Hinkle in heaven as he sells Nyquist half-sister to Godolphin for $1.75m
John Gosden signs the docket for the daughter of War Front
He didn't recall the exact date, but the year rolled off Tom Hinkle's tongue without hesitation.
"In 1985 I sold a Danzig colt for $1 million. That's the last horse we sold for a million," the owner of Hinkle Farms said from the back ring of the Keeneland sales pavilion on Tuesday, adding with a grin, "That's a long time between drinks."
Thanks to exploits of a filly he called "a star since the day she was born," Hinkle won't have to dig back 33 years the next time he is asked about the last million-dollar baby to come through his team's care.
The second session of the Keeneland September Yearling Sale provided a score that was a longtime coming for one of the most respected farms in the Bluegrass.
A War Front half-sister to champion and Classic winner Nyquist went to representatives of Godolphin for $1.75 million to become the highest priced filly to sell during the first two days of the bellwether auction, becoming the most lucrative horse Hinkle Farms has ever put through the ring.
"We were expecting her to sell well, but you don't ever expect that," Hinkle said of the filly his farm bred and consigned. "We were just very fortunate, and she was a lovely filly.
"She's going to a great place and she'll have the best opportunity she could possibly have. She has such a good mind and she came up here and she was just perfect."
The thoroughbred marketplace has rarely failed to reward the young and beautiful. Consigned as Hip 389 out of the Forestry mare Seeking Gabrielle, the War Front filly was just that and then some -making her a standout in the select Book 1 portion of the catalogue.
Seeking Gabrielle herself is out of the Graded stakes winning mare Seeking Regina and is a half-sister to graded stakes winner and Grade 1 producer Seeking the Sky.
"[The price] was very strong, but when you're buying that filly of that absolute quality - by a great stallion that is a half-sister to a Kentucky Derby winner - it's exactly what you would expect to pay to race and to be a broodmare," said trainer John Gosden, who signed the ticket on behalf of Godolphin.
Developing his farm's broodmare band has been Hinkle's primary focus since the 1980s.
When he spotted Nyquist as a weanling at the 2013 Keeneland November Breeding Stock Sale, he fell in love with the baby enough to pay $100,000 for his dam when she sold one hip after her foal.
"We bought the mare because he was such a lovely horse," Hinkle said. "The mare gets really nice foals. She's a sweetheart. I guess she gets to live in my living room now."
Seeking Gabrielle foaled a Tapit colt this year and was bred back to Uncle Mo.
"Like all of our horses, [the War Front filly] is a homebred and we just do our own horses," Hinkle added. "We couldn't be any more blessed and thankful. Tonight maybe we'll put our feet up and have a glass of wine and enjoy."
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