The fireworks of Keeneland's two-day Book One yesterday and today, interrupted by Fasig-Tipton's prestigious Selected sale held last evening, have been muted rather predictably by drops in gross, averages, and medians. I watched a few of my favorite mares walk through the ring to final bids of no more than double my annual salary (which is to say, a whole lot less than they would have sold for in recent years). And that was just the beginning.
Thursday ("day 3") starts Book Two at Keeneland, and I have my sites set on two fine mares. They'll go well beyond my range -- I won't look seriously at a mare until at least Book Four -- but I thought I'd share with you two of the hips that will have my full attention:
Hip 717 is the 7-year-old grey or roan mare Bergamot (catalog page).
Bergamot is a daughter of the intriguingly-bred Summer Squall. Recently euthanized, Summer Squall had the distinction of being by Storm Cat's sire and out of A.P. Indy's dam. Pretty nice combination. The champion colt of 1990 became a consistently popular Lane's End fixture and has added a new role to his playlist in 2009: he entered the list of top 100 broodmare sires (currently #58).
You'll recognize Bergamot's dam, Sharon Brown, better as the producer of another popular stallion: Holy Bull (savior of the Himyar/Plaudit sire line).
Bergamot sells in foal to Ghostzapper, with the match resulting in a 5x4 direct sire line inbreeding to Northern Dancer (common enough) and another 5x4 cross to Sharon Brown's grandsire The Axe II (seen much less frequently). Because Bergamot was a late foal for her dam, she's still quite young with many producing years ahead of her. If her most successful half-sister is any guide -- Brandy Rose has produced three stakes winners -- Bergamot is going to do well with strains of Secretariat and Tom Fool, and of course some of the good Tartan bloodlines that produced Holy Bull would be an excellent choice as well. (Yet again, I pine for Judge T.C.)
The other Day 3 mare that really caught my eye was hip 753, the 2003 mare Coronado's Dancer (catalog page).
Now, I'm a simple guy when it comes to my pedigree likes, and Coronado's Dancer stands out because she satisfies several of my most basic bloodstock fascinations. Her sire line descends from one great mare after another: Coronado's Quest is from the line of Shenanigans (dam of Ruffian and Icecapade and Buckfinder); Forty Niner is of historic Claiborne breeding and continues the line of Continue (granddam of Swale); Mr. Prospector is from the great sire-producing family of Frizette and Myrtlewood.
And while Coronado's Dancer's own 7-e family is perhaps less celebrated in the U.S., her dam is a full sister to Sandpit (BRZ), the spectacular winner of nine group/grade I races whose tragic early demise likely cost the world a savior for the Sassafras (FR)/Baynoun (IRE) branch of the Hurry On (GB) sire line. As a fan of rare sire lines in general and of Sandpit specifically, this mare's close relationship has me excited to watch her as she's presented and then brought through the ring.
Coronado's Dancer sells in foal to Lion Heart. I'd look at future matings to return crosses of Claiborne families in her stallion choices.
So, looking just at Book Two (days 3 and 4), which hips do you like? What makes them stand out? Who would you send them to for future matings?