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Posted 2018-09-11 09:29:18  
American Pharoah Yearling Goes Big at Keeneland

The highly anticipated first crop of yearlings by 2015 Triple Crown winner and Horse of the Year American Pharoah, who won the 2015 Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) at Keeneland to close his career, and the participation of Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s Godolphin highlighted Monday’s opening session of the 2018 Keeneland September Yearling Sale. Godolphin paid $2.2 million for a colt by American Pharoah to top the session and record the highest price for a Thoroughbred sold at public auction in North America to date this year.

On Monday, Keeneland sold 138 yearlings, including five that fetched more than $1 million each, for gross sales of $48,620,000. The average was $352,319, and the median was $260,000. Monday marked the first of four sessions of the premier Book 1, which runs through Thursday and has 989 elite yearlings cataloged. Last year, Book 1 covered a single session with 167 yearlings in the catalog.

“It was a strong session with competitive bidding at the top,” Keeneland Vice President of Racing and Sales Bob Elliston said. “It is hard to do comparisons to last year because of the format change this year. Last year on the first day we had 167 horses (cataloged) in Book 1 and then three days of Book 2. This year, we have four days of a blended Books 1 and 2. If you try to do some comparisons, look at the numbers after four days. Every one of those indicators was dynamite. We are very encouraged that the sale started off like we wanted it to.”

American Pharoah led all sires on Monday with 12 yearlings selling for $6.335 million.

Godolphin was the session’s leading buyer, spending $7.28 million on 11 yearlings. In addition to the sale-topping American Pharoah colt, Godolphin’s purchases included a $1.3 million Medaglia d’Oro colt who is the first foal out of Grade 2 winner Moulin de Mougin consigned by Lane’s End, agent; $875,000 for a colt by Into Mischief from the family of Triple Crown winner Affirmed consigned by St. George Sales, agent; and $800,000 for a colt by Medaglia d’Oro out of multiple Grade 2 winner Hungry Island consigned by Gainesway, agent.

Darley America President and Racing Manager Jimmy Bell said Sheikh Mohammed’s appearance at Keeneland and his nearby Godolphin breeding operation after several years had thrilled many people.

“As you know he’s a very busy man, and everybody – obviously the staff of the farm – is so excited for him to come over here and have the opportunity to go through the farm and see the yearlings,” Bell said. “He just enjoys the horses so much, and he loves the sales. He is here with his wife and children. He is having a great stay, and we are delighted he is here. It makes it exciting for everybody.”

“It is an honor for us when Sheikh Mohammed is able to clear his schedule and come here,” Elliston said. “It has been about 10 years since he was last here. He has been such a huge supporter of Keeneland and the September Sale. To see him on the grounds and participate the way he did today is very rewarding for all of us here at Keeneland.” 

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