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War Front leads the way

3 min read

A pair of yearlings by War Front (USA) topped Keeneland Day 2, with a colt by the Claiborne stallion bringing a final bid of US$2.4 million (lot 458) from Coolmore’s M.V. Magnier, while Godolphin went to US$1.75 million (lot 389) for a daughter of the sire.

“What can I say about War Front? Over the past couple of years, we have been extremely lucky with his horses,” Coolmore’s M.V. Magnier said. “US Navy Flag, who is going to the Everest in a couple weeks and hopefully will have a good chance in that; Roly Poly, his sister, Navy Command, Declaration of War, Air Force Blue.'

Sheikh Mohammed already stands Nyquist (USA) at his Jonabell Farm in Kentucky and his Godolphin team grabbed a War Front half-sister to the 2015 champion juvenile and 2016 GI Kentucky Derby winner Tuesday for US$1.75 million.

“We all liked her, but if you ask me, she’s a stunning filly,” said trainer John Gosden, who signed the ticket. "She’s a stunningly good-looking filly by a great stallion and a half-sister to a Kentucky Derby winner. She’s bought to race, and to be a broodmare.”

Coolmore also went to US$1.2 million to acquire their fourth horse out of Pretty ‘n Smart, a filly from the first crop of Triple Crown winner American Pharoah (lot 306).

“She is a very nice filly by a very good sire. We were a little disappointed that we didn’t get the horse yesterday [the session-topping US$2.2 million American Pharoah colt]," said M.V. Magnier. "She is a lovely filly and she will go to Europe."

As for the decision to send this filly to run on the turf in Europe, Magnier said, “We are going to bring this filly to Ballydoyle. Bob Baffert said he really thought American Pharoah would have went on the grass. All those types are what Ballydoyle was built on really. We just have to get these American horses over on the grass in Europe and see how it goes.”

The hype was high on lot 443, a half-brother to undefeated Triple Crown winner Justify (USA), but when bidding stalled at US$1.75 million, the colt was led out unsold and returned to Glennwood Farm’s barn 47.

“Usually you wouldn’t be smiling after a high-priced RNA (reserve not attained), but we’re ok with it,” admitted Glennwood’s Tanya Gunther. “We’re happy to keep him. He’s a really nice colt.”

Gunther continued, “If somebody wanted to come in as a partner, that was something we wanted to do all along, that was our preferred route. We thought we’d come here for a public valuation and see if that was possible to do. If somebody wanted to come in for half, we’d be happy to entertain that. But we’re happy to go solo as well. We’ve had a lot of luck with our RNAs in the past.”

In all, 168 yearlings sold on Tuesday afternoon for a total of US$65,835,000. The session average was US$391,875 and the median was US$300,000. Of the 212 horses to go through the sales ring, only 44 were led out unsold.