple champion Beholder, 2019 leading sire Into Mischief, and Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1) winner Mendelssohn.
“I don’t have any words,” said Clarkland’s Fred Mitchell. “It’s something we haven’t seen in many years, especially for a filly to top the sale. It’s unreal. When I watch her compared to Beholder and Mendelssohn growing up, it looked like she had Beholder’s sprinting speed in her because when the other fillies came to her out in the field and were running, she was like ‘I’ll see ya’ and had another gear. She’s just been special since Day One.”
Sheikh Mohammed’s Godolphin was plenty busy on the top end of Book 1, securing the second through fifth most expensive yearlings through the ring. Curlin’s aforementioned $4.1 million colt, out of the champion sprinter Bounding, sold on Tuesday from the Stonestreet bred and raised program. Also on Tuesday, hip No. 258, consigned and bred by Airdrie Stud, brought a top bid of $2.9 million. The War Front colt is out of Airdrie’s Kentucky Oaks (G1) winner Believe You Can.
Godolphin had the sales-topper of Monday’s session when they secured hip No. 75, a son of Tapit, for $2.5 million. Consigned by Hinkle Farms, the gray/roan colt is out of Seeking Gabrielle and is a half-brother to 2-year-old champion and Kentucky Derby (G1) winner Nyquist. Godolphin also went to $2.15 million for hip No. 138 on Monday. Another Stonestreet-bred colt, he is by Medaglia d’Oro and first foal out of Grade 1 Santa Margarita S. winner Tara’s Tango.
Rounding out the $2 million-plus lots were hip No. 519, a Pioneerof the Nile colt that went to E-Five Racing for $2.1 million. Taylor Made Sales agency consigned the colt out of Magical World and a half-sister to the undefeated multiple Grade 1 winner Guarana and current top 2-year-old filly Magic Dance; and hip No. 485, a Gainesway-consigned Empire Maker filly that brought $2 million from agent Shawn Dugan. The filly, out of Lady Pewitt, is a half-sister to last year’s 2-year-old champion filly Jaywalk.
After taking a break on Thursday, the Keeneland sale resumes with the first day of Book 2 on Friday.