Rival US auctions both have a Breeders' Cup winner to sell in November
Keeneland offering Lady Eli while Finest City heads to Fasig-Tipton
Two outstanding mares, both Breeders' Cup winners, are to go under the hammer at elite breeding stock sales in the United States later this year.
Following news that five-time Grade 1 winner Lady Eli will be offered for sale at Keeneland in November, on Wednesday it was announced that rival Lexington auction house Fasig-Tipton will add Finest City, the 2016 Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint winner, to their own sale the same month.
Finest City will be consigned by trainer Ian Steele Kruljac on behalf of owner Seltzer Thoroughbreds. She defeated seven Grade 1 winners on her way to Eclipse Award honours at Santa Anita last.
"Finest City has been a dream to care for," said Kruljac. "Her brilliance, durability, versatility and personality have given us a lifetime of memories. She has battled the best mares of her generation on any surface."
A five-year-old daughter of the late City Zip, Finest City is out of stakes performer Be Envied, who is also a multiple stakes producer. Her female family includes Grade 1-winning two-year-olds Burning Roma and Squander.
Finest City is scheduled to make her final bow in defence of her Breeders' Cup title at Del Mar, just before the sale.
"Finest City is a truly special offering," said Fasig-Tipton president Boyd Browning. "An Eclipse Champion and Breeders' Cup Champion with the looks and pedigree to match. We're honored that her connections have chosen our November Sale for such an exceptional racemare."
"It is an honour and a privilege to consign a mare of such calibre," said John G. Sikura, president of Hill 'n' Dale Farms. "Not only is she uniquely accomplished, winning Grade 1 races at two, three, four and five, but her courage exemplifies what we love about thoroughbreds. She is class personified and the best of the best."
Lady Eli capped off an undefeated juvenile season in the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf. Another undefeated season at three climaxed in the Grade 1 Belmont Oaks Invitational, after which she was worryingly sidelined for a year by laminitis. Nonetheless she bounced back last season, an impressive victory in the Grade 1 Flower Bowl Stakes setting up that agonising nose defeat in the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf.
First or second in all 12 career starts, Lady Eli has amassed earnings of $2,719,800 and is pointing back to the Breeders' Cup.
"The true joy of owning Lady Eli has been witnessing her impact on the multitude of industry members, racing fans and general public," said partners Sol Kumin and Jay Hanley of Sheep Pond Partners, referring to the mare's fairytale recovery from a life-threatening condition. "She has inspired the masses through her enormous heart and determination to persevere in the face of adversity. We thank all those that worked so hard to raise, nurture and heal her over her lengthy career. She is truly the horse of a lifetime."
The five-year-old daughter of Divine Park has already contributed twice over to Keeneland's reputation, as a graduate of sales there both as a yearling and as a two-year-old.