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Justify yearlings set to grab headlines at Keeneland

10 min read
From the moment he attracted 41 Group/Grade 1-winning mares in his first North American book at Coolmore in 2019, Triple Crown winner Justify (USA) seemed destined for success as a stallion. Many of the star yearlings from that first crop are set to play a major role at this week's Keeneland September Sale.

There were 90 Justify yearlings catalogued to go through the ring at Keeneland over the next two weeks, and with eight withdrawals, he will have 82 in total under the hammer. The first session, to be held from 1pm local on Monday (3am AEST on Tuesday), will feature 15 lots by the son of Scat Daddy (USA).

The first yearlings by the Triple Crown winner were offered at the Fasig Tipton Saratoga Sale last month, with four yearlings sold at an average price of just under US$570,000 (AU$775,000) and accounted for two of the top 10 yearlings after Day 1 of the Sale.

The Late Scat Daddy (USA)

His Saratoga Sale highlight was a colt that sold for US$825,000 (AU$1.12 million), from Medaglia D’Oro (USA) mare Bar Of Gold (USA), purchased by Travis Durr as agent for David Hudson.

“He's just a good-looking horse that we really liked, so we definitely spent more than we usually would,” said Hudson after the sale.

Justify (USA) x Bar Of Gold (USA) (colt)

Micro-share company My Racehorse purchased a Justify filly at the Saratoga Sale for US$625,000 (AU$850,000), while a partnership that includes some those who know Justify best – SF Bloodstock and Starlight Racing – picked up a colt for US$470,000 (AU$639,000).

Justify’s first crop of foals sold up to US$600,000 (AU$815,661) at the 2020 Keeneland November Breeding Sale, while the first mares in foal to him sold up to US$3.2 million (AU$4.35 million) at Keeneland in 2019. Earlier this year in Japan, a Justify yearling secured a price of ¥200 million (AU$2.47 million)

Justify (USA) x Dorothy's Aurora (USA) (colt) purchased by SF Bloodstock and Starlight Racing

In Australia in 2021, Justify's first Southern Hemisphere weanlings sold up to $300,000 and the success of his first American crop of yearlings at Keeneland this week will be closely monitored by those who intend to take his Australian yearlings to the sales in the first half of 2022.

The son of Scat Daddy bred 474 mares in his first two seasons with a US$150,000 (AU$203,915) stud fee. TDN America recently spoke to Coolmore America’s Adrian Wallace to find out how breeders had responded to the stallion.

“The quality of mares that Justify covered has been second to none," said Wallace.

"The quality of mares that Justify covered has been second to none." - Adrian Wallace

“He covered over 70 Grade I winners or producers in his first book and the quality really hasn't changed in the subsequent two books. He's a horse that was obviously brilliant on the racetrack and he's been brilliant at stud as well.

“We're now getting ready to see that as the sales start. These pedigrees are replete with quality, which is what you'd expect for a horse of Justify's calibre.”

Sireline traits

A member of the second-to-last crop of Scat Daddy, Justify's now one of five sons representing Coolmore at stud both in America and Ireland.

“One of the things I'll always remember is when we were looking at this crop of Scat Daddy that included Mendelssohn and Justify, (Coolmore's) Paul Shanahan said to us that we are only just now beginning to realise how much of a loss Scat Daddy was to us,” Wallace recalled.

When describing the types that Scat Daddy left, Wallace mentioned there was a range of physical traits the sire could leave, which appears to also have carried across to his sire son.

“I won't say that Scat Daddy didn't stamp his horses, but it's a trait of the Scat Daddy line that they're all different,” Wallace said.

“He (Justify) is a very big, imposing horse. He was a US$500,000 (AU$679,720) Keeneland September graduate, so obviously a very good-looking horse." - Adrian Wallace

“He's very correct, a good mover who stands over a lot of ground and has a great shoulder and hip. He's one of those horses that when you see him, he's captivating.

“A lot of Justify's yearlings are quite different, although they tend to be a very good size, are easy movers and are generally correct.”

Con Te Partiro relation

The final Justify yearling to go through the ring on the opening day, Hip 193 - a colt already named Justify Doc (USA) - carries the most interest from an Australian perspective. Offered by Taylor Made on behalf of the Estate of Daniel Kessler, he is a three-quarter brother to multiple Australian Group 1 winner Con Te Partiro (USA) (Scat Daddy {USA}).

Con Te Partiro (USA) (Red and black silks), three-quarter sister to Justify Doc (USA)

Con Te Partiro, who won both the G1 Coolmore Classic and G1 Coolmore Legacy for Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott in 2020, was purchased for US$1.6 million (AU$2.18 million) by David Redvers Bloodstock at the 2020 Keeneland November Sale

This colt is also a half-brother to stakes winner and multiple Graded stakes-placed Donworth (USA) (Tiznow {USA}) and his dam is the Grade 1-placed Temple Street (USA) (Street Cry {Ire}).

Denali Stud, meanwhile, has a trio of Justifys to sell, including two in the second session.

"We have three very well-bred fillies on offer by Justify this September and we are excited to showcase each of them." - Conrad Bandoroff

"We have three very well-bred fillies on offer by Justify this September and we are excited to showcase each of them. All three of them are out of some seriously strong mares and when you look through the catalogue of the Justifys, he covered a stellar group of mares in his first book," Denali Stud's Conrad Bandoroff said.

"Physically, the Justifys that I have seen all have good size and scope to them and possess the strength and substance that you’d expect when you look at Justify. They are well-balanced horses with tons of bone.

"I fully expect there to be some horses in September by Justify bringing all the money, and I hope we will have a shot with ours."

On offer by Denali Stud is Hip 291 is a filly out of Bye Bye Baby (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}), a winner of the G3 Blue Wind S. and a sister to G1 Epsom Derby winner Serpentine (Ire).

Winner of the G3 Blue Wind S., Bye Bye Baby (Ire)

Hip 316 is a half-sister to G1 Clement Hirsch S. winner Iotapa (USA) (Afleet Alex {USA}), out of Concinnous (USA) (El Corredor {USA}), and Hip 687, to be sold later in the Sale, is a half-sister to G2 American Turf S. winner Global View (USA) (Galileo {Ire}).

Glennwood duo highlight Justify breeder

Two yearlings sell on the second day of the Sale (Tuesday local, Wednesday AEST), through the draft of the Gunther family's Glennwood Farm, who bred Justify themselves and sold him for US$500,000 (AU$679,720) through this Sale five years ago.

Tanya Gunther, when speaking to TDN AusNZ previously, recalled how the stallion stood out from very early impressions.

“Justify set himself apart from his peers at Glennwood relatively early on, with a few signal lights at first followed by flashing neon,” Gunther said. “I don’t recall a time when he wasn’t confident and strong-willed.

“As Justify developed through his yearling year, he had physicality and presence ahead of his peers and this separation increased through the sales preparation process, which came easy to him.

“Justify is also very intelligent and he became increasingly aware of his physical superiority, which made him just that little bit more demanding than his peers! He made himself noticed. It seems to me that Justify was a force of nature almost from inception.”

Glennwood Farm will offer Hip 200, a colt out of Grade 3-winning Street Sense (USA) mare Tiger Moth (USA). He was the first foal by Justify to arrive at the farm in February last year with Tiger Moth a half-sister to Grade 2 winner Last Gunfighter (USA) (First Samurai {USA}).

The other Justify offering from Glennwood Farm in the second session is Hip 387, a half-sister to G1 Hollywood Derby winner Mo Town (USA) (Uncle Mo {USA}) out of Bernardini (USA) mare Grazie Mille (USA).

Later in the Sale, Glennwood also presents Hip 1056, a Justify filly out of Fact Fiel (USA) (Dixie Union {USA}).

Noted pedigrees on offer

A colt by Justify, consigned by Bluegrass Thoroughbred Services, kicks the Keeneland September Sale off as Hip 1 of the 4032-strong catalogue. The colt is out of stakes-winning mare I Bet Toni Knows (USA) (Sunriver {USA}), making him a three-quarter brother to multiple Grade 3 winner Toinette (USA) (Scat Daddy {USA}).

Another early highlight is Hip 16, a filly out of G3 Tempted S. winner Jacaranda (USA) (Congrats {USA}), consigned by Mill Ridge Sales, who is a half-sister to WinStar Farm stallion and G1 Florida Derby winner Constitution (USA).

Hip 72, a filly bred by Town and Country Horse Farms and Frank and Kim Taylor, and consigned by Taylor Made Sales, will also create plenty of interest. She is a half-sister to multiple Grade 1 winner and Champion sprinter Points Offthebench (USA) (Benchmark {USA}) as well as two other stakes winners.

G1 Chandelier S. winner Noted And Quoted (USA) (The Factor {USA}) is the dam of Hip 94, a colt offered by Taylor Made on behalf of Aaron and Marie Jones. The mare was offered in foal with this colt in 2019, and passed in for US$950,000 (AU$1.29 million), giving some insight into the value he might carry into the ring.

The half-brother to G1 Breeders' Cup Juvenile, Arkansas Derby and Claiborne Breeders' Futurity-winner Classic Empire (USA) (Pioneerof The Nile {USA}), will attract plenty of interest when put forward by Bluewater Sales as Hip 133. Their dam, Sambuca Classica (USA) (Cat Thief {USA}), has produced two other stakes winners and six winners overall.

Hip 170 is a colt out of G1 Hollywood Starlet S. winner Streaming (USA) (Smart Strike {USA}) and is being offered by Hill 'N' Dale Sales. That's the family of blue hen mare, Better Than Honour (USA) (Deputy Minister {USA}), who sold for a world record US$14 million (AU$19 million) in 2008, and is the dam of this colt's grandam Teeming (USA) (Storm Cat {USA}), who has produced five stakes performers.

Clearsky Farms offers two very well-related Justify yearlings through the second session. Hip 243 is a half-sister to G1 Bing Crosby S. winner Lord Nelson (USA), while Hip 288 is a half-brother to G1 Pegasus World Cup winner Arrogate (USA).

Hill 'N Dale presents Hip 253, a Justify filly out of a sister to American Pharoah (USA), thus combining the pedigree pages of the two recent US Triple Crown winners. His dam, American Cleopatra (USA) (Pioneerof The Nile {USA}), was placed in a G1 Del Mar Debutante S., and is a half-sister to another Grade 1 winner, Chasing Yesterday (USA) (Tapit {USA}).

Hips 271 and 272 are another pair of very well-bred Justify fillies. Hip 271 is consigned by Woods Edge Farm and is a half-sister to Darley shuttle stallion Harry Angel (Ire), while Hip 272 is consigned by Gainesway for Stonestreet Farms and is a half-sister to G1 Breeders' Cup Sprint winner Runhappy (USA) (Secret Saver {USA}).

Also on offer through the second session is a Hip 340, a half-brother to multiple Grade 1 winner Midnight Bisou (USA) (Midnight Lute {USA}), out of G3 Florida Oaks winner Diva Delite (USA) (Repent {USA}). He is consigned by Hunter Valley Farm.

The Justify quality by no means ends there and with so many well-bred yearlings by the Coolmore stallion, you can see him hogging the headlines across a very busy 11 sessions at Keeneland over the next couple of weeks.

Con Te Partiro
Glennwood Farm
Denali Stud
Conrad Bandoroff
Keeneland September Sale