TENSION, a gray daughter of Tapit consigned as Hip No. 1175, sold to Woodford Thoroughbreds for $750,000 to top Friday’s fourth session of the Keeneland November Breeding Stock Sale.
“There wasn’t much not to like about her,” Woodford Thoroughbreds Vice President Matt Lyons said. “She is a beautiful mare, maybe one of the best-looking mares in the whole sale, and in foal to Curlin, who has become a very important sire. When the pretty ones walk in that look like that and they’re in foal to a top sire, you can’t say you expect to pay that much, but you can’t be surprised either.
“We knew sitting around here tonight that there were still people here waiting the same as we were, so we knew (bidding) was going to be competitive. The market is strong at the very top; the (weanlings) are bringing a lot of money; there’s a lot of confidence around here. People feel that the economy is going the right way and they’re ready to spend money. It’s great for our business; hopefully, it continues into next year’s sales and we can get on a bit of a roll here.”
The five-year-old mare is out of the multiple Grade 1-winning Tiznow mare Tough Tiz’s Sis, whose first registered foal is Grade 2 heroine Tiz Midnight.
The Kentucky-bred Tension, who was consigned by Hill ‘n’ Dale Sales Agency, agent, is believed to be in foal to Curlin on a March 1 cover.
“The perfect recipe: young mare, first service, in foal to Curlin, by Tapit and absolutely gorgeous,” John G. Sikura of Hill ‘n’ Dale noted. “She is a standout mare and exceeded expectations. Her reserve was very low. When you have the best, you get extra. That is the reality. She was certainly a mare on everybody’s list.
“Book 2 is a great place for her to stand out. There is money here all week for Books 1, 2 and 3. You will find foals selling for a couple hundred thousand (dollars). This is a sophisticated group of people who buy horses here.”
Hip 984, a colt from the first crop of Triple Crown winner and Horse of the Year American Pharoah, brought $575,000 from Scott and Evan Dilworth, LLC, to be the second highest-price on the day and overall top-priced weanling on Friday.
“He’s a very, very nice colt, first year for American Pharoah (weanlings), and we decided to take a shot,” Scott Dilworth said, referring to a group that intends to resell the colt at a future auction. “I thought he was the best American Pharoah weanling here, and he had a great female family – just a good combination. I thought he would be right in there (around that price). When you have a first-class horse, it should bring a first-class price.”
Consigned by Eaton Sales, agent for Grousemont Farm, the Kentucky-bred bay is out of the Grade 3-placed multiple stakes-winning Harlan’s Holiday mare J Z Warrior. That mare is a half-sister to Grade 1 heroine A Z Warrior, Grade 2 vixen Jojo Warrior and Grade 3 victor E Z Warrior.
“We are delighted with the price,” Eaton’s Reiley McDonald said. “He sold very well and I wish the new owners luck. American Pharoah is ‘a talking horse.’ Everyone I have seen has their daddy’s shoulder and their daddy’s hind end length. And apparently they all have the great disposition like their father. He is throwing just want you want to see and people are paying for it.”
For Friday, 230 horses sold for a total $28,327,000, an average of $123,161 and a median of $90,000. Those numbers represent increases of 33.1 percent, 27.3 percent and 20 percent over the corresponding session last year when 220 equines brought $21,280,500 for an average of $96,730 and a median of $75,000.
“The figures were very positive today,” Keeneland Director of Sales Operations Geoffrey Russell said. “The most popular horses were young, good-looking mares that were well covered. Obviously the American Pharoah foal was of exceptional quality and was rewarded. The entire day from start to finish had great buzz and good bidding. Book 2 was a success. On to Book 3.”
With four days in the books, 660 horses have been purchased for a gross $144,097,000, a drop of 7.5 percent over 2016 when 695 sold during the first four days for $155,833,500. The cumulative average of $218,329 fell 2.6 percent from last year’s $224,221 average by this point. The cumulative median shows an increase of 4 percent, from $125,000 in 2016 to $130,000.