Sunday, September 8, 2013

Part One: 2013 Keeneland September Yearling Sale

September marks the winding down of summer, the opening of the door for autumn. It is also home to the world’s largest, most important yearling auction: the Keeneland September Yearling Sale. Each year, thousands of yearlings stroll through the sales ring in Lexington, Kentucky as bidders from around the globe place their bids upon the young Thoroughbreds. Although these horses are just a year old, at least two years’ work has been put into this auction. Matings were chosen, mares were bred and prepared to foal, foals were cared for, and yearlings were prepped. Through blood, sweat, tears, rain, snow, and heat, these horses have been meticulously prepared for this significant point in time. Those two years of hard work and dedication all come down to these moments.

Nearly 4,000 yearlings were entered in this year’s September Sale, outnumbering last year’s auction by about 300. Beginning on Monday (September 9) at noon (Eastern time), the auction will last until Saturday, September 21, spanning five books and twelve sessions. Book 1 will cover the first four days of the sale, offering the first 875 hips. Each of these sessions will begin at noon. After a break on Friday, September 13, the sale will resume on Saturday, September 14 and end on September 21, presenting the yearlings in Books 2 through 5, with each book covering two days. Each of these sessions will commence at 10:00 AM.

Prior to this year’s Fasig-Tipton July Sale, I had never attended an auction before. Due to this, I made all of my sale selections based solely off of pedigree – and movement in breeze shows for two-year-old sales – as I lacked the opportunity to study conformation as a result of not being present for the auctions I covered, although I knew it was incredibly important. But now, having attended the July Sale and the Fasig-Tipton Texas Summer Yearlings Sale, I have fully realized the significance of conformation and will no longer make sale selections without being able to analyze sale entrants’ conformation. However, thanks to three sales agencies’ posting of conformation shots of several of their consignments, I was able to study the conformation of numerous yearlings for this renowned auction. Although not the equivalent of analyzing a yearling firsthand, this gave me the opportunity to cover the sale I have yearned to cover all year despite not being able to attend: the Keeneland September Yearling Sale.

A big thanks goes out to Denali Stud, Elm Tree Farm, and Three Chimneys Farm for posting conformation shots of several of their Keeneland September consignments. Because of these useful tools, I was able to select yearlings off of not only pedigrees, but my favorite component: conformation. Listed below are the eleven yearlings I selected from these consignments, along with information on when they are selling, their consignor, analyses of their pedigrees and conformation, and links to their conformation photos.

Note: I only selected yearlings from these three consignments, as they are the only sales agencies that posted conformation photos of most of their offerings in time for me to make selections. I chose no yearlings off of pedigree alone, as I used conformation as my most important deciding factor. 

Hip 17 – Consigned by Denali Stud (Craig and Holly Bandoroff), Agent XIII – Book 1, Session 1, Monday, September 9
Gray/roan colt; Tapit – Flock of Doves (Kingmambo)

A son of one of the top sires in the nation in Tapit, hip 17 is out of Flock of Doves – an unraced daughter of Kingmambo. Flock of Doves is a half-sister to the group one-winning highweight Pathfork. His third dam, the stakes-winning, group one-placed Imperfect Circle, is the dam of three black-type horses, including the multiple group one-winning highweight Spinning World.

A rather correct individual, hip 17 may be thick about the neck and slightly post-legged, but he is rather evenly balanced, being solid about the shoulder and topline. View his conformation photo

Hip 273 – Consigned by Three Chimneys Sales, Agent – Book 1, Session 2, Tuesday, September 10
Bay colt; Speightstown – Northern Station (Street Cry)

Sired by leading sire Speightstown, hip 273 is out of the black-type-winning mare Northern Station. His third dam produced three black-type horses – including the graded stakes-winning Polonius – and the dam of the graded stakes-winning Advice. This is the same family as the graded stakes-winning mares Ascutney and Words of War, who, between them, have produced the grade one winners Raven’s Pass and No Matter What – the dam of champion Rainbow View.

As a result of a sturdy, rather sloping shoulder, hip 273 boasts a short, durable topline, causing him to be very well-balanced and athletically built. The colt is very short-necked and slightly calf-kneed, but is otherwise breathtakingly correct. A conformation photo of hip 273 can be found on
this page.

Hip 595 – Consigned by Elm Tree Farm LLC (Mr. and Mrs. Jody Huckabay), Agent IX – Book 1, Session 3, Wednesday, September 11
Dark bay/brown colt; Giant’s Causeway – Van Lear Rose (Stroll)

A son of the consistently elite sire Giant’s Causeway, hip 595 is the second foal out of Canadian champion Van Lear Rose. The Giant’s Causeway/A.P. Indy sire line cross on which this colt was bred has proven to be quite successful, producing the graded stakes winners Chief Havoc and Worth Repeating to date.

A colt of impressive muscularity, hip 595 displays a rounded, powerful hip that hints of great propulsion from the hind end. A very solid individual, hip 595 exhibits round muscles of great volume, but remains proportional, being short and compact over the topline. He is also very structurally correct when viewed from the side, being straight through the knees and correctly angled about the pasterns. View his conformation photo here.

Hip 725 – Consigned by Elm Tree Farm LLC (Mr. and Mrs. Jody Huckabay), Agent IV – Book 1, Session 4, Thursday, September 12
Bay colt; Tale of the Cat – Buddha Lady (Buddha)

Sharing his sire with the likes of the grade one winners Gio Ponti, Glamour Puss, Lion Heart, and Tale of Ekati, this son of Tale of the Cat is out of the black-type-winning mare Buddha Lady. This makes him a direct descendant of the foundation mare of family 1-n – the stakes-winning Reine De Course mare Chelandry – thus allowing hip 725 to descend from the same tail female line as the dual-classic-winning champion Swale, the grade one-winning, dual classic-placed Bodemeister, and the group one-winning Americain.

A uniquely-marked, flashy bay colt, hip 725 is a compact, balanced yearling who exhibits notable muscling. Perhaps his best feature is his powerful hip, which is long and full, which will likely provide hip 725 with great drive and impulsion from his hindquarters. View his conformation photo here.

Hip 881 – Consigned by Three Chimneys Sales, Agent – Book 2, Session 5, Saturday, September 14
Chestnut colt; Elusive Quality – Fiery Dancer (Atticus)

This colt’s sire, Elusive Quality, is best known for siring the dual-classic winning champion Smarty Jones, the multiple record-breaking grade one winner Quality Road, and the additional grade/group one winners Camarilla, Certify, Elusive City, Elusive Kate, Maryfield, Raven’s Pass, and Sepoy. Hip 881 is out of the black-type-winning mare Fiery Dancer, who is a full sister to the graded stakes-winning Atticus Kristy and a half-sister to the stakes-winning, graded stakes-placed Distorted Reality. This is the same family as 2011 Broodmare of the Year Oatsee, the dam of numerous graded stakes winners, including the grade one winners Lady Joanne and Shackleford.

Evenly balanced, hip 881 boasts a strong shoulder and back. Both proportional and muscular, the chestnut displays a powerful hip and heart girth, which hints at greater body capacity. A conformation photo of hip 881 can be found on this page.

Hip 896 – Consigned by Denali Stud (Craig and Holly Bandoroff), Agent XXVIII – Book 2, Session 5, Saturday, September 14
Dark bay/brown filly; Smart Strike – Giant’s Princess (Giant’s Causeway)

Bred on the same Mr. Prospectors/Giant’s Causeway sire line cross as the grade one-winning Evening Jewel, hip 896 shares her sire – Smart Strike – with numerous champions, including Curlin, English Channel, Lookin At Lucky, My Miss Aurelia, and Soaring Free. Her granddam, the graded stakes-winning Lotta Dancing, produced the graded stakes-winning Fantasticat, as well as Shootforthestars – the unraced dam of the grade one-winning Centralinteligence and three additional black-type runners. Hip 896’s third dam is Lotka, a grade one-winning daughter of Danzig.

Although thick and low-tying about the neck, hip 896 is balanced and proportional, being short about the topline and rather easily divided into thirds. She is quite muscular, having forearms and gaskins of notable volume, as well as a strong shoulder and long hip. View her conformation photo

Hip 922 – Consigned by Denali Stud (Craig and Holly Bandoroff), Agent XI – Book 2, Session 5, Saturday, September 14
Bay colt; Mineshaft – Hidden Cat (Storm Cat)

Hip 922 is sired by Mineshaft, Horse of the Year and sire of the grade one winners Dialed In, Discreetly Mine, and It’s Tricky. His dam, the black-type-winning Hidden Cat, has produced two black-type winners: Global Power and Pegasusbystorm. His granddam is the Canadian champion Alywow, who begat not only hip 922’s dam, but also the group stakes-winning Century City.

Although hip 922 possesses some structural flaws, he is well-balanced and athletically built, being both proportional and muscular. His depth of heart girth, length of hip, and volume of shoulder bespeak power. View his conformation photo

Hip 1067 – Consigned by Elm Tree Farm LLC (Mr. and Mrs. Jody Huckabay), Agent VI – Book 2, Session 5, Saturday, September 14
Gray/roan colt; More Than Ready – Red Hot Buddha (Buddha)

By elite sire More Than Ready, hip 1067 is a son of the black-type-winning mare Red Hot Buddha, who is a half-sister to a pair of black-type runners, including the graded stakes-placed Cue the Moon. His third dam produced the graded stakes-winning half-sisters Allamerican Bertie and Hurricane Bertie.

A stunning dark gray with a white face, hip 1067 is a breathtaking physical specimen, being not only very muscular, but also impeccably balanced. Having a strong, sloping shoulder that provides him with a short, sturdy topline, hip 1067 can easily be divided into equal thirds. View his conformation photo

Hip 1964 – Consigned by Denali Stud (Craig and Holly Bandoroff), Agent XIV – Book 3, Session 7, Monday, September 16
Gray/roan filly; Quality Road – Throbbin’ Heart (Smoke Glacken)

Hip 1964 is a member of Quality Road’s first crop. Quality Road, a multiple grade one winner who set numerous track records, is a son of the outstanding stallion Elusive Quality, who has sired nine grade/group one winners to date. Out of the stakes-winning Smoke Glacken mare Throbbin’ Heart, hip 1964 is a great-granddaughter of the dam of the graded stakes-winning, grade one-placed Count the Time, the stakes-winning granddam of the group one winner Foxwedge, and a pair of graded stakes-placed runners.

An exquisite gray/roan filly, hip 1964 flaunts a sleek, athletic build. She is a very structurally correct individual according to her conformation photo, having appropriately angled pasterns and forming a straight line through her knees. View her conformation photo here.

Hip 1969 – Consigned by Denali Stud (Craig and Holly Bandoroff, Agent – Book 3, Session 7, Monday, September 16
Bay colt; Stormy Atlantic – Toula (Bold Executive)

This colt shares his sire, Stormy Atlantic, with the grade one winners Get Stormy and Stormello, as well as the Canadian champion Leonnatus Anteas. His dam is a half-sister to the Canadian champion Sweetest Thing, in addition to the stakes-winning Medidocihospisurg and the stakes-placed Bold Thing.

Bearing an uncanny resemblance to his sire, hip 1969 is a colt of remarkable muscularity and noteworthy balance. Displaying a long, powerful hip and a heart girth of great depth, hip 1969’s build indicates strength and power. His strong, sloping shoulder allows his topline to be short and sturdy, accentuating his balance. View his conformation photo here.

Hip 2664 – Consigned by Three Chimneys Sales, Agent – Book 4, Session 9, Wednesday, September 18
Bay filly; Big Brown – Nicksappealinglady (Successful Appeal)

A daughter of dual classic winner Big Brown, hip 2664’s sire has also produced the stakes winners Brown Almightly, Bella Castani, and Shades of Sugar since entering stud in 2009. Out of a stakes-placed Successful Appeal mare, hip 2664’s third dam produced the multiple grade one-winning Ladies Din. This Danzig/Valid Appeal sire line cross is the same that produced the multiple grade one-winning Jersey Girl.

A very athletically built filly, hip 2664 is a well-balanced yearling, displaying a solid topline to support her proportional frame. Although leggy and quite dainty, the filly does display power in her shoulder and heart girth. Her conformation photo can be found on this page.

A summary of how these yearlings sell will be posted on Wednesday, September 18 or Thursday, September 19.


  1. I really like Hip 725's markings :) Great post!

  2. Mary, great post....I am trying to learn how to "look" at a horse, but I must confess that I'm still in the baby-step stages. Appreciate your knowledge and expertise. Your observations are helping me to learn more and more as I read your words and look at the horse, I'm trying to "see" what you "see"! Thanks!

    1. Thank you so much! Having been raised around horses and having been involved in horse judging competitions for as long as I can remember have both been beneficial in "looking" at a horse for me. It does take practice, though! I wrote a post in my blog's early days about the conformation of the horse. Although my writing was far less developed then, maybe it will help you out a little. I am considering doing a revised article about conformation. Here's the link: