By Sarah Mace
The connections of yearlings selected to sell in the opening book of Keeneland’s celebrated September yearling sale are entitled to have high expectations. This year, at the 80th renewal of the auction, a trio of New York-breds shone brightly in that spotlight. The two sessions comprising Book 1, which took place Monday and Tuesday, September 11 and 12, also produced a feather in the cap for Dr. Jerry Bilinski’s Waldorf Farm in North Chatham, where all three yearlings were foaled. Pine Ridge Stables, LTD was the breeder of two of the three New York toppers.
The diverse group of buyers shopping for top-flight yearlings from Book 1 settled on Hip 355 as the pick of the New York-bred offerings: a chestnut colt by Candy Ride (ARG) bred by Joe Fafone who was purchased by Albaugh Family Stables / Barry Berkelhammer, Agent for $525,000 in Tuesday’s second session. Consigned by Peter O’Callaghan’s Woods Edge Farm, Agent, the February 8, 2022 colt was a graduate of Keeneland’s November Breeding sale last year, where he brought $250,000 from Cavalier Bloodstock.
The Candy Ride colt’s dam, Sweet Love, by Any Given Saturday, is a full sister to graded stakes winner Adventist, who banked $661,130 in earnings from 50 starts. Three more of Sweet Love’s half-siblings are stakes winners: Dijeerr, by Danzig, a multiple group winner in England; Isn’t He Clever, a multiple stakes winner and graded stakes performer; and stakes winner and graded stakes performer Sharp Writer.
Sweet Love, who was unraced, has already produced three winners from three foals to start. In 2023 she foaled a colt by Bolt d’Oro, and she was bred this year to Epicenter. In her only appearance at public auction, the mare sold to Herbert A. Guy Bloodstock for $50,000 at the 2015 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky October yearling sale.
Keeneland’s second session also saw the top-priced New York-bred yearling filly change hands: a dark bay or brown individual by Munnings bred by Pine Ridge Stables, LTD who went to West Bloodstock, Agent for Repole Stable, for $350,000 (Hip 219). Offered, like the top colt, by Woods Edge Farm and foaled on February 28, 2022, she is the third foal out of Magic Mischief, whom Pine Ridge acquired at the 2019 Keeneland November Breeding Stock sale for $250,000. An unplaced runner, the mare did not produce a foal in 2023 and has been bred to Epicenter.
Magic Mischief is a half-sister to Temple City, by Dynaformer, a graded winner who set a track record at Del Mar and has multiple additional graded stakes placings. Another half sibling is stakes placed in Panama.
The sale filly’s third dam is Macoumba, by Mr. Prospector, a Group 1 winner in France who is a half-sister to Group 1 winner and sire Septieme Ciel as well as two more stakes winners, and has produced ten winners, several of whom are stakes producers.
Like the top colt, this filly was well-received when unveiled as a weanling at last year’s Keeneland November sale, bringing $230,000 from Bolter Bloodstock.
Completing the trio of New York-bred yearlings in Book 1 is a colt also bred by Pine Ridge Stables, LTD. Unveiled for the first time at Keeneland September early in Monday’s opening session of the sale as Hip 4, the dark bay or brown youngster by Justify was purchased by Hartley/De Renzo Thoroughbreds for $275,000.
Foaled on April 19, 2022 like the other two Book 1 success stories at Waldorf Farm, and consigned by Paramount Sales, Agent LXV for his sale debut, he is out of Whisper Wisdom, by Rockport Harbor, a three-time winner in her own right and a half-sister to Grade 1 Cigar Mile hero, millionaire and top-five third crop sire Connect. Third dam Barkerville is s stakes winner and multiple stakes producer.
Whisper Wisdom has produced three starters, led New York-bred winner Curlin’s Wisdom, runner-up in last year’s Empire Classic Stakes at Belmont at the Big A and an earner of over $440,000 to date. Whisper Wisdom is represented by a filly by Uncle Mo this year, and has been bred to Curlin.
The Keeneland Sale continues this week with Book 2, consisting of a pair of sessions on Wednesday and Thursday, September 13 and 14. Friday, September 15 will be a dark day before the auction resumes on Saturday, to continue uninterrupted until Saturday, September 23.