Tapit mare in foal to Curlin tops day four of November Sale
Tension, consigned by Hill 'n' Dale, sold to Woodford Thoroughbreds
Tension, a young daughter of leading sire Tapit in foal to prominent sire Curlin lit up the Keeneland November bid board during the late stages of the fourth session on November 10, going for $750,000 to Woodford Thoroughbreds.
Consigned as Hip 1175 by John Sikura's Hill 'n' Dale Sales Agency and sent through the ring during the final 15 minutes of the lengthy session, the five-year-old mare is out of Tough Tiz's Sis, a daughter of Tiznow whose eight wins included the Ruffian Handicap and Lady's Secret Stakes (both Grade 1 contests) en route to earnings of $903,792. Tension is a half sister to Grade 2 winner and track-record setter Tiz Midnight.
The marbled grey, who topped the second session of Book 2, was bred in Kentucky by Karl Watson and Paul Weitman.
"There wasn't much not to like about her," said Woodford's Matt Lyons. "She was a beautiful mare, maybe one of the best-looking mares in the whole sale, in foal to Curlin who has become an important sire. Hopefully she can make babies that look like herself.
"When the pretty ones walk in that look like that and they're in foal to a top sire, you expect to pay that much. We knew there were people sitting around here waiting so we knew it was going to be competitive."
Woodford Thoroughbreds led all buyers Friday with four purchases totaling $1.27 million.
Sikura was euphoric in his description of the mare, who surpassed expectations in the sale ring.
"She was as good looking mare you put together - a magnificent specimen," the horseman said. "It was the perfect recipe: a young foal in foal to Curlin on a first service, by Tapit and absolutely gorgeous. She's a standout mare and exceeded expectations."
Sikura said the mare's price was a reflection of the strong demand at Keeneland for the best offerings.
"Everything that is put forward that is the best, you get extra," he said. "That's the market reality and she was certainly on everyone's lists.
"She was unraced and we had some mares that were up earlier that were Group winners and we thought she would stand out in this sale," Sikura said of the mare's placement in Book 2.
"There is money here all week - Book 1, Book 2, Book 3. There is an educated and sophisticated group of people that buy horses here and whether they buy on Monday, Wednesday or Friday doesn't make any difference. They are judging the value of the horse, not what day, and they are here for the duration."
Increases across the board
Brisk commerce drove double-digit increases in gross sales and average and median prices during Friday's fourth session of the Keeneland November Breeding-Stock Sale.
During the session, the second of the two-day Book 2, Keeneland sold 230 horses for a total of $28,327,000, marking a 33 per cent increase in gross sales from the fourth session last year when 220 horses brought $21,280,500. The average of $123,161 rose 27 per cent from $96,730 in 2016. The median of $90,000 was up 20 per cent from last year's $75,000.
"The figures were very positive today," said Geoffrey Russell, director of sales operations at Keeneland. "The most popular horses were young, good-looking mares that were well covered. Obviously the American Pharoah foal was of exceptional quality and was rewarded. The entire day from start to finish had great buzz and good bidding. Book 2 was a success. On to Book 3."
Through the first four days of the sale, Keeneland sold 660 horses for $144,097,000, am 8 per cent decrease from $155,833,500 for 695 horses sold during through the corresponding period in 2016. The average of $218,329 was 3 per cent below last year's $224,221, while the median of $130,000 was 4 per cent above $125,000 in 2016.
The second high-priced American Pharoah weanling sold for $375,000 to Chestnut Valley. Paramount Sales, acting as agent, consigned the son of the Giant's Causeway mare Meerkat Miss, a half-sister to European champion Hold That Tiger and Belmont Stakes winner Editor's Note.
Two mares sold for $425,000 apiece on Friday. Spendthrift Farm paid the amount for Airs, a daughter of Harlan's Holiday and a sister to Japanese Group 2 winner Albiano in foal to Union Rags.
Columbine Stable paid $425,000 for Indian Brava, a five-year-old stakes-placed daughter of Bernardini in foal to Runhappy. Burleson Farms, acting as agent, consigned the mare, a half-sister to stakes winner Way Striking from the family of Grade 1 winner By Land By Sea and Grade 3 winners Covey Trace and Ghost Hunter. She is out of stakes winner Indian Way, by Indian Charlie.
Paramount Sales was the session's leading consignor, selling 26 horses for $3,154,000.
The November Sale continues through November 18, with all sessions beginning at 10am ET.
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