Commissioner Dan, a 2-year-old colt by Commissioner, who began his career winning a Keeneland maiden special weight race on April 26 by 1¾ lengths, sold to Pedro Lanz, agent for King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz Sons’s KAS Stables, for $500,000 to top Keeneland’s April Selected Horses of Racing Age Sale. The single-session sale, which grossed $6.7 million, recorded across-the-board increases over 2022.
For KAS Stables, Lanz was the sale’s leading buyer with three purchases for a total of $930,000. Other acquisitions were Carmel Road, a 3-year-old Grade 2-placed colt by Quality Road, for $260,000 and Naval Aviator, a 4-year-old stakes-placed Tapit colt, for $170,000.
Commissioner Dan, who was consigned by Matejka Racing, agent, is out of winner Miss Livona, by Dixie Union.
“We were looking for older horses, and I did not know there were 2-year-olds here,” Lanz said. “It was a last-minute call. When I saw (Commissioner Dan) and saw his numbers and saw he is by Commissioner (sire of 2023 Saudi Derby winner Commissioner King), I told them (we should bid on him). We saw him for the first time a few days ago. We looked at his videos. He has a lot of potential.”
Keeneland sold 67 horses for $6,743,000, a 26.06 percent increase from the $5,349,000 in 2022 when 58 horses sold. The average of $100,642 rose 9.13 percent over last year’s $92,224, while the median jumped 40 percent from $50,000 to $70,000.
“Today was very positive. This is a sale that is perfectly positioned on the calendar, immediately after the end of our Spring Meet and just before the Kentucky Derby,” Keeneland Vice President of Sales Tony Lacy said. “This sale is really evolving, and there is a lot of energy and enthusiasm surrounding it. Consignors are really happy; a lot of them were here today. We had great participation from established buyers and also new owners, and it was great to see Saudi Arabian participation.”
“Seven of the top 10 highest-priced horses were last-out winners,” Keeneland Director of Sales Operations Cormac Breathnach said. “The ability to bring winners to market really spurs the sale’s energy. We are excited about the level of buyer participation; there were a lot of trainers on the grounds. Saudi Arabian interests bought four of the top 10 offerings.”
Kueber Racing, Big Easy Racing and Martin Schwartz paid $400,000 for Promise Me a Ride, a 3-year-old winning son of Mastery, who won his career debut in March at Fair Grounds. ELiTE, agent, consigned the colt, who is from the family of leading sire Distorted Humor. His dam is stakes winner Promise Me More, by More Than Ready.
ELiTE, agent, was the sale’s leading consignor with sales of $2,612,000 for 18 horses.
Talladega, a 3-year-old colt by Into Mischief, who defeated older horses in an Oaklawn Park allowance race on April 8 by 2¾ lengths, sold to Ahmad Alabdllatif for $320,000. Out of the winning Yes It’s True mare Thin Disguise, he is a half-brother to Grade 3 winner Holiday Disguise, stakes winner Midnight Disguise and Grade 1-placed Forest Caraway. Talladega was consigned by ELiTE, agent for WinStar Racing.
“He’s just a lovely horse,” said Tom Clark, who signed the ticket. “He’ll go to the Middle East to race there. The client liked him. Just a big, classy horse, a lovely horse.”
David Lanigan, agent for Heider Family Racing, paid $310,000 for Hibernacle, a 2-year-old filly by Hootenanny, who on April 12 won her debut by 7½ lengths at Keeneland. Hunter Valley Farm, agent, consigned Hibernacle, who is entered to race in the $200,000 Kentucky Juvenile Stakes on Thursday at Churchill Downs.
“It is so hard to buy a yearling in September,” Lanigan said. “(With a racing age sale) you get to see them run, see how they perform on the track and see them afterwards. This sale is a great initiative and it is well supported.”
Out of Searchingforahero, by Officer, Hibernacle won her debut for trainer Wesley Ward, who also bred and owned her. Based at Keeneland, Ward owns a farm next to the track where he privately stands Hootenanny, winner of the 2014 Windsor Castle Stakes at Royal Ascot in England and Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1).
“I really didn’t have any big intention on selling her,” Ward said. “It was more of a thank you for Keeneland for all these years of being kind to me.”
David Ingordo, agent, paid $310,000 for the 4-year-old Dialed In colt Peaceful Waters, who earned a 92 Beyer when he captured a Keeneland allowance race on April 16 in his 2023 debut. A half-brother to stakes winner The Grass Is Blue, Peaceful Waters is out of the winning, stakes-placed mare Shine Softly, by Aldebaran. Peaceful Waters, who was consigned by Hunter Valley Farm, agent, is from the family of champion Soaring Softly, Grade 1 winner Plenty of Grace and Grade 2 winner Manitoulin.
Michael Dubb acquired Spirit of St Louis, a 4-year-old gelding by Medaglia d’Oro, for $280,000. In two starts at Aqueduct, the gelding won his career debut in February and was second in an April 6 allowance race. ELiTE, agent for White Birch Farm, consigned Spirit of St Louis, whose full sister Bar of Gold won the 2017 Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint (G1).
Carmel Road, who sold for $260,000 to Pedro Lanz, agent for KAS Stables, was second in the Los Alamitos Futurity (G2) to Practical Move, second on the list of leading point earners to Saturday’s Kentucky Derby (G1) Presented by Woodford Reserve.
“We were looking for a (son of) Quality Road for racing in Saudi Arabia,” Lanz said. “This is a great sale to find a horse with potential. He was second to one of the main contenders in the Kentucky Derby. Nice pedigree, stallion potential. We’re very happy.”
Lanz said Carmel Road was their “main target in this sale.”
“They are trying to get the best horses in North America to compete at the best level,” Lanz said about KAS Stables. “Maybe we’ll have a horse for the Saudi Cup next year. Since Emblem Road (by Quality Road) won the Saudi Cup, they are fans of Quality Road. And we found one.”
Consigned by ELiTE, agent, Carmel Road is out of the stakes-winning Unbridled’s Song mare Inspired and a half-brother to stakes-placed Night Time Lady. He is from the family of Grade 1-placed National Treasure.
Sycamore Hall Farm/David Wade, agent, paid $240,000 for Ocean City, a 3-year-old colt by American Pharoah, who is a half-brother to champion Jackie’s Warrior and on April 20 at Keeneland scored a 1¼-length victory in a 1-mile maiden special weight race on the turf. Consigned by Highgate Sales, agent, he is out of Unicorn Girl, a winning daughter of A. P. Five Hundred.
“I thought the price was fair,” Wade said. “Going to take him to Laurel and give him to (trainer) Brittany Russell. We have Northview Stallion Station in Maryland. Hopefully we can get some black type and stand him at stud.”