Friday, September 15, 2017

Observations from the First Two Books of #KeeSept

The first four Keeneland September sessions are in the book with all Book 1 and 2 horses headed for their next adventures.
Spirits, and averages, were up at this year’s revamped early sessions of the sale with buyers opening their wallets wide to take home some new racing prospects. In this edition of the All Equine All the Time Observations series we have 10 points from you ranging from old stallions regaining the commercial spotlight to one of the most talked about boycotts in the industry seeming to be over with a changing of the guard.
Read on to see some of the things seen in this year’s Book 1 and 2 results.
Tapit – As is often the case at U.S. sales where he has horses cataloged, Tapit was the rockstar sire of the first two books. The stallion made a bit of history with his sales topper, a $2.7 million full sister to Cupid, who brought the highest price for a filly since 2008, with two other Tapits also being the second and third most expensive yearlings of the sale. Tapit led all sires in the first four sessions with an average of $990,625 for 16 sold, $624,554 higher than No. 2 Scat Daddy. The least expensive Tapit was a $275,000 full brother to champion Untapable while nine RNAed for between $285,000 and $1.05 million.
Tapit sired this year's Belmont Stakes winner in Tapwrit, his third Belmont winner in four years.

Averages –
The revamped Book 1 paid major dividends for Keeneland when the 145 yearlings to go through the ring (from 167 cataloged) averaged $570,263 with a median of $500,000 for 95 sold. The one session book was a change from the 607 horse three-day session of last year and the new look continued to pay off when it was time to switch to Book 2. Five yearlings sold for $1 million or more in Book 2 to take the total up to 13 overall, the most since the 2014 sale which clocked in at 13 as well. Those two years are beat by 2013, which had 18 yearlings sell for seven figures.
Of the 865 Book 2 horses to go through the ring after outs, 585 (67.6 percent) sold for a combined total of $142.47 million. Overall, all the numbers were up after the first two books, including the horses sold for $500,000 or more and the median. It looks like the revamped, more select offerings of Book 1 and 2 was a smart move with many buyers (and hopeful buyers) willing to open their wallets farther than normal, making for a stronger market.
Another test will come in the lower books when the big money isn’t flying around as much.  Last year’s Book 2 had about 200 hips more than this year and overall the sale had 341 cataloged (and one more session) than 2017 so comparing the summaries will be interesting. With less horses in the first books and throughout the sale, it’s very possible the quality overlooked in the bigger earlier books last year could have moved into Book 3 and later, attracting more money throughout the sale.
War Front – With Coolmore snapping up a lot of spots in War Front’s books over the last few years, they’ve been less actively chasing him in the sales ring and for the second straight year they haven’t signed the ticket on any of the stallion’s yearlings. While that could be worrying for consignors, as Coolmore was helping them earn large returns on their War Front yearlings in past years, they’ve also helped by making him popular with other buyers thanks to their racing successes.
Last year War Front had two $1 million+ yearlings at Keeneland September (both bought by Shadwell) and 12 yearlings selling between $500,000 and $900,000. This year, almost definitely helped in part by Coolmore’s Roly Poly winning two Group 1s, four different buyers spent seven figures on his offspring. His numbers between $500,000 and $900,000 have dropped a decent amount to seven but he also had two RNA above the $500,000 mark in the first four sessions of the sale.
WAR FRONT'S HIGHEST SELLING YEARLING 

While it’s been talked about quite a bit with Coolmore jumping on his bandwagon, there has been a big jump in mare quality for War Front in recent years, which should help his race results. Included in this crop of yearlings were offerings out of Grade 1 winners/placers or producers Iotapa (Afleet Alex), Theysken’s Theory (Bernardini), Moth (Galileo), Say (Galileo), Haka (Dynaformer), Charming (dam of champion Take Charge Brandi), Take Charge Lady (dam of champion Will Take Charge, granddam of Take Charge Brandi, ect), Refugee (Unaccounted For), Liscanna (Sadler’s Wells), and Quarter Moon (Sadler’s Wells.)
Shadwell - Shadwell was again an active buyer this year, purchasing 17 horses for an average of $733,824, two more than last year at a slightly higher average. All but one of their 17 purchases were colts with a bit of a mix between turf and dirt. They bought yearlings by 12 different stallions with Speightstown and War Front being the most popular at three each but Tapit bringing the most money with his colt out of Tiz Mis Sue bringing $2.5 million.
This varies a bit from 2016 when the operation bought yearlings by nine different stallions with two fillies and 13 colts. The most they spent that time was $1.9 million for a War Front colt, though they did go above $1 million for a War Front colt this year as well. This is their third year spending over $1 million to buy a War Front as they spent $1.45 million on the War Front filly Intisaar in 2015 as well.
Shadwell has had luck building their stallion roster from Keeneland purchases in the past. Their new stallion for 2018 is $2.2 million 2014 purchase Mohaymen and their new stallion for 2017, Tamarkuz bought for $325,000 at Keeneland September in 2011.
Giant’s Causeway – In impressive accomplishments of the sale, 20-year-old Giant’s Causeway had three offerings in Book with all three fillies selling for an average of $733,333. Only Tapit and War Front had a higher average than him in the book with both admittedly having more offerings. All three fillies were out of Grade 1 winners or producers with multiple Grade 1 winner Hollywood Story’s daughter bringing the highest price at $875,000 to Mayberry Farm. A full sister to Carpe Diem sold for $700,000 while Creative Cause and Destin’s full sister rounded out the trio at $625,000 when hammering down to M.V. Magnier.


Giant's Causeway
Through two books, Giant’s Causeway has had 20 go through the ring after outs at an average of $337,333 and median of $260,000 for 15 sold with all but two bringing six figures. The yearlings were conceived at an averaged fee of $85,000, nearly four times less than his average.
Scat Daddy – While people could have easily guessed Scat Daddy’s final crop was going to be well received at the sales, it’s doubtful they guessed how popular he’d be. The stallion had two yearlings co-top Fasig-Tipton’s Turf Showcase on Sunday before buyers moved to Keeneland. From his 10 to go through the ring on Monday, seven sold with all but one bringing at least $500,000.
Book 2 is where Scat Daddy really shined, however. Fifty-three went through the ring in the book with two breaking the seven figure mark and five others broke the $500,000 barrier with 21 leaving the ring unsold with 17 having six-figure final bids.
The quest seems to be on to find the Scat Daddy heir with 13 colts bringing $250,000 or more, including three signed for by M.V. Magnier. The fillies weren’t left out either with 13 selling for $250,000 or more including a $1 million yearling. Magnier also took home two of those offerings, a $500,000 half-sister to three stakes winners and a $400,000 filly out of a half-sister to Cowtown Cat.


Hip 328, out of the Cowtown Cat half-sister.
OXO Equine – Larry Best of OXO Equine made even more headlines this week when growing his already expensive band of yearlings and 2-year-olds. Best spent a combined $4.11-million on four yearlings with an average of $1,027,500. The relative newcomer to the sport again put down the most money on fillies with his two $1 million+ purchases being fillies by War Front and Medaglia d’Oro with the two colts he bought being in the mid six-figures. Best was a big supporter of Medaglia d’Oro at this sale, purchasing two by the sire.
Young Stallions – It was hard for young (under 10 years old) stallions to break into the $1 million club at Keeneland this week but Orb managed it when he had a $1 million colt sell on Wednesday. While he was the only one in the $1 million club from the younger generations, multiple managed to fit into the $750,000+ crowd with Will Take Charge being the second most popular stallion with a $975,000 half-brother to graded stakes winner Hunter O’Riley, Cairo Prince continuing his top notch sales season with a $900,000 colt, and the hot freshman sire Violence having an $850,000 full brother to stakes winner Buy Sell Hold all hitting the mark.


Buy Sell Hold
Most young stallions will be more represented in Book 3 and later with more of the established sires taking the spotlight the first four days of the sale. To find out who I think are some young sires to watch in coming sessions, you can read last weekend’s blog here.
Mike Ryan – Agent Mike Ryan played a big part in the lives of this year’s Kentucky Derby and Preakness winners and it looks like he’s searching for some horses to continue his Grade 1 trend in coming years. He purchased 19 horses ranging in price from $150,000 to $430,000 though he looks like he may be going after the Oaks now that he has the Derby victory on his resume with 14 fillies purchased in the first two books.
He looks to have gotten some big bargains, buying a filly out of Grade 1 winner Miss Shop for $430,000, a half-sister to grade 1 winner Killer Graces for $350,000, a filly out of a half-sister to Dreaming of Anna for $270,000, a half-sister to multiple Grade 1 winner Divisidero for $260,000, a half-sister to Grade 1 winner Decked Out for $250,000, a colt out of a half-sister to champion Judy the Beauty for $300,000, and a son of Breeders’ Cup Distaff winner Pleasant Home for $250,000.


Divisidero
The 19 horses averaged $292,368 with a median of $270,000 and a top price of $430,000. Based on pages alone, that looks like an impressive haul.
Godolphin – Goldolphin was missing longtime bloodstock adviser John Ferguson signing tickets at Keeneland September but that didn’t mean they were out of action. The global empire bought 17 horses for an average of $474,412.The most expensive of their purchased was an $800,000 Scat Daddy grandson of Group 3 winner Dress Rehearsal.
The new team grabbed some attention at the sale for buying seven yearlings by Coolmore sires, the first time they’ve bought Coolmore-sired horses at the Keeneland September Yearling sale since 2004 when they purchased yearlings sired by multiple stallions standing at Coolmore’s Ashford stud in Kentucky.

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