Catching up with the top sellers from 2015 Keeneland September

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September 11th, 2016

With the Keeneland September Sale kicking off on Monday, it’s time to revisit the top sellers from the 2015 yearling auction.

Of the 11 who sold for at least $1 million, eight have been named, three have raced, and one has won.

$2.1 million Tapit-Silver Colors colt named TAPIT HIGH

Purchased by Mandy Pope’s Whisper Hill Farm, this grandson of 1988 Kentucky Derby (G1) champion Winning Colors got his early education with Todd Quast at GoldMark Farm near Ocala, Florida. The gray recorded his first breeze May 7, and continued to appear on the GoldMark worktab for a couple of months. The paper trail ends, however, with his last three-furlong drill on the synthetic Safetrack in :36.80 on July 9.

This is vaguely reminiscent of Tapit High’s full sister, Tapping Colors, who was a $700,000 Keeneland September purchase – also by Pope – in 2014. After working regularly at GoldMark late last year, she joined trainer Ralph Nicks at Gulfstream Park, only to be sidelined. Tapping Colors returned to the worktab back at GoldMark in April, but the three-year-old disappeared from view again.

Their dam, Silver Colors, was unplaced from four starts in England. Her first foal, the four-year-old Silver Ride, just returned from a layoff to win an entry-level allowance at Saratoga September 3. Owned by Jim and Susan Hill and trained by Brian Lynch, Silver Ride has now won three of 12.

For a sense of what morning training’s like at GoldMark, check out this video from 2013:


$1.65 million Tapit-Pure Clan colt named NEZET (trainer: Bill Mott)

The Lael Stable purchase is bred for surface versatility. Tapit sires all types, and Pure Clan was a multiple Grade 1-winning turf star who also captured the 2007 Golden Rod (G2) and Pocahontas (G3) and placed in the Honeybee (G3), Fantasy (G2), and Kentucky Oaks (G1) on dirt.

Hence Nezet is already experimenting on the worktab. Beginning this summer with a trio of breezes on Saratoga’s Oklahoma training track, he took July off and resurfaced with a series of works on the Belmont main in August. Nezet tried the Saratoga training turf in his latest, covering a half-mile around the “dogs” in :52.18 on September 9.

$1.525 million Distorted Humor-Forest Music colt

As a full brother to smashing lone-start winner and promising stallion Maclean’s Music, this Stonestreet-bred colt was sure to attract interest. He’s also a half-brother to 2015 Laz Barrera (G3) victor Kentuckian, who’s managed to make just six starts over two years himself.

Although Goncalo Torrealba’s Three Chimneys was the top bidder on the gray yearling, both Torrealba and Barbara Banke of Stonestreet said that they’d likely strike up a partnership to race the colt. Torrealba’s overriding interest was reportedly in his appeal as a future stallion prospect.

Neither Maclean’s Music nor Kentuckian raced at two. So the 2014 colt, still unnamed at this writing, would emulate them if he wins in his career debut at three.

$1.5 million Bernardini-Pilfer filly named CZARINA (trainer: Bob Baffert)

The full sister to multiple Grade 1-winning millionaire To Honor and Serve, and to 2014 Chandelier (G1) victress Angela Renee, was bought by Justin Zayat for his family’s stable and the Coolmore principals.

If that teamwork sounds vaguely familiar, it should – Zayat Stables’ Triple Crown champion American Pharoah stands at Coolmore’s Ashford Stud. Czarina’s pedigree suggests she might be a royal match for Pharoah one day.

As would be expected for a Zayat/Coolmore runner, Czarina is in the care of Bob Baffert. She trained steadily throughout July and August to prepare for her unveiling at Del Mar. Although given an early nomination to the Del Mar Debutante (G1), she wasn’t cranked up to try it.

Indeed, Czarina went straight into a one-mile maiden on the Debutante undercard. Sent off as the slight 2-1 second choice September 3, she rallied from last for third.

Czarina is nominated to the October 1 Chandelier, a 1 1/16-mile “Win and You’re In” for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies at Santa Anita. Whether she tries to emulate big sister there or not, connections are obviously thinking big.

$1.45 million War Front-Betterbetterbetter filly named INTISAAR (trainer: John Gosden)

With all of the success Coolmore has had with progeny of War Front, it’s logical for the Maktoum Family to pursue the same sire. Sheikh Hamdan’s Shadwell prevailed for this exquisitely bred filly, whose dam is a Galileo three-quarter sister to classic winner Yesterday and classic performers Quarter Moon (dam of Diamondsandrubies) and All My Loving (dam of Thomas Chippendale).

Not long after the sale, Intisaar was exported to Dubai for her pre-training lessons with John Hyde. Watch Hyde discuss his role on Team Shadwell in this Dubai Racing Channel feature with Laura King:


Plans call for Intisaar to race in Great Britain, and she’s listed with trainer John Gosden, according to reports in Racing Post and Thoroughbred Owner & Breeder. At this point, Intisaar has yet to be entered or nominated for a race.

$1.15 million War Front-Orate colt named WHITECLIFFSOFDOVER (trainer: Aidan O’Brien)

Speaking of Coolmore, the Irish-based empire campaigns the first (and so far only) million-dollar yearling from 2015 Keeneland September to win a race.

This War Front colt out of a full sister to Pulpit, named Whitecliffsofdover, debuted on Irish Derby Day and finished a useful fourth to stablemate Intelligence Cross. The winner has gone on to better things, placing in the July (G2) and Richmond (G2) and recently running away with the Round Tower (G3).

Typically for an O’Brien juvenile, Whitecliffsofdover learned plenty from the experience and got the job done next time out at Naas August 1. Jockey Donnacha O’Brien (Aidan’s son) hustled him to the early lead, and he held sway comfortably in the seven-furlong maiden.

“He’d a nice run the first day, and has done it well today. He’s a grand, straightforward horse,” the rider told


Whitecliffsofdover has multiple fancy entries – the September 24 Middle Park (G1) and Royal Lodge (G2), the September 25 Beresford (G2), the October 8 Dewhurst (G1), the October 22 Racing Post Trophy (G1), and still further ahead, next May’s Irish 2000 Guineas (G1).

$1.1 million Medaglia d’Oro-Kid Kate colt named EXTRICATE

Yet to record an official work, the Solis/Litt/Winchell/Gainesway purchase was long ago earmarked for trainer Steve Asmussen.

$1.05 million Street Cry-Tizso filly

Like the sale topper Tapit High, this half-sister to Paynter (and relative of Oxbow and Tiznow) was snapped up by Pope’s Whisper Hill. She remains unnamed after the first proposed name, Tiz Her, was declined by the Jockey Club (citing too great a similarity to current runner Tis Hers).

$1 million Fastnet Rock-Maryinsky filly

Spendthrift Farm was the winning bidder for this three-quarter sister to European co-champion Peeping Fawn, and half-sister to French champion and sire Thewayyouare. From one of the most coveted families in the Stud Book, she’s out of a Sadler’s Wells half-sister to Broodmare of the Year Better Than Honour (dam of Rags to Riches, Jazil, et al).

But the still-unnamed filly furnishes a plot twist. According to Racing Post, she’s with Ralph Beckett in England. And Beckett’s website reveals her owner is…Qatar’s Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa al Thani.

$1 million War Front-Siren Serenade filly named LADY MAMBA (trainer: Peter Eurton)

The half-sister to Grade 1-placed Luminance just posted her first work at Del Mar September 5, touring three furlongs in :37.40. Ocala’s Mayberry Farm signed the ticket for the filly, whose dam is a half-sister to George Vancouver and Saarland.

$1 million War Front-Azzedine filly named WARRIOR HALL (trainer: Christophe Clement)

From the all-star family of Althea, the Robert S. Evans colorbearer clocked an initial breeze at Payson Park May 1 before settling into her summer base of Saratoga.

Warrior Hall must have hated the sloppy track she caught on her July 31 debut at the Spa, for she trudged home last of eight. But she was more in her element on the turf August 28, finishing a solid second in a 1 1/16-mile maiden.

Trainer Christophe Clement has nominated Warrior Hall to the September 17 Natalma (G1) at Woodbine, a “Win and You’re In” for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1). That bodes well for her future prospects.

Tapit High photo courtesy of Keeneland