Claiborne Farm, agent, paid US$1.25 million for a filly by leading sire Tapit out of Grade 1 winner Embellish the Lace to top Sunday’s first session of the Keeneland September Yearling Sale on a day marked by brisk trade and the sale of five horses for $1 million or more.
In the first of two sessions of the prestigious Book 1 catalogue, Keeneland sold 109 yearlings for a total of US$40,680,000, for an average of US$373,211 and a median of US$330,000.
“We’re so happy to be having a September Yearling Sale,” Keeneland President-Elect and Interim Head of Sales Shannon Arvin said. “It was great to have people on the grounds. It was great to have trade. It was great to see people following (COVID-19) protocols so we can continue to have trade. It was a good day overall.”
Keeneland is conducting the September Sale, which continues through September 25, amid COVID-19 protocols designed to create the safest sales environment possible. The sale is offering online and expanded phone bidding to enable buyers to participate remotely. Keeneland also has increased the number of bidding locations on the sales grounds to enable buyers to maintain proper social distancing. The new location at the Show Barn directly outside the Sales Pavilion proved popular with bidders.
Russell said five horses in the Sunday session sold via online bidding with one yearling purchased by a domestic buyer while the other four horses were sold to international buyers.
“The mechanics of the Internet bidding worked really well,” Arvin said. “We spent a lot of time practicing and preparing for that. It was great that it worked out as well as we expected it would.”
“Just to have a sale met our expectations,” Keeneland Director of Sales Operations Geoffrey Russell said. “We’re very happy it’s September at Keeneland and we’re having a horse sale. To have competitive bidding at all levels of the market was very rewarding. The resiliency of this industry is unbelievable. For what everyone has been through, we appreciate all the buyers who are here and we wish them all success.”
During Sunday’s session, fillies commanded the four-highest prices.
The session-topping Tapit filly, who was consigned by Bluewater Sales, agent, is out of Alabama (G1) winner Embellish the Lace, by Super Saver, and from the family of Grade 1 winners Afleet Express and Materiality.
Claiborne Stallion Seasons and Bloodstock Manager Bernie Sams signed the ticket for the filly.
“This is for a Claiborne client,” Sams said. “He is going to try to buy a couple more fillies and build a broodmare band in the next few years. He wanted a Tapit filly. I saw her for the first time here a few days ago. (My first impression was that she is a) pretty, athletic filly. She is from a young mare from a family that could run. (With Tapit) it is a good cross.”
“You just never know what is going to happen even though she had all of the interest,” Bluewater owner Meg Levy told TVG. “She jumped through all the hoops. I am really, really thrilled that Claiborne’s client ended up getting her. She is such a queen. This filly did everything right the entire time.”