Hunt for heirs to the transatlantic Daddy dominates first week of sale
Everyone wants a stake in final crop of late Ashford sire
Even though he has been dead for nearly two years, Scat Daddy has loomed as a mighty presence at the Keeneland September Sale, with some of the world's most potent buyers paying scrambling to purchase yearlings from his final crop.
Through the first four sessions, making up Books 1 and 2, more yearlings by Scat Daddy – 42 – had been sold than by any other stallion, at an average price of $366,071 and a gross of $15,375,000.
That turnover ranked below only top American sire Tapit, whose 16 yearlings to sell grossed $15.85 million. And the average was more than ten times the $35,000 fee Scat Daddy commanded in 2015 when Tapit standing at $300,000.
Leading the requiem for the late Coolmore stallion, MV Magnier attested to what Scat Daddy has come to mean in a few quiet but powerful words.
That turned out to be the highest price for one of the stallion's yearlings, but Magnier added four more to the Coolmore fold at total expenditure of $2.775 million.
Sheikh Mohammed's organisation, which brought an unequivocal end to its "boycott" on Tuesday when buying four yearlings by active Coolmore stallions, also paid a total of $2 million for two Scat Daddy colts and one filly.
"They were all nice, that's why we had a go on them," said Anthony Stroud, who has been part of the Godolphin team here. "He's an outstanding stallion, and has done incredibly well in Europe and North America."
And when Hip 449 entered the ring, auctioneer Cris Caldwell urged buyers to sit up and pay attention to the colt. "When the sale is over, you're going to be sorry [if] you didn't buy a Scat Daddy," he exhorted – before Magnier duly prevailed for that colt at $275,000.
Kerri Radcliffe of Phoenix Thoroughbreds, who has been on a transatlantic crusade seeking top young horses for the fledgling operation, described herself as having a "love affair with Scat Daddy."
On Thursday, the final day of Book 2, Radcliffe spent $1 million for a bay filly by the stallion out of the stakes-placed Ghostzapper mare Beloveda, acclaiming that yearling as the most outstanding in the sale. "I wasn't going home without her," she said. Earlier in the week, she went to $950,000 for a chestnut Scat Daddy colt from the family of Group 1 winner Hawkbill.Acapulco for $200,000 "on spec," while juggernauts such as Don Alberto Corp and China Horse Club, with its WinStar-affiliated partner Maverick Racing, also featured among buyers.
By the end of Book 2, Keeneland Director of Sale Operations Geoffrey Russell declared that "Scat Daddy rules the roost: he is the man."
By American and European champion Johannesburg, Scat Daddy was based at Coolmore's Ashford Stud in Kentucky, shuttling to Chile for three years and proving a sensation in that country too. He had earned his place at Ashford by winning the Grade 1 Champagne Stakes at two and the Florida Derby victory at three for Todd Pletcher, who bought him as a yearling for $250,000 on behalf of James Scatuorchio.
No Nay Never, winner of the Prix Morny, is now representing his sire at Coolmore in Ireland, where Ryan expects Caravaggio also will eventually retire – although Magnier said a decision on that colt's future will not be made until the end of this year.
Ryan anticipates that any new Scat Daddy star to emerge for Coolmore among his final colts would probably stand in America to continue his legacy there, Ryan said. One potential candidate could be two-year-old Curragh maiden winner Mendelssohn, who topped last year's Keeneland September sale at $3 million and is a half-brother to champion Beholder and successful young sire Into Mischief.