Friday, April 6, 2012

Part One: 2012 Keeneland April Two-Year-Olds In Training Sale

The Keeneland April Two-Year-Olds in Training Sale has produced several successful racehorses, including the champions Big Brown, Lookin’ At Lucky, and Thunder Gulch, as well as the grade one winners Haynesfield and Jersey Town. One hundred sixty-one juveniles were entered in the 2012 sale, down just eight horses from the 2011 sale. The sale, like any Keeneland auction, features many beautifully bred horses that have the potential to become champions.

As mentioned in the recent posts about the Fasig-Tipton Texas Tw0-Year-Olds in Training Sale, I love to study horses entered in sales, analyzing their pedigree, as well as their movement and conformation if possible. Unlike the Fasig-Tipton Texas sale for juveniles, I was not able to attend the under-tack show, which took placed on Thursday, April 5, for this Keeneland sale, but I did watch the video footage of it online. The sale will take place on Monday, April 9.

Listed below are the ten horses I was most impressed with, as well as some honorable mentions:

Hip #8: Medaglia d’Oro has emerged as a very prosperous sire, having produced the great champion Rachel Alexandra, as well as the grade one winners C S Silk, Champagne d’Oro, Gabby’s Golden Gal, Passion for Gold, Plum Pretty and Warrior’s Reward. One of five juveniles sired by Medaglia d’Oro entered in this sale, hip eight is out of the Easy Goer mare Kissing Gate, who has produced six winners from eight runners. Included in those winners is the multiple grade one-winning Magical Fantasy and the stakes-winning Forward Move. This colt is clearly out of a successful broodmare, who herself has a productive dam as well in Love’s Reward, a half-sister to the group one-winning Bassenthwaite. Every foal out of Love’s Reward that made it to the track was victorious, including the group one-winning Keen Hunter and the multiple group stakes-winning Altibr. Hip eight is bred on a cross similar to that on which the grade one-winning Champagne d’Oro is bred, being by Medaglia d’Oro and out of an Alydar granddaughter. This bay colt descends from female family four, which has produced the most Kentucky Derby winners, as well as the champions Man O’ War, Proud Spell, and Zenyatta.

Going an eighth of a mile in 10 2/5 seconds, hip eight displayed a powerful stride with perhaps a bit too much knee action. However, he covered much ground with his impressive drive and impulsion. Yet, he did change leads in mid-stretch, switching to the wrong lead.

Hip eight, consigned by Wavertree Stables, Inc. (Ciaran Dunne), agent, is engaged with the European Breeders’ Fund and is Breeders’ Cup-nominated.

Hip #18: It’s no secret that Unbridled’s Song is a force to be reckoned with in the breeding shed. The stud has sired several talented horses, including the brilliant grade one winners Midshipman, Octave, Thorn Song, Unbridled Elaine, and Unrivaled Belle. Due to his outstanding success as a sire, many top mares have visited him, including the grade one-winning Madcap Escapade. The mating between those two resulted in this colt, who is a half-brother to the grade one-winning Mi Sueno and the one million-dollar yearling purchase, California. His second dam, the multiple black type-winning Sassy Pants, in addition to producing Madcap Escapade, was the dam of the grade one-winning Dubai Escapade and the stakes-winning Real Estate. Hip eighteen hails from female family twenty-three, the same family that yielded the Hall of Famers Affirmed, Dance Smartly, Discovery, Tim Tam, and Two Lea.

In this colt’s one-quarter move at the under-tack show, hip eighteen covered two furlongs in a brisk 21 1/5 seconds. Though he carried his head a bit too high, this half-brother to Mi Sueno moved commandingly. However, I would have liked to see a higher lift to his shoulder and a flatter appearance to his knee.

Hip eighteen, consigned by Eddie Woods, agent XLVIII, is a Breeders’ Cup-nominated Kentucky-bred.

Hip #41: Broken Vow has offspring who have earned over $31 million altogether, including the grade one-winning horses Sassy Image and Unbridled Belle. He is the sire of hip forty-one, one of just two juveniles sired by Broken Vow in this sale. This colt is by the winning Tactical Advantage mare, Prime Advantage, whose three runners have all reached the winner’s circle. One of those winners is No Advantage, a multiple graded stakes winner. Hip forty-one not only comes from female family one, but is a direct descendant of the great broodmare La Troienne. Direct descendants of this influential mare include the Kentucky Derby winners Go for Gin, Sea Hero, Smarty Jones, and Super Saver, as well as the champions Busher, Caerleon, Easy Goer, Folklore, Mineshaft, Pleasant Tap, Prairie Bayou, Princess Rooney, Rhythm, and Woodman.

Hip forty-one moved with too much knee action for my liking and galloped erratically in the stretch. Nonetheless, he traveled authoritatively with remarkable drive while finishing his breeze in 10 2/5 seconds.

Hip forty-one, consigned by Wavertree Stables, Inc. (Ciaran Dunne), agent, is a Breeders’ Cup-nominated Kentucky-bred.

Hip #44: In 2010, a big gray mare named Unrivaled Belle galloped down the Churchill Downs homestretch to defeat two champions en route to a Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic (GI) victory. On April 9, her half-sister will waltz through the Keeneland sales ring. Unlike Unrivaled Belle, Beyond Belle is by the Belmont Stakes (GI)-winning champion Lemon Drop Kid, who has sired the grade one winners Richard’s Kid, Citronnade, Lemons Forever, Christmas Kid, and Santa Teresita. In addition to producing Unrivaled Belle, Beyond Belle’s dam, Queenie Belle, has produced Steven’s Being, an earner of over $100,000. Beyond Belle descends from female family fourteen, the same family that has produced the champions Artax, Orsini, Polynesian, and Skip Away.

This half-sister to Unrivaled Belle traveled powerfully in her one-furlong move, her legs eating up the ground. Her legs stretched out strongly and smoothly as her robust hindquarters thrust her forward with impressive impulsion, allowing her to maintain an attractive frame while traveling an eighth of a mile in 10 seconds flat.

Beyond Belle, consigned by de Meric Sales, agent, is a Breeders’ Cup nominated Florida-bred. She is my top filly selection in the sale.

Hip #69: By the sire of Union Rags in Dixie Union and out of a full sister to the graded stakes-winning Top Notch Lady, this bay colt is certainly bred well. His dam has also produced the graded stakes-winning Bittel Road of her two foals to make it to the track to date. The other horse out of Sultry Sal is a filly that has placed in one of two career starts. From the Dixieland Band sire line and out of a mare that hails from the Cox’s Ridge sire line, hip sixty-nine is similarly bred to the graded stakes-winning Hook and Ladder. This colt descends from female family three, most recently notable for producing the champions Havre de Grace, Midnight Lute, and Summer Bird.

This half-brother to Bittle Road was extremely impressive in his work, which impressed me even more than his pedigree. He covered the one-furlong distance in 10 1/5 seconds with a long, effortless stride, appearing very professional and efficient while thrusting with his hindquarters to drive him forward. He carried his head a bit too high but was still nonetheless a tremendous worker.

Hip sixty-nine, consigned by Wavertree Stables, Inc. (Ciaran Dunne), agent, is a Breeders’ Cup-nominated Kentucky-bred.

Hip #115: The late Lawyer Ron will only ever have two crops contest in races and fortunately, he already has a grade one winner in Drill, a colt who has graded stakes success in both his juvenile and sophomore careers. This colt is a full brother to Drill, being by the champion Lawyer Ron and out of a full sister to the graded stakes-winning Magic Storm in Cat Dancer, whose two foals who have made it to the track are both winners. By Lawyer Ron and out of a Storm Cat mare, hip one hundred fifteen is bred on the same cross as not only his full brother Drill, but the black-type winning Andrew’s Girl. His fourth and fifth dams, Luiana and Banquet Bell, are both Reine De Course mares. Banquet Bell was a stakes winner who produced the Kentucky Derby and Belmont Stakes-winning champion Chateaugay and the champion and eventual broodmare of the year, Primonetta. Luiana, Banquet Bell’s daughter, yielded the Preakness and Belmont-winning champion Little Current, the multiple grade one-winning Prayers’n Promises, and the stakes-winning and graded stakes-placed Water Dance. This full brother to Drill descends from female family sixteen, which is most notable for producing the champions Ginger Punch, Herbager, Holy Bull, and Orientate, as well as the grade one winners Barbaro and Hard Spun.

This full brother to Drill moved with authoritative motion, traveling powerfully over the ground in his 10 1/5-second one-furlong work as his robust body galloped before prospective buyers. His long, muscular hip allowed his hindquarters to thrust him forward, giving him a lengthy, remarkable stride. His work impressed me most of my top ten horses.

Hip one hundred fifteen, consigned by Eddie Woods, agent XCIII, is engaged with the European Breeders’ Fund and is Breeders’ Cup-nominated. He is one of my top selections of my top ten horses.

Hip #125: This filly has the potential to become a very talented sprinter. By Repent and out of the Thunder Gulch daughter Crowning Touch, this filly is a full sister to the multiple graded stakes-winning and Breeders’ Cup Sprint (GI) runner-up Crown of Thorns. Her dam is a half-sister to the grade one-winning champion sprinter Smoke Glacken, the multiple graded stakes-winning mare Smokey Glacken, the stakes-winning and graded stakes-placed Capote’s Crown, and the graded stakes-placed Argyle Pink. This full sister to Crown of Thorns descends from the most productive family, female family one, which has produced such horses as Azeri, Better Talk Now, English Channel, and Mineshaft.

Hip one hundred twenty-five turned in a remarkable one-furlong breeze, covering the eighth of a mile in 10 2/5 seconds. Though she could have lifted her shoulders more to lengthen and smoothen her stride a bit, the full sister to Crown of Thorns displayed a beautiful frame and daunting drive and impulsion.

Hip one hundred twenty-five, consigned by Kings Equine, agent IV, is a Breeders’ Cup-nominated Kentucky bred.

Hip #133: Harbor View Farm yielded royalty with Affirmed, the most recent American Triple Crown winner. Affirmed himself also yielded royalty in his daughter, Flawlessly, who was also a Harbor View homebred. The breathtaking bay filly with a unique blaze took the racing world by storm in the 1990s, triumphing in nine grade one turf races. She was voted Eclipse Champion Female Turf Horse two years in a row and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2004. As a broodmare, Flawlessly only produced two foals, only one of which ever raced. When that filly died at age four, the other filly, Dreamlike, became the only horse capable of carrying on Flawlessy’s legacy. She succeeded, producing the multiple graded stakes-winning horses Denomination and Woke Up Dreamin. Douanier is a half-brother to these horses, as his sire is Lemon Drop Kid. Douanier’s fifth and sixth dams are Reine De Course mares, Cosmah and Almahmoud. Cosmah was the 1974 Broodmare of the Year and is famous for being the dam of the grade one-winning prolific sire Halo and the champion Tosmah. Almahmoud is one of the most influential mares of all-time, producing not only Cosmah but the stakes-winning Folk Dancer and the Hall of Fame dam of the great Northern Dancer. Other direct descendants of Almahmoud include the Kentucky Derby-winning Cannonade, the group one-winning sire Danehill, and the champions La Prevoyante and Way of Light. The cross of Lemon Drop Kid and Storm Cat mares such as Dreamlike has been quite successful, producing such horses as the graded stakes-winning Khancord Kid. Douanier’s regal dam line stems from female family two, most notable for producing Cigar, Go for Wand, Northern Dancer, Phar Lap, Secretariat, and With Approval.

Douanier was a bit green in his one-furlong breeze, keeping his head cocked while galloping on the wrong lead for the first half of the work. Once he switched leads however, he displayed his commanding stride, impressive drive and impulsion, and beautiful frame. He did move with a bit too much knee action, but this was, for the most part, overshadowed by his long stride in his 10 1/5-second work.

Douanier, consigned by Fedamore Stable LLC, is engaged with the European Breeders’ Fund and Breeders’ Cup-nominated. He is my top pedigree selection, but he did not impress me much with his work.

Hip #148: Champion Big Brown has quickly become a top commercial sire. In fact, one of his sons topped the recent Fasig-Tipton Florida Sale, selling for $1.3 million. In 2009, Big Brown was visited by Golden Lips, a half-sister to the multiple graded stakes-winning Hotstufanthensome, the graded stakes-winning Silver Charades, and the multiple black-type-winning Tacit Agreement. Golden Lips is out of the multiple black-type-winning and graded stakes-placed Don’t Read My Lips, who is out of a full-sister to the champion Sunshine Forever. The mating between Big Brown and Golden Lips resulted in this bay filly, who is similarly bred to the group one winners Minardi and Pomeroy, as all three have Boundary as either their sire or grandsire and are out of mares who descend from the Mr. Prospector sire line. Hip one hundred forty-eight hails from female family four, which is one of the most prolific families. Many of the greatest racehorses of all-time have come from this female family, including Assault, Man O’ War, Ribot, and Zenyatta.

This filly impressively took to the track in her 10-second one-furlong work at the under-tack show, displaying a very imposing stride that covered much ground while remaining fluid. She traveled with tremendous drive and impulsion and had a great lift to her shoulder, allowing her stride to be long. However, she did run greenly in the stretch, running erratically at the commencement of her work before briefly changing to the wrong lead twice in the final sixteenth of her work. Nonetheless, this filly displayed beautiful, strong action.

Hip one hundred forty-eight, consigned by Eddie Woods, agent LX, is a Kentucky-bred engaged with the NTRA and Breeders’ Cup. She is my second top filly selection.

Hip #161: This colt will be the final horse to strut through the Keeneland sales ring on Monday. His sire is the grade one-winning Any Given Saturday, who is the sire of top sophomore filly Princess Arabella. Hip one hundred sixty-one’s dam is the multiple graded stakes-winning mare It’s Personal, the dam of the multiple graded stakes-winning It’s No Joke and the black-type-winning horses Keep Laughing and Mildly Offensive. His sixth dam is Clonaslee, a track record setter who produced a remarkable sixteen winners from eighteen foals. Other direct descendants of Clonaslee, a mare who resided at the prestigious Idle Hour Farm, include the champions Decathlon and My Dear Girl, the grade one-winning Superbity, a multiple stakes winner who went on to be the champion of the great John Henry in Prince Blessed, and the stakes-winning and multiple grade one-placed Nines Wild. This prolific dam line stems from female family twenty-one, which is most notable for producing the champion Gulch, the multiple grade one-winning horses Broad Brush and the ill-fated Exceller, and the Hall of Famer Hanover. Hip one hundred sixty-one, by a son of Distorted Humor and out of a Personal Flag mare, is closely bred to the graded stakes-placed Go Rockin’ Robin. In fact, this cross produced all of It’s Personal’s best offspring.

This colt could’ve kept a slightly flatter knee and lifted his shoulder a bit more in his 10 2/5-second one-furlong work, but he traveled with an attractive frame while keeping his head low. He appeared to be quite efficient.

Hip one hundred sixty-one, consigned by Stephens Thoroughbreds, agent, is a Breeders’ Cup-nominated Kentucky bred.

Honorable Mentions:

Hip #5: By the prosperous Unbridled’s Song and out of the unraced Storm Cat mare Key of Sea, this filly’s second dam is the grade one-winning Key Phrase, who produced this filly’s black-type-winning brother, Yankee Gentleman, a horse who would go on to have success in the breeding shed as well. Key Phrase also yielded the graded stakes-placed Key Deputy, the winning dam of the graded stakes-winning Half Ours, and the unraced dam of the graded stakes-winning Khancord Kid. This Unbridled’s Song/Storm Cat cross has been immensely successful, producing such graded stakes winners as Buddha, Half Ours, Magnificent Song, and Noonmark. Hip five is a female family nineteen descendant, which places her in the same female family as the champions Ancestor, Curlin, and Never Bend.

I found her 10 1/5-second one-furlong work more impressive than her pedigree, as this chestnut filly displayed a good frame while driving strongly from her hindquarters, which aided in her long, smooth stride. Though I would like to see just a bit more lift to her shoulder, I believe hip five had one of the best works of the preview show.

Hip five, consigned by Kings Equine, agent I, is a Breeders’ Cup-nominated Kentucky-bred.

Hip #15: By the grade one-producing champion Kitten’s Joy and out of the High Yield mare Littlebitoflove, hip fifteen is a full sister to his dam’s only runner to date, a winner. Hip fifteen’s second dam, Size Six, is the half-sister to the group two-winning Beaudelaire and the dam of the group three-winning Lady Six, the stakes-placed New Capricorn, the black-type-placed dam of the group one-winning Hot Six, and the dams of two more black-type winners. Though hip fifteen’s full sister only won just over $16,000, the cross this filly is bred on is still impressive. The breeding of Kitten’s Joy and sons of Storm Cat has resulted in the grade one-winning Stephanie’s Kitten, the stakes-winning Major Magic, and the stakes-placed Empire Builder. Other horses sired by Giant’s Causeway and out of the Storm Cat sire line include the grade three-winning Derby Kitten, as well as the stakes-winning and multiple graded stakes-placed William’s Kitten. Hip fifteen descends from the prosperous female family one, which has produced several champions, including Amazombie, Animal Kingdom, Buckpasser, Fleet Indian, Forty Niner, Genuine Risk, and Rachel Alexandra.

In my opinion, hip fifteen’s work was one of the very most impressive breezes at the under-tack show on Thursday. The filly galloped effortlessly and powerfully, exhibiting a beautiful flatness to her knee and imposing drive and impulsion. She completed her one-furlong work in 10 1/5 seconds.

Hip fifteen, consigned by Wavertree Stables, Inc. (Ciaran Dunne), agent I, is a Breeders’ Cup-nominated Kentucky-bred.

Hip #98: A sophomore colt that I am very high on, Paynter, is out of a full sister to the champion Tiznow. So is La Madeleine, as well as the stakes-winning and graded stakes-placed Awesome Patriot, the graded stakes-winning Tiz West, the black-type-placed Tizalovelylady, and the late stakes-placed Tizsweetdreams. It certainly pays to be out of a full sister to the two-time Breeders’ Cup Classic (GI) victor. The dam of La Madeleine is a winning mare whose two runners to date have both won. One of those victors is Brite Betty, a filly who earned over $150,000. The sire of La Madeleine is the magnificent Medaglia d’Oro, who is a tremendous sire of fillies, having sired such horses as Champagne d’Oro, Gabby’s Golden Gal, Plum Pretty, and the great Rachel Alexandra. As a granddaughter of Cee’s Song, La Madeleine’s sixth and seventh dams are both Reine De Course mares, one of which is the dam of the champion Crimson Satan. This dam line hails from female family twenty-six, which has yielded the Irish Triple Crown-winning Museum, the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe-winning Trempolino, and the Australian Hall of Famer Gloaming.

She moved rather choppily, traveling with short strides with too much knee action. Nonetheless, she was a commanding mover with powerful impulsion while going a furlong in 10 seconds flat.

La Madeleine, property of Royal Pegasus LLC, is a Breeders’ Cup-nominated Kentucky-bred.

Hip #106: By the productive sire Mr. Greeley and out of the Dayjur daughter Bonnie Byerly, this Irish-bred filly is a half-sister to the multiple graded stakes-winning Diabolical. Though hip one hundred six’s dam has not produced a stakes victor other than Diabolical, all four of her runners have been winners. This filly’s fifth, sixth, seventh, and ninth dams are all Reine De Course mares, one of which is the dam of the grade one-winning Mehmet. This is female family twelve, which has yielded the great horses Cox’s Ridge, Eclipse, Kingston Town, Lexington, and Ouija Board.

Hip one hundred six turned in an incredibly impressive work, displaying very imposing drive and impulsion while going one furlong in 9 4/5, one of the fastest works of the day. Though I would like to see her lift her shoulders a bit more, hip one hundred six was a powerful mover with a correct frame.

Hip one hundred six, consigned by Wavertree Stables, Inc. (Ciaran Dunne), agent XXI, is engaged with the European Breeders’ Fund.

Hip #135: By the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile and Metropolitan Handicap (GI)-winning Corinthian and out of a half-sister to a champion, hip one hundred thirty-five clearly has a remarkable pedigree. Her dam, an unraced daughter of Tale of the Cat named Dream Street, is a half-sister to the champion sprinter Housebuster and the graded stakes-winning Quero Quero, as well as a full sister to the stakes-winning Cat Buster. Dream Street has produced just one runner so far, a winner of $79,835. Her dam, a stakes winner, was not only capable of producing talented runners, but she was a producer of producers as well. For instance, she produced the dam of the group stakes-winning Deep Sleep and the black-type-winning Live Your Dreams, the dam of the stakes-winning Tax Refund and the graded stakes-placed Unbridled Beauty, and the granddam of the multiple graded stakes-winning Miss Norman. Since hip one hundred thirty-five is a filly, this augurs well for her, as it hints that she may become a spectacular producer herself. It is also very encouraging that, by being bred on the Pulpit/Storm Cat cross, she is similarly bred to the champion Hansen, the grade one winners Careless Jewel, Ice Box, Mi Sueno, Sky Mesa, and Tell a Kelly, and the grade two winners Dancinginherdreams, El Padrino, Mini Sermon, and Parading. This filly hails from female family thirteen, which has produced the great horses Ferdinand, Mr. Prospector, and Seattle Slew, as well as the grade one winners Quality Road and Union Rags.

This filly appeared quite professional in her 10-second one-furlong work, maintaining a nice frame. I would have liked to see more length of stride and more lift of her shoulder, but hip one hundred thirty-five did drive impressively from the hindquarters.

Hip one hundred thirty-five, consigned by Eddie Woods, agent XXXVI, is a Breeders’ Cup-nominated Kentucky-bred.

I must note that, though relatively unimpressed by their pedigrees, I believe hips one hundred twenty-three and one hundred forty-two turned in the best works of the under-tack show. Hip one hundred twenty-three’s upside to his pedigree is that he is a half-brother to a stakes-placed runner in Japan. More notably, however, he had powerful action, exhibiting imposing drive and impulsion, a long stride, a beautiful frame, and tremendous athleticism. Hip one hundred forty-two’s plus in his pedigree is his second dam, a producer of two group stakes winners. Nonetheless, his work was much more remarkable than his bloodlines. He displayed a very long, effortless stride with great lift to his shoulder. Though he briefly changed leads, the chestnut colt presented himself with obvious athleticism.

All of the above-mentioned horses will be featured again after the sale with the prices they went for.

The beautiful Keeneland racecourse, the track over which these juveniles
worked in the preview show on April 5.
Photo: Terri Cage
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