Dancing in the Rain: American Pharoah Yearlings Set To Shine at Keeneland
Triple Crown Winner’s Yearlings Continue to Impress Buyers at Public Auction
By Mary Perdue
Heavy rain over the weekend thanks to Tropical Depression Gordon, including a flash flood warning for central Kentucky, will delay the start time for first four sessions of the the annual Keeneland September Yearling Sale marathon for two hours, allowing prospective buyers additional time to inspect the youngsters on offer while also allowing everything and everyone to dry out a bit. Despite the delay, buyers and consigners alike are looking forward to the early sessions for a number of reasons, not the least of which are the expected high prices paid for the most well-bred and highly coveted Thoroughbreds from the previous year’s foal crop, including the first from 2015 Triple Crown winner American Pharoah.
Nearly 1,000 yearlings overall, including 59 by American Pharoah, have been cataloged in the first book, while an additional nine more from the initial crop of the 2015 Horse of the Year are set to be sold next weekend as part of the second book. The number of American Pharoahs offered represents nearly half of the entire foal crop he sired from his first year and so far in 2018, his offspring have commanded the highest average price at public auction in North America, with 15 total reported as sold for an average of $561,000.
American Pharoah will be represented by three of the first nine hips offered overall and in fact, the original 66 sons and daughters of the 2015 Horse of the Year initially consigned to the first book (before ‘outs’) represent the second-highest total for all sires, surpassed only by Uncle Mo, who had 67 consigned. To put the figure in perspective, elite sires Tapit and Medaglia D’Oro are represented by 44 and 48 yearlings in the first book, respectively.
The quality of American Pharoah’s first book of mares (with 45 percent stakes winners and 54 stakes-producing mares, according to the BloodHorse) and their resulting offspring is so high choosing which to highlight can be difficul, though following is a selection of some who definitely stand out:
Hip No. 1 – the very first yearling to step into the ring – is a filly named Envied and out of the out of the Irish-bred Halling mare Halljoy. By the time the bidding finally gets underway at 1:00 p.m. ET on Monday, it seems only fitting that the first one be from the first crop by the first Triple Crown winner the industry was graced with after a 37-year drought.
Hip No. 63 is a filly out of Ivanavinalot (by West Acre) and is a half-sister to two-time champion and Breeders’ Cup winner Songbird. The dark bay or brown lass was bred by Capital Bloodstock and is consigned by Eaton Sales, agent. Songbird herself sold for $9.5 million to Mandy Pope’s Whisper Hill Farm at Fasig-Tipton’s Kentucky Fall Mixed Sale last year.
Hip No. 87 is a colt out of stakes winner Khancord Kid (by Lemon Drop Kid) and a half-brother to millionaire and last year’s Breeders Cup Filly and Mare Sprint (GI) winner Bar of Gold. Another notable name in his female family is Yankee Gentleman. He was bred in New York by Chester and Mary Broman and is consigned by Sequel New York, agent.
Hip No. 115 is homebred colt for Machmer Hall out of unraced Layreebelle (Tale of the Cat), who hails from the same female family as Triple Crown winner Justify under the second dam Voodoo Lily. Nicknamed “Moses” by breeder Carrie Brogden of Machmer Hall, he was foaled a year before Justify ran his first race and also nearly died of a rare blood disease.
Hip No. 174 is a filly and the first foal out of stakes winner Maybellene (by Lookin at Lucky). The homebred for Clarkland Farm, whose broodmare band includes and 2016 Broodmare of the Year Leslie’s Lady, who is the dam of Beholder, Into Mischief and Mendelssohn (the 2016 Keeneland sale topper at $3 million). This filly also is from the star-studded female family of Elusive Quality, Ivory Wand, Truly Bound and Breeders Cup Juvenile (G1) winner Anees. Clarkland is a breed-to-sell operation and has been in the same family since the 1700s.
“We keep a filly every once in awhile,” Clarkland’s Fred Mitchell said, adding that he’s considering keeping one from Leslie’s Lady for the farm’s broodmare band someday. She is currently in foal to Not This Time and produced an American Pharoah filly in April. But, Mitchell adds with a smile, “They’re so valuable now it’s hard to keep them.”
Hip No. 298 is a colt out of Ponche de Leona (by Ponche) and a half-brother to 2013 Breeders Cup Classic (GI) winner Mucho Macho Man offered by Eaton Sales, agent.
Hip No. 306 is a filly out of Pretty ‘n Smart (by Beau Genius) and a half-sister to grade 1 winner Cupid and multiple graded stakes winner Heart Ashley. Pretty ‘n Smart also produced last year’s Keeneland September sales topper by Tapit, who sold for $2.7 million.
“We’re hoping this one sells as well as her foal last year,” Tom Gentry of VanMeter-Gentry Sales said. “But the mare has already produced a total of $8 million from her offspring already.”
The filly is the only American Pharoah yearling for the consignor in this sale, but they also offered a colt out of JZ Warrior at Fasig-Tipton in July, where failed to meet his reserve at $850,000. According to Gentry, that colt is being broken at Grand Oaks Farm in Ocala, FL, and may be offered at a 2-year old in training sale next year.
“Bob (Baffert) has looked at him a few times, so who knows what might happen?” Gentry added.
Hip No. 435 is a colt out of grade 2 winner Spice Island (by Tabasco Cat), who also is the dam of grade 1 winner Ice Box and from the female family of 1985 Horse of the Year and Kentucky Derby (GI) winner Spend a Buck. He is consigned by Denali Stud, agent.
Hip No. 444 is a colt and the second foal out of the Malibu Moon mare Star Sighting, who is a full sister to millionaire and multiple graded stakes winner Farrell. Consigned by Paramount Sales, agent, this filly’s second dam is Rebridled Dreams (by Unbridled’s Song), who is also the dam of grade 1 winner and freshman sire Carpe Diem.
Demand for American Pharoah yearlings is so strong that four in the first book of offerings are pinhooks from previous sales, selling for prices ranging between $250,000 to $500,000 as weanlings. These include:
Hip No. 179 is a colt out of unraced Meerkat Miss (by Giant’s Causeway), who is from the female family of European champion 2-year-old colt Hold That Tiger, as well as Belmont Stakes (GI) winner Editor’s Note. Bred by Gabriel Duignan, Windmill Manor, Liam Duignan and Tranquility Investments and consigned by Eaton Sales, agent, this colt sold for $375,000 as a weanling at Keenland in November.
Hip No. 818 is bay colt out of Dancing Trieste (by Old Trieste), who has already been named Good Fortune. He sold previously for $525,000 at Fasig-Tipton Kentucky Fall Mixed Sale. This colt is consigned by Taylor Made Sales, agent.
Keeneland will present live gavel-to-gavel coverage of every day of the sale at Keeneland.com. Full coverage of the sale will also be available Monday, September 10, and Tuesday, September 11, on TVG2 beginning at 1 p.m. ET and continues through the conclusion of the session.
Lady and the Track’s Mary Perdue will keep everyone posted on all things American Pharoah at public auction beginning with session 1 results on Monday.
Following are photos of some of the American Pharoah who will sell in the coming days: