Mandy Pope’s Whisper Hill Farm on Wednesday secured, for $8.2 million, an American Pharoah half-sister to four-time champion mare Beholder, prominent sire Into Mischief, and Breeders’ Cup winner Mendelssohn at the third session of the 2019 Keeneland September Yearling Sale.
“She’s the only thing I wanted to buy,” Pope said.
The amount was the highest at the Keeneland September sale in 13 years. In 2006, John Ferguson spent $11.7 million to acquire a Kingmambo colt for Godolphin.
Produced by the now 22-year-old Leslie’s Lady, by Tricky Creek, the April 25 Kentucky-bred was consigned by Clarkland Farm and toured the ring as Hip No. 498.
“In my opinion, this was the best individual the mare’s ever had,” said an emotional and joyful Fred Mitchell of Clarkland Farm.
The highest priced colt sold Wednesday went to E Five Racing-Mike Ryan, agent, for $2.1 million. The Pioneerof the Nile half-brother to this year’s Coaching Club American Oaks (G1) and Acorn (G1) winner Guarana was consigned by Taylor Made Sales Agency, agent.
Hip 519, a May 5 Kentucky-bred reared by the Distorted Humor mare Magical World, also counts as a half-sister the stakes-winning Magic Dance. The yearling’s second dam was Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1) winner Pleasant Home, and he also hails from the family of Hall of Fame filly Sky Beauty and multiple Grade 1 turf star Point of Entry.
Bringing $2 million from Shawn Dugan, agent, was Hip 485, an Empire Maker half-sister to 2018 champion juvenile filly Jaywalk and multiple stakes winner Danzatrice. Gainesway, agent, consigned the May 26 Kentucky-bred who was produced by Lady Pewitt, by Orientate.
Five other yearlings brought $1 million or more on Wednesday, including an American Pharoah filly out of the Smart Strike mare Escampette that sold for $1.3 million. Jamie McCalmont, agent for M.V. Magnier and Sarah Kelly was the winning bidder.
The yearling descends from Aquilegia, a full sister to champion filly Althea and the second dam of 2014 Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) winner Bayern. Her fourth dam was Broodmare of the Year Courtly Dee.
On Wednesday, 124 yearlings sold for $65,082,000, an increase of 23.1 percent over last year’s corresponding session when 151 horses sold for $52,883,000. The session average increased 49.9 percent, from $350,219 to 4524,855, while the median rose 38.9 percent, from $270,000 to $375,000.
Book 1 in 2018 spanned four days, so comparisons in terms of gross receipts are not applicable. However, the Book 1 average this year increased 29.7 percent, from $363,780 to $471,950, while the median jumped 15.5 percent, from $300,000 to $355,000.
Following a dark day Thursday, the Keeneland September sale resumes Friday with Book 2 offerings beginning at 10 a.m. (EDT). The sale runs through September 22 and full results can be found at keeneland.com.