Keeneland’s renowned September Yearling Sale opens its 13-day run on Monday, the anticipation arguably heightened by scores of first-crop offerings by 2015 Triple Crown champion American Pharoah.
A grand total of 81 American Pharoah yearlings appeared in the catalog, and with only nine withdrawn as of Sunday afternoon, a full six dozen are set to tour the ring. In light of his mares’ quality, the Coolmore stallion has the bulk of his progeny – 66 (now 59 after outs) – in the coveted Book 1.
The elite portion of the marathon sale, Book 1 has been retooled again this year. It now comprises the first four sessions, Monday through Thursday.
And thanks to the heavy rain from the remnants of Tropical Storm Gordon, Keeneland officials have also adjusted the starting time for all Book 1 sessions. Instead of the original 11 a.m. (EDT) kickoff, the Monday-Thursday action will now begin at 1 p.m., the extra two hours designed to ease the logistics for inspections.
“We want to give buyers sufficient time to inspect the horses in Book 1,” Keeneland Vice President of Racing and Sales Bob Elliston said in a press release announcing the change.
“The current heavy rain is making their work today extremely difficult and putting them behind schedule to review Book 1, which has cataloged 989 horses. This revised start time will allow them to catch up.”
American Pharoah fans will see 22 of his offspring on Monday’s curtain-raiser, including a half-sister to Songbird (Hip No. 63) and a colt from the family of 2018 Triple Crown star Justify (Hip 115), also a half-brother to graded scorers Kid Cruz and Spellbound. Note that Justify’s half-brother is himself in the sale, a flashy chestnut by Will Take Charge, who sells as Hip 443 on Tuesday.
Other American Pharoahs with gaudy pages on Monday are Hip 6, a colt out of Grade 1 vixen Harmony Lodge from the family of Magnum Moon; Hip 69, a colt out of Grade 1-winning millionaire Joyful Victory; Hip 87, a half-brother to reigning Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (G1) winner Bar of Gold; Hip 174, a filly out of Grade 1-placed stakes scorer Maybellene, from the further family of Elusive Quality; Hip 208, a half-brother to champion sprinter Points Offthebench; Hip 210, a granddaughter of Denebola from the rich family of last year’s Prix de Diane (French Oaks) (G1) queen Senga; and Hip 228, a filly produced by multiple Grade 1 performer My Happy Face.
Among the American Pharoahs on deck for Tuesday are Hip 298, a half-brother to 2013 Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) victor Mucho Macho Man; Hip 306, a half-sister to Grade 1 hero Cupid as well as last year’s $2.7 million sale-topping filly (yet unnamed); Hip 312, a colt out of a half to Pulpit; Hip 363, a three-quarter sister to classic-placed Social Inclusion; Hip 373, a colt aptly named Pharelli, whose Grade 2-winning dam Schiaparelli is an “aunt” to current multiple Group 1 celebrity Roaring Lion; Hip 435, a half-brother to Ice Box; Hip 444, a colt out of a half-sister to Carpe Diem (and a full sister to Farrell); and Hip 490, a colt out of a half to Leroidesanimaux from the family of blue hen Hasili.
History beckons Wednesday, when an American Pharoah half-sister to 2012 Kentucky Derby (G1) and Preakness (G1) champion I’ll Have Another struts the stage. Cataloged as Hip 654, the bay filly is the first yearling sired by a Triple Crown winner from a Kentucky Derby dam to be offered at auction in 30 years, according to consignor Brookdale Sales, agent.
American Pharoah has more bluebloods on Wednesday as well – Hip 505, a half-sister to reigning La Troienne (G1) winner Salty; two fillies (Hips 515 and 682) from the immediate family of American Pharoah’s sire, Pioneerof the Nile; Hip 534, a colt from the family of champions Wait a While and Lookin at Lucky; Hip 562, a filly out of classic victress Virginia Waters; Hip 686, a colt out of Beautician, herself a half to Red Ruby and Mo Tom; and Hip 731, a filly from the superb Phipps family of Point of Entry and Pine Island.
Although fewer American Pharoahs are in on Thursday, the six remaining in the Book 1 finale include half-brothers to I’m a Chatterbox (Hip 766), Iotapa (Hip 793), Giovanni Boldini (Hip 818), and Wedding Toast (Hip 968) along with a colt out of a half to Exchange Rate (Hip 955).
After Friday’s dark day, the remaining sessions get under way at 10 a.m. Book 2 spans Saturday and Sunday, Book 3 follows on September 17-18, Book 4 on September 19-20, Book 5 on September 21, and Book 6 wraps up the last weekend of September 22-23.
The Book 2 progeny of American Pharoah likewise have pedigree allure. Saturday features a colt out of a half to Broodmare of the Year Take Charge Lady (Hip 1115), a filly out of a full sister to Tapit (Hip 1216), a filly produced by Grade 1 winner Cat Moves (Hip 1311), and a colt descended from unbeaten Hall of Famer Personal Ensign (Hip 1390), while Sunday’s highlight is a half-brother to two-time Breeders’ Cup star Secret Circle (Hip 1558).
Next Monday’s Book 3 yearlings include a half-sister to 2014 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1) hero Hootenanny (Hip 1903), and thus a close relative of the aforementioned Cat Moves filly, and a filly from the family of 2007 Kentucky Derby-winning champion Street Sense (Hip 2112).
For the complete catalog of 4,538 yearlings, updates, and live streaming of the sale, visit Keeneland.com.