Catching up with top sellers from 2016 Keeneland September

Profile Picture: Kellie Reilly

September 10th, 2017

On the eve of the Keeneland September kickoff, it’s an opportune time to revisit the top sellers from the 2016 yearling sale. Of the nine who crossed the million-dollar threshold a year ago, six have been named, three have run, and one has won.

That winner is the $3 million sales topper, Mendelssohn, a Scat Daddy half-brother to four-time Eclipse Award champion Beholder and successful young sire Into Mischief. Purchased by Coolmore’s M.V. Magnier and sent to Aidan O’Brien, the May 17 foal was given a gentle introduction at the Curragh July 15 and made late progress for eighth behind highly regarded stablemate The Pentagon.

Typically for Ballydoyle, Mendelssohn improved markedly second time out to win over a mile at the same venue August 13:

Mendelssohn has the boatload of fancy entries you come to expect for a well-bred Coolmore youngster. Skipping today’s Vincent O’Brien National (G1) and taken out of entered in this upcoming Saturday’s Champagne (G2), the bay remains eligible for the September 24 Beresford (G2), the September 30 Royal Lodge (G2), the October 14 Dewhurst (G1), and next May’s Irish 2000 Guineas (G1).

But O’Brien is in no hurry with the promising colt.

“He came forward lovely from his first run but he's still very babyish,” the master of Ballydoyle told

“Obviously he will learn as he goes along. He (jockey Ryan Moore) said he was very green in front and he was extremely green the first day when Wayne (Lordan) rode him.

“Hopefully he'll grow out of that. Sometimes it takes them two or three runs, but he's a lovely colt.

“You'd like to go for a winners’ race with him rather than stepping him up because he's extra green. You wouldn't like to go into a Group race with him yet like that, you'd like him to be a little bit more professional.

“He's a lovely colt and a very well-bred horse; we might go gently I think.”

Here’s Mendelssohn, bred by Clarkland Farm from the stakes-winning Tricky Creek mare Leslie’s Lady, touring the Keeneland sales ring:

Still unnamed at this writing is the $2 million Tapit half-brother to Mucho Macho Man, star of the 2013 Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) and an earner of more than $5.6 million.

Bred by Brushwood Stable and consigned by Eaton Sales, agent, the son of the stakes-winning Ponche de Leona (by Ponche) is also a full brother to stakes victress Southern Girl and a half to stakes-placed Mucho Mans Gold.

Bridlewood Farm and Coolmore teamed up to purchase the April 22-foaled gray.

Sheikh Hamdan’s Shadwell Estate Co. took home a pair of pricey War Front colts who have been named and exported to Great Britain as yearlings.

The $1.9 million Althaaqib is not listed in Racing Post or in the British Horseracing Authority online database of horses in training.

Bred by W.S. Farish and Lazy F Ranch and offered by Lane’s End, he was produced by the stakes-winning Prize Catch. The A.P. Indy mare is a half-sister to four stakes performers, chief among them multiple Grade 2 vixen Lead Story.

The $1.3 million Alfarqad has yet to start, but trainer Owen Burrows has given him entries in the Dewhurst and the 2018 Irish 2000 Guineas.

His dam, multiple Grade 1 winner and near-millionaire Love and Pride, is a three-quarter sister to champion and sire Bernardini. They’re both by A.P. Indy, and Love and Pride is out of Bernardini’s Grade 1-placed half-sister by Storm Cat, Ile de France. Alfarqad was bred by Three Chimneys and sold under the Four Star Sales banner.

Three Chimneys was also the breeder, in partnership with Besilu Stables, of the two expensive Tapit fillies who were gaveled down to Mandy Pope’s Whisper Hill Farm. Neither has been named as of today.             

The $1.4 million Tapit half-sister to Gun Runner was consigned by Taylor Made Sales, agent. Gun Runner was already a classy performer at this time last year, but he’s reached a new level this term with dazzling victories in the Stephen Foster (G1), Whitney (G1), and Woodward (G1). The top-ranked horse of late in the weekly NTRA poll, displacing Arrogate, Gun Runner is a leading contender for the Breeders’ Cup Classic.

The filly is out of the Giant’s Causeway mare Quiet Giant, herself a Grade 2-winning half-sister to 2005 Horse of the Year and Breeders’ Cup Classic conqueror Saint Liam.

Taylor Made likewise offered the $1.1 million daughter of Tapit and Grade 2 winner Quiet Temper. Despite the similar sounding name, Quiet Temper descends from a completely different family. Her ancestress is Blitey, responsible for Dancing Spree, Fantastic Find, Furlough, i.e., the whole tribe of Heavenly Prize.

The $1.2 million Tapit-Hooh Why colt, named Line of Departure, recently started working at Belmont Park for Todd Pletcher.

Purchased by Crupi’s New Castle Farm, Line of Departure posted a couple of breezes at J.J. Crupi’s academy in the spring. He toured a quarter-mile in :25.20 on March 31 and three panels in :37.00 on April 26 before shipping out. Since joining Pletcher, the gray has recorded a trio of three-furlong moves -- :37.55 on August 21 and :40.00 on August 28, both on the Belmont main, and switched to the training track for his spin in :37.85 on September 5.

Bred by SF Bloodstock and consigned by Baccari Bloodstock, agent, Line of Departure is the second registered foal from Grade 1-winning millionaire Hooh Why.

Pletcher is also the trainer of the $1 million Medaglia d’Oro colt named Marzo, who flopped as the 8-5 favorite in his career debut at Saratoga on Labor Day. Maybe stablemate Tapwrit, another famous flop in his Spa unveiling, can give Marzo a pep talk.

Campaigned by the Coolmore principals in partnership with breeder Stonestreet Stables, Marzo broke slowly and didn’t look entirely comfortable over the muddy, sealed track. He advanced into fourth, but came under a drive, backpedaled on the turn, and trailed home last.               

Here’s pre-race video from the paddock, courtesy of Thoroughbred Daily News:

Marzo is out of the Smart Strike mare Spring Party, a stakes-winning half-sister to Grade 1 sprinter Emcee and Dubai Group 2 scorer Surfer. She’s also a half to Royal Ascot stakes-placed Baffled, better known as the dam of multiple Grade 1-winning millionaire Constitution, Group 2 victor Boynton, and Grade 3 queen Jacaranda.

Here he is as a yearling selling through the Taylor Made auspices:

Stonestreet also bred, and now co-owns, Good Magic, the $1 million Curlin-Glinda the Good colt who was a fine second in his Saratoga premiere. Bought by Mike Ryan as agent for e Five Racing Thoroughbreds, he is trained by Chad Brown.

After a solid worktab stretching back to mid-June, Good Magic was bet down to 3-5 favoritism in the Travers Day opener, often an informative maiden. He chased front-running Hazit for the entire six furlongs, threw down a couple of challenges, but had to settle for runner-up honors.

Considering that well-named Hazit is bred for speed as a son of War Front and Rumor, Good Magic did well for a horse with a route-oriented pedigree. And he came right back to fire a half-mile bullet on the Saratoga main track in :48.55 today (Sunday).

Good Magic’s dam, Glinda the Good, was herself a Stonestreet homebred who placed in the Pocahontas (G2) and Blue Hen as a juvenile before capturing the Island Fashion and Instant Racing at three. By Curlin’s old rival Hard Spun, Glinda the Good is out of the prolific Magical Flash, the dam of six stakes winners and three more stakes-placed runners. Her most notable offspring are Grade 3 heroine Take the Ribbon (dam of Italian Group 1-placed Bookrunner), Grade 2-placed stakes scorer Flash Forward (by Curlin and thus a three-quarter to Good Magic), Group 3-placed stakes victress Flash Mash, and multiple Cal-bred stakes winner Bright Magic (dam of Grade 3-winning juvenile Exfactor).

Here is Good Magic selling by way of the Hill ‘n’ Dale consignment:

Photo of Mendelssohn in the ring courtesy of Keeneland