By Sarah Mace
Friday, the designated “dark day” at the marathon Keeneland September Sale, gave the team at Keeneland Sales an opportunity to celebrate a successful opening week, which saw four sessions of trading spanning Books 1 and 2 of the catalogue. As we have come to expect, the opening books of this auction feature the most elite and coveted offerings and boast the classiest pedigrees and best physicals. In a bloodstock market that continues to be polarized, with fierce competition at the top end, no fewer than 30 of the 1,100 yearlings catalogued fetched seven-figure price tags over the past four days.
Typically, New York-bred participation in the Keeneland yearling auction is weighted toward the latter books of the catalogue. For example, this year, before outs, 11 Empire State-bred yearlings were catalogued in Books 1-2; a total of 31 will go through the ring next week in Books 3-4 (September 17-20); and 44 are slated to be sold in Books 5-6 (September 21-24). In recent years, however, it has also become customary for a handful of outstanding New York-breds to leave their mark on the “elite” first two books of this sale, and this year is no exception.
Topping this year’s New York cohort and selling in Session 1 of Book 1 was a colt by Into Mischief with familiar connections: a bay bred by Chester and Mary Broman out of their multiple Grade 1-winning homebred Artemis Agrotera. Peter Brant’s White Birch Farm paid $450,000 to purchase the February 11 colt, who was offered by Sequel New York, Agent as Hip 140.
The progeny of Artemis Agrotera are third-generation Broman homebreds, and have been hot commodities at auction. Stakes winner Chestertown, by Tapit, shattered records at OBS March in 2019 with a $2,000,000 price tag. Rule Breaker, a full-brother to the sale colt, brought $1,000,000 at the same auction in 2022. All three of Artemis Agrotera’s progeny to race are winners. Barren in 2022 after being covered by Curlin, the mare was bred this year to Essential Quality.
Repole Stable & St. Elias Stables went to $270,000 to take home the top-selling New York-bred yearling of Book 2, also an Into Mischief colt. Offered as Hip 516 by Taylor Made Sales Agency, Agent XLVII, the grey/roan colt issues from an eye-catching immediate family.
Bred by Pine Ridge Stables LTD and foaled at Jerry Bilinski’s Waldorf Farm in North Chatham on March 21, 2021, the colt’s dam is Whisper Wisdom, a multiple winner by Rockport Harbor. She is a half-sister to Grade 1 Cigar Mile winner and successful Lane’s End sire Connect, as well as to multiple stakes winner Tani Maru. The colt’s third dam is Barkerville Belle, a producer of four stakes winners. With one winner from two starters, Whisper Wisdom produced a Justify colt in 2022 and was bred this year to Uncle Mo.
Keeneland’s Book 2 saw an additional pair of New York-bred colts bring six figures. Hip 531, a chestnut colt by Vino Rosso bred by T/C Stable and foaled on May 8, 2021 at John McMahon’s Old Saratoga Equine Services in Schuylerville, was purchased—like the Book 2 New York topper—by the partnership of Repole Stable & St. Elias Stables. The $185,000 colt is out of Alluvial Gold (IRE), a placed runner who has produced three winners from five foals to start, including a graded-stakes-placed runner in France. The colt’s second dam is stakes winner Sneaky Quiet.
Pine Ridge Stables LTD struck again with Hip 772, a dark bay or brown American Pharoah Colt purchased by Oracle Bloodstock, Agent out of the consignment of Paramount Sales, Agent XXXIII for $150,000. Foaled at Waldorf Farm on March 28, 2021, he is out of Possessive. The mare is an unplaced daughter of Bernardini who is a half-sister to Klimt, by Quality Road, winner of the Grade 1 Del Mar Futurity and Darby Dan Farm sire before relocating this year to Turkey.
The top selling New York-bred yearling filly of the first four sessions was Hip 787, a daughter of Audible who sold on Thursday to Jonathan Dean from the consignment of Taylor Made Sales Agency, Agent CXVI for $85,000. Bred by Newtownanner Stud and foaled on February 9, 2021 at Jack’s Farm on the Hill in Millbrook, the filly is the third foal out of stakes winner Rachel’s Temper, who earned over $400,000 for Newtownanner before retiring to the breeding shed. The filly’s third dam is stakes winner and multiple stakes producer Royal Setting, whose offspring have consistently earned black type though multiple generations.
Following Friday’s hiatus, the Keeneland September Yearling auction will resume with Book 3 on Saturday, Sept. 17 at 10 a.m. ET and continue daily through Sept. 24.