LEXINGTON, KY (Nov. 7, 2017) – Champion Stellar Wind will be retired and bred to Triple Crown winner American Pharoah after selling for $6 million to Coolmore’s M.V. Magnier to top Tuesday’s opening session of the Keeneland November Breeding Stock Sale, which saw brisk trade from both domestic and international buyers.
Tuesday was the first of two sessions in the sale’s premier Book 1 catalog, which features graded stakes-winning fillies, stakes-producing broodmares in foal to prominent sires and top-quality weanlings.
Keeneland sold 96 horses for $42,304,000, down 15.65 percent from last year when 115 horses grossed $50,155,000. The average of $440,667 rose slightly from last year’s $436,130, and the median rose 15.38 percent to $300,000 from $260,000 in 2016.
Eight horses sold for more than $1 million each. The $6 million paid for Stellar Wind is the co-second-highest-price ever paid for a broodmare prospect at Keeneland, equaling the amount paid for champion Take Charge Brandi at the 2015 November Sale.
“The opening session went extremely well,” Keeneland Director of Sales Operations Geoffrey Russell said. “The top price obviously with Stellar Wind was well deserved – a champion mare, great performance on the race track, deserved to be the top lot here today.
“It was great to see a good variation of buyers at the top, both domestic and international and strong Japanese participation,” he continued. “Weanlings also sold very well, both to end users and to pinhookers. The weanling market is strong. Like everything else, if they jump through the hoops, they bring a premium price. The weanling to yearling pinhookers did very well last year, so they’re back here in force again. And end users have decided that this is a good place to buy horses, so there’s added competition from those two forces.
“Mixed sales are always difficult to compare year to year because at yearling sales you are selling the product; here you are selling the factory and you don’t sell the factory every year,” Russell said. “It is all based on the mares we get every year. Book 1 is a little lighter in numbers this year, but our average and median are very good. As we go forward, I feel the sale will gain momentum through the market forces of a good, strong September Yearling Sale. We see people reinvesting back into the market. It was a strong international buying bench.”
Stellar Wind, the champion 3-year-old filly of 2015, is a 5-year-old daughter of Curlin and the Malibu Moon mare Evening Star who earned $2,213,200 with 10 wins in 16 starts. She was the centerpiece of a crowded Keeneland Sales Pavilion, where onlookers included her trainer, John Sadler.
“She checked all the boxes for somebody who wants to breed a really top horse,” Sadler said. “She’s a lovely mare and she’s been great. To see her go is going to be sad, but she’s going on to her next career, so we’re happy that she’s got the world’s best connections. It’s very exciting. We had her for three years and we loved her and she was so great for us, gave us a lot of great thrills winning a lot of Grade 1s. We’re going to miss her a lot, but we’re happy to see her get such a good result and see her go to such nice people, so that’s really exciting.”
Stellar Wind was consigned by Lane’s End, agent. Lane’s End Director of Sales Allaire Ryan said the mare thrilled everyone who saw her.
“Just spending the last 48 hours with her here, she exuded class and there is no doubt in my mind that is one of the factors that carried her through such a successful career,” Ryan said. “She was a true joy to be around for all of us.
“Day in and day out this is our job, but above all everyone here at Keeneland is a racing fan. It is one of those ‘pinch me’ moments when you get to be around a mare like her. She is just that special for me and all of our staff. Everyone took great pride in presenting her.
“The price is where we thought she would be,” Ryan added. “She sold well in a really strong market.”
With the purchase of Stellar Wind, Magnier was the session’s leading buyer.