Overbrook mares top Keeneland sales

Lexington, KY (November 11, 2009) – Broodmares from the dispersal of the W.T. Young family’s Overbrook Farm, Eaton Sales as agent, accounted for the day’s top five prices, led by the sale of Honest Pursuit for $3.1 million, at Keeneland’s November Breeding Stock Sale on Wednesday.

A total of 38 horses were sold today as part of the Overbrook dispersal, for gross sales of $20,957,000 and an average of $551,500.

Honest Pursuit was purchased by the legendary Wertheimer racing family, most recently represented by two-time Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) winner Goldikova (IRE).

Alain Wertheimer, who was seated in the sales pavilion with prominent French horsemen and former trainer Alec Head and his daughter, Criquette, also a leading French trainer, said the chance to obtain a mare with Honest Pursuit’s pedigree was a rare opportunity.

“Obviously, if you could buy that kind of family every day, you wouldn’t have to pay that kind of money,” Wertheimer said.

Sold as a broodmare prospect, Honest Pursuit is a four-year-old filly by Storm Cat out multiple graded stakes winner Honest Lady, by Seattle Slew and a half-sister to Forego Handicap (G1) winner First Defence. Her second dam is Broodmare of the Year Toussaud, who, in addition to Honest Lady, produced Belmont Stakes G1) winner Empire Maker and English stakes winner Chester House.

“I’m not surprised she brought that price because it is one of the most desired families that no one can buy these days,” said Ric Waldman, Overbrook advisor and manager of stallion operations. “It’s rewarding, and I know he (W.T. Young) would feel good about that if he were here. We spent a lot of time with these mares. We devoted a lot of energy; we saw a lot of victories; and it was fun mating them through these years. So it was nice that the public showed their appreciation for what we did.”

On Wednesday, Keeneland sold 169 horses for gross sales of $45,360,000, an increase of 7.98 percent from the corresponding session in 2008 when 150 horses brought $42,006,000. Average price was $268,402, down 4.16 percent from last year’s $280,040. Median price rose 9.38 percent from $160,000 to $175,000.

Cumulative gross sales for the first two days were $71,651,500, down 20.41 percent from last year’s $90,027,000. Average price was down 19.33 percent from $301,094 to $242,886. Median price of $160,000 decreased 5.88 percent from last year’s $170,000.

“We knew that the Overbrook dispersal would be a major attraction for the November Sale and the market has given a fitting response to the 30 years that the Young family has invested in the Thoroughbred industry,” said Geoffrey Russell, Keeneland’s Director of Sales.

“The results continue to demonstrate that quality sells; there’s still plenty of money for the right horse,” he added. “The other impressive factor with regard to today’s session is that the clearance rate is up.”

Three other horses brought bids of more than $1 million on Wednesday. Dean De Renzo, as agent for Betty Moran’s Brushwood Stables, paid $2.3 million for Cotton Blossom, sold in foal to Street Cry (IRE). The five-year-old mare by Broken Vow out of the stakes-winning For Dixie won the Acorn (G1) and Schuylerville (G3) during her racing career.

“I think Betty’s going to be pretty happy with this mare. She’s the most beautiful mare I think that’s going to walk through the ring this sale. She was a fantastic racehorse, she’s the best-looking mare, and she should have great babies, and that’s what it’s all about,” said De Renzo, who indicated Moran would race the foals.

Reynolds Bell, on behalf of an undisclosed client, went to $1.7 million to acquire graded stakes winner Summer Raven, in foal to Unbridled’s Song. Winner of the Tempted Stakes (G3), Summer Raven is a seven-year-old mare by Summer Squall and from the family of Grade 1 winner and sire Wild Rush..

“She’s a real attractive mare. I like the family and the fact that she’s by Summer Squall, who’s a nice broodmare sire,” Bell said. “She’s got what looks like a nice two-year-old in Winslow Homer (also by Unbridled’s Song) who won his second start at Saratoga (on August 22 by three lengths) and is training well.”

Bell described his client as “fairly new to the business and putting together a broodmare band to breed to race and sell.” He also purchased, again from the Overbrook dispersal, the stakes-winning Mary Delaney, in foal to Elusive Quality, for $850,000. A six-year-old mare by Hennessy, Mary Delaney won the 2007 Vinery Madison Stakes (G2) at Keeneland.

Edward Evans purchased the day’s fourth- and fifth-highest priced horses, paying $1.3 million for the four-year-old Storm Cat filly Dark Sky, and $950,000 for Wild Poppy, a half-sister to champion Surfside. Both were sold as racing or broodmare prospects.

“We always like to focus on quality;” said Chris Baker, manager of Evans’ Spring Hill Farm. “We feel we’re getting good value because there aren’t too many opportunities to get into these families.”

The November Sale continues through Sunday, November 22; sessions begin daily at 10 a.m. The entire sale is streamed live at Keeneland.com.

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