Juddmonte continue bold buying mode to secure prime lots
Three promising fillies and a colt snapped up during Monday's session
Even though the bloodstock and property holdings of juggernaut Juddmonte Farms have been somewhat pared down under a long-term consolidation plan, Prince Khalid Abdullah’s operation remains in a bold acquisition mode for prime prospects in the American market.
Juddmonte turned away all challengers for three promising fillies and a colt during the initial session of the Saratoga selected yearling sale on Monday with American manager Garrett O’Rourke reporting that he was able to secure every individual he sought.
“They look like racehorses, they’re bred like racehorses—they’re all Classic-looking types. That’s the goal of the operation, to keep the legacy going,” O’Rourke said after spending $2.1 million on the quartet topped by a $750,000 Curlin filly.
“The fillies might be ultimate mates for Arrogate if they can prove themselves worthy of his iconic status,” he added with a laugh.
The dark bay Curlin filly, led into the ring as Hip 34, was produced by the Bluegrass Cat mare Purple Cat, a half-sister to Grade 1 winner Sky Diva and to Grade 1-placed stakes winner Quick Little Miss. She also claims Grade 1 winner Pure Clan in her female family.
Just three hips after he signed for the Curlin filly, O’Rourke was back in action when acquiring a bay Pioneerof The Nile filly out of the Grade 3-placed Tapit mare Rashnaa for $575,000 from the Taylor Made Sales Agency draft.
After the session began, O’Rourke haltered a Congrats filly out of stakes winner and producer Maple Syrple, by American Chance. Offered as Hip 5 by St George Sales, agent, that filly is a half-sister to Prix Daphnis winner Golden Century and to multiple American stakes winner Maple Forest.
The sole colt in the Juddmonte collection was Hip 12, a son of freshman sire Orb out of the Grade 3-placed Midnight Bliss, by Midnight Lute, who was presented by Lane’s End, agent.
“It’s just coincidence that what we really liked happened to come up early in the sale. Oftentimes when that happens, you’re not lucky enough to land them all. But sometimes you get brave early in the sale, when everyone else is a bit jittery, and it can pay dividends,” O’Rourke said.
While Juddmonte has been working with Bob Baffert on building up its American racing stable - with champion Arrogate the star of that program - O’Rourke said Prince Khalid would decide who will train the new group of yearlings.
Even though he was successful in his bidding forays, O’Rourke described the auction action as heated on a night that yielded increases in average and median prices and a decline in buybacks compared to the same session in 2016.
“It’s competitive,” he said. “We valued them and we went in, but there were three of them that we landed right on our last bid.”