Breeders’ Cup Distaff Winner Blue Prize Goes To Best For $5 Million, Turf Sprint Winner Belvoir Bay Brings $1.5 Million

Nothing boosts an offering’s stock at the Fasig-Tipton November Sale like a Breeders’ Cup victory in the days leading up to the marquee auction, and that proved itself out with Breeders’ Cup Distaff winner Blue Prize, who sold to Larry Best’s OXO Equine for $5 million and Turf Sprint winner Belvoir Bay who sold to Mike Shannon, agent, for $1.5 million.

Best is rarely one to stray from the top of the market during sales for racing stock, but the purchase of Blue Prize marked a high-level foray into the broodmare market.

The new owner said the mare, offered as Hip 98, would be retired from racing and join his broodmare band at Taylor Made Farm in Nicholasville, Ky., which now has three members. He said he’d be seeking out advice for planning the 6-year-old Pure Prize mare’s first mating, and he’d breed both to race and sell depending on the situation.

“I’m now a breeder, and I now have a Breeders’ Cup champion – maybe the only way I’ll get one,” Best said with a smirk. “She’s just a special horse. There’s a lot of mares that I pass on that are presented to me as an opportunity, and I’m not a volume guy, I’m a quality guy.”

Despite being relatively new to his breeding endeavors, the purchase of the Argentine-born Blue Prize was still a return to familiar pedigrees for Best.

“One of my first horses was Instilled Regard, and the granddam of Instilled Regard is Heavenly Prize (the dam of Blue Prize’s sire, Pure Prize),” Best said. “If you look at the pedigree of this horse, Heavenly Prize is there, so I fell in love with that. It was a very expensive love affair, as you can tell.”

Blue Prize retires with 10 wins from 23 starts for earnings of $2,692,253. She was a standout in her native Argentina at three, winning the Group 1 Premio Seleccion and running second in two other group stakes races.

At four, she was relocated to the Kentucky barn of a fellow Argentine-born, trainer Ignacio Correras IV. Racing for owner Merribelle Stable, Blue Prize won her first graded stakes race later that year when she took the G2 Falls City Handicap at Churchill Downs. She went on a three-race streak late in her 5-year-old season that saw wins in the G2 Fleur de Lis Handicap, G3 Locust Grove Stakes, and G1 Spinster Stakes before finishing fourth in the 2018 Breeders’ Cup Distaff at Churchill Downs.

Blue Prize never finished worse than third during her 2019 campaign, but she didn’t win her first race of the season until August when she took the listed Summer Colony Stakes at Saratoga. The lightbulb came on in the mare after getting that taste of the winner’s circle, and she’d never lose another race. Blue Prize repeated in the G1 Spinster Stakes at Keeneland, then moved from five wide in the Santa Anita stretch to outkick favorite Midnight Bisou by 1 1/2 lengths in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff.

It was an incredible ride for Correras, who watched it come to an end at the fall of the hammer in the Newtown Paddocks pavilion just three days after it hit its highest point.

“I’m happy for the owners and happy for her, she’s going to go to a great place no doubt,” Correras said. “They’re going to take care of her so good luck to the him (Larry Best) and good luck to her.”

Best wasn’t at Santa Anita for the Breeders’ Cup, but he made himself familiar with Blue Prize after she arrived at the sales grounds in Lexington, Ky.

“Two days ago, I wasn’t intending on buying this horse,” he said. “It was a beautiful, sunny day, it was bout three in the afternoon, and this horse just got shipped in, and she just looked so gorgeous. Probably the most beautiful horse I’d ever seen. Hopefully, I’ll have success breeding her. I think it was a worthwhile risk Obviously, more money than anyone would want to pay, but she is a Breeders’ Cup champion, and if you look at her record, it’s just stellar.”

Bluegrass Thoroughbred Services consigned Blue Prize, as agent.

Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint Winner Belvoir Bay Brings $1.5 Million

The story of Belvoir Bay’s two days missing in the aftermath of the San Luis Rey fires are as much a part of the legend behind the mare as her Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint victory on Saturday at Santa Anita Park. As it turns out, the reward for finding the mare also included a $1.5-million hammer price at auction.

The 6-year-old Equiano mare, offered as Hip 96, was secured by bloodstock agent Mike Shannon on behalf of an unnamed, still-developing partnership

“It’s some different people, but we’re not sure yet who’s in and who’s not – You want in?” Shannon joked after signing the ticket.

Tough the specifics were still being nailed down, Shannon said Belvoir Bay would be retired from racing, and she would remain in the U.S.

Born in Great Britain, Belvoir Bay won twice on her native soil before being purchased by Team Valor International and Gary Barber and moved stateside to finish her juvenile season. Her campaign finished with a win in the listed Blue Norther Stakes at Santa Anita.

Belvoir Bay remained based on the West Coast with trainer Peter Miller for the remainder of her career, where she racked up wins in the G3 Torrey Pines Stakes and G3 Senator Ken Maddy Stakes. In December 2017, she was listed as one of the missing after wildfires tore through the San Luis Rey Downs Training Center, where Miller keeps a string. She had set free from her stall to give her a chance of surviving the blaze, and was later found and identified in someone else’s barn. Belvoir Bay spent two weeks at San Luis Rey Downs Equine Clinic receiving hyperbaric oxygen treatments and recovering from injuries from the incident.

“She really and truly ran for her life (in the San Luis Rey fire),” said Meg Levy of consignor Bluewater Sales. “I just can’t even imagine. We were talking about those dots on her coat whether they were from the fire because she was obviously turned loose in the middle of the cinders.”

When Belvoir Bay came back from the races, she came back with force. Her first start back was a win in the listed Mizdirection stakes, and the following months saw consecutive wins in the G3 San Simeon Stakes and G3 Monrovia Stakes.

Her 2019 campaign saw her start with wins in the Las Cienegas Stakes and Wishing Well Stakes as a prep for her first international start, a second to all-world turf sprinter Blue Point in the G1 Al Quoz Sprint on the Dubai World Cup card. Her season, and her career, finished with a blistering victory in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint at Santa Anita, where she completed five furlongs in a track-record :54.83 seconds.

“She’s the fastest mare in the world, I guess,” Shannon said. “She ran second to Blue Point in Dubai, and he’s supposed to be the best sprinter. She ran against the colts, and went wire-to-wire in the Breeders’ Cup. That’s a fast mare.”

Belvoir Bay is out of the winning Rock of Gibraltar mare Path of Peace, from the family of French champion Bold Arrangement.

The mare has been through a lot in her six years of life, but Levy said those challenges have created a true professional.

“Watching her deal with all this, running in that race, flying right here, coming into the barn, she has never batted a hair,” Levy said. “She went right in her stall, she ate her dinner. Fillies don’t do that. And she was just like ‘okay, what do we do now’. For her to go in there so professionally and do it.”

Best Lands $700,000 Weanling Uncle Mo Filly

Larry Best of OXO Equine struck early during the weanling portion of the Fasig-Tipton November Sale, going to $700,000 for Hip 70, an Uncle Mo filly.

The bay filly is out of the Grade 2-winning Harlan’s Holiday mare Summer Applause, who is the dam of one winner from two foals to race. Her extended page includes Grade 2 winner Recoup the Cash and Brazilian Broodmare of the Year Bandeira Nativa.

“She’s just one beautiful Uncle Mo filly,” Best said. “She’s well-bred, vetted out clean. Just from a long-term breeding standpoint, I’m pretty safe with the number, and hopefully it’s fast. She’s probably the nicest weanling here.”

Best is a known entity on the buying bench at weanling, yearling, and 2-year-old sales, which he said was about finding opportunity and capitalizing on it.

“It’s a piece of a strategy,” he said. “The yearling market has gone through the roof.”

The filly was bred in Kentucky by the Berglar family’s Narola LLC, which bases itself at Stonereath Farm in Paris, Ky. Lane’s End consigned her, as agent.

“She’s by far the best weanling we’ve had come off the farm since we’ve had the farm,” said Peter Berglar. “She was just a queen all the way through, since she was born. She’s straightforward, and we’re delighted that Mr. Best got her. We thought she was special, but you never know of other people will feel the same.”

Berglar said the farm’s weanlings performed well at last year’s Fasig-Tipton November sale, and he thought the auction’s format might have helped the Uncle Mo filly stand out.

“You have a smaller group of horses here, so you get a chance to shine a bit more, maybe, than they do at sales with bigger numbers,” he said. “We were hoping we’d get a reward bringing here. Lane’s End did a fantastic job, and all the credit goes to Allaire Ryan [sales director at Lane’s End].”

Selling elsewhere at this year’s Fasig-Tipton November sale…

Hip 150, Mia Mischief, a Grade 1-winning Into Mischief filly, sold to Stonestreet Stables for $2.4 million. The 4-year-old will remain in training with Steve Asmussen for the immediate future, and will be bred to Curlin when she eventually retires. Elite Sales consigned Mia Mischief as agent for owners Bill and Corrine Heiligbrodt, Scott Heider, and Madaket Stables.

“She’s beautiful physically and she’s rocket-fast,” said John Moynihan, bloodstock adviser for the Stonestreet operation. “That’s the kind of mare [Curlin’s] extremely well with, so we’re excited.”

Hip 95, Baffled, the dam of Grade 1 winner and top freshman sire Constitution, sold to Don Alberto Corp. for $1.8 million. Consigned by Denali Stud, agent, the Distorted Humor mare was offered in-foal to Medaglia d’Oro.

“All along I kind of had her in the million and a half to two million range,” said Conrad Bandoroff of consignor Denali Stud. “Obviously a mare like that, in foal to Medaglia d’Oro, if you get a good out of her, that’s what you’re going get out of that foal (price-wise). She’s a proven mare, a proven producer. I think people have the expectation that if you want to own a mare like that, that’s what you’re going to have to pay. It was good, it was right in line with our expectations.”

Hip 141, Laffina, the dam of Grade 1 winning juvenile Bast, sold to Eaton Bloodstock for $1.5 million. The 7-year-old placed Arch mare was offered in-foal to Ghostzapper, and she was consigned by Taylor Made Sales Agency, agent for BlackRidge Stables.

Hip 155, Mopotism, a Grade 1-winning racing/broodmare prospect by Uncle Mo, sold to Don Alberto Corp. for $1.05 million. The 5-year-old was consigned by Kingswood Farm, agent.

Business is about to pick up in central Kentucky.

Tonight’s Fasig-Tipton November sale kicks off a two-week run of mixed sales in the heart of the Bluegrass, and tonight’s single-session auction in particular will be one of the biggest single days of trade on the calendar.

This year’s edition took some heavy hits with the defections of Midnight Bisou, Bellafina, and Got Stormy, who all stood to bring seven-figure prices. However, the catalog still features some of the highest-profile broodmare and racing/broodmare prospects to go through the ring in 2019 will set foot in the spotlight at Newtown Paddocks.

Here is a rundown of some of the notable names set to sell this evening.

Hip 95, Baffled – The dam of Grade 1 winner and top freshman sire Constitution. She is offered in-foal to Medaglia d’Oro.

Hip 96, Belvoir Bay – The winner of this year’s Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint.

Hip 98, Blue Prize – The winner of this year’s Breeders’ Cup Distaff.

Hip 102, Coach Rocks – Winner of the G2 Gulfstream Park Oaks.

Hip 114, Escape Clause – The Assiniboia Assassin who is a G3 winner and took Midnight Bisou to the limit in the G1 Apple Blossom Handicap.

Hip 142, La Force – Winner of the G2 Santa Maria Stakes.

Hip 148, Champagne Anyone – Winner of the G2 Gulfstream Park Oaks.

Hip 150, Mia Mischief – Winner of the G1 Distaff Stakes.

Hip 161, Noted and Quoted – G1 winner in-foal to Justify.

Hip 163, Pacific Wind – Winner of G2 Ruffian Stakes.

Hip 173, Diva Delite – Dam of Midnight Bisou.

Hip 177, Separationofpowers – Winner of the G1 Frizette & Test Stakes.

Hip 178, Shamrock Rose – Champion Female Sprinter of 2018.

Hip 193, Vasilika – One of the biggest graded win machines of the past two years.

Hip 196, Wonder Gadot – Canada’s 2018 Horse of the Year.

Hip 197, Wow Cat – Chilean Horse of the Year & a G1 winner in the U.S.

The sale is traditionally a showcase for first-crop weanling sires, and this year’s is no different. The list of stallions with first weanlings in the sale include Arrogate, Battle of Midway, Classic Empire, Connect, Cupid, Gormley, Gun Runner, Keen Ice, Klimt, Lord Nelson, Mastery, Midnight Storm, Mohaymen, and Practical Joke.

Stallions whose first books of pregnant mares are in the Fasig-tipton November catalog include Triple Crown winner Justify, Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Accelerate, Bolt d’Oro, City of Light, Good Magic, and Mendelssohn.

To view the sale’s online catalog, results, and to watch live video, click here. 

The post Breeders’ Cup Distaff Winner Blue Prize Goes To Best For $5 Million, Turf Sprint Winner Belvoir Bay Brings $1.5 Million appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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