Hill ‘n’ Dale Farms Buys Champion Lady Eli For $4.2 Million At Keeneland November Sale

John G. Sikura had gotten used to seeing champion turf mare Lady Eli at his Hill ‘n’ Dale Farm in the year she boarded there, and for $4.2 million, the daughter of Divine Park gets to stay there.

Lady Eli (Hip 111) was slated to be one of the high-profile offerings in last year’s Keeneland November Breeding Stock Sale, but she was scratched after coming out of her rough final start in the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf at Del Mar with lacerations and a puncture wound that required stall rest. Hill ‘n’ Dale Sales Agency was to consign the mare at that sale, and when she was given the all-clear to travel, she went to Sikura’s Lexington, Ky., farm for the first year of her retirement. In the meantime, Lady Eli was bred to War Front.

“It’s a lot of money for a horse, but I thought she was an extremely good value,” Sikura said. “I’m going to get her home first, focus on this foal (the one she is currently carrying), and worry about who to breed her back. I’m sure we could get to most stallions in the world, so we’ll just wait a little bit.

“She is indomitable,” he continued. “She has a no-nonsense approach. She tolerates people. She knows she’s special and she commands your respect. She’s an elite mare, and we’ll try to keep accumulating elite mares and sell an elite bunch of yearlings. It’s a good place to start when you buy champions.”

Lady Eli was trained by Chad Brown for Sheep Pond Partners, a group that includes Sol Kumin and Jay Hanley. The mare won 10 of 14 starts for earnings of $2,959,800, highlighted by wins in the 2014 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf, as well as the G1 Belmont Oaks Invitational Stakes, Flower Bowl Stakes, Gamely Stakes, and Diana Stakes, among other graded wins.

However, Lady Eli’s biggest win came in her battle against laminits, which brought her 2015 campaign to an abrupt end after she stepped on a nail. The condition became potential life-threatening after she showed signs of laminitis in both front feet, but she recovered to win multiple Grade 1 races.

Lady Eli is out of the winning Saint Ballado mare Sacre Coeur, whose four winners from seven runners also includes G3 winner Bizzy Caroline.

Hanley bought Lady Eli on behalf of Sheep Pond Partners for $160,000 at the 2014 Keeneland April 2-year-olds in training sale. Because the partnership does not maintain a breeding program, putting the champion through the auction ring was always the endgame, even after scratching from last year’s sale.

“It was kind of a long year, but we knew she was in very capable hands with John and his crew at Hill ‘n’ Dale,” Hanley said. “We made the big decision last year when she came out of the Breeders’ Cup race, I talked with Sol and Chad the next morning and she was pretty banged up. A lot of the cuts ended up being superficial, but it was to the point where we didn’t want to put her through the sale experience. It feels like the last chapter in what’s been a really amazing sort of novel.”

The end result took longer than expected after Lady Eli’s scratch from last year’s sale, but Hanley said it was worth the wait.

“The last couple weeks have been very bittersweet, thinking of her leaving our stewardship, but she owes us nothing at all,” he said. “She’s been the best ride we could have ever hoped for. We’re really happy that she’s going to stay home here and be in Kentucky, and we can come here and visit her with our kids. That was really one of our underlying goals, to try to achieve that. You can’t always do that when you run them through the ring, but we’re really happy she’s staying home.”

Clearsky Farm Buys Out Partner For $750,000 Weanling Half-Sister To Arrogate

The weanling portion of the Keeneland November sale catalog saw one of its highlights early in Monday’s trade, with Clearsky Farms buying out partner Hill ‘n’ Dale Farms to secure Hip 29, a half-sister to champion Arrogate by Tapit for $750,000.

Much like Lady Aurelia’s sale-topping $7.5-million offering during last night’s Fasig-Tipton Kentucky Fall Selected Mixed Sale, the Tapit filly was put through the ring to dissolve a partnership, with the market potentially deciding the buyout price for the exiting party.

Clearsky Farms initially owned the dam, the Grade 3-placed stakes-winning Distorted Humor mare Bubbler, and Hill ‘n’ Dale bought in for half while she was pregnant with the Tapit filly. In addition to Arrogate, North America’s all-time leading earner, Bubbler is also the dam of stakes winner Osare. The filly’s third dam is the champion juvenile Meadow Star.

“We liked the filly and obviously, we’re familiar with the family,” said Clearsky Farms’ Bernard Cleary. “We have a yearling filly by Into Mischief and a Giant’s Causeway 2-year-old that we have high hopes for, so maybe they’ll add to the family in the future.”

Cleary said the decision on whether to keep the May 1 filly to race or sell her as a yearling would be made at a later time.

Hill ‘n’ Dale Sales Agency consigned the filly, as agent.

After the sprint last night, we begin the marathon.

The 12-day Keeneland November Breeding Stock Sale kicked off on Monday with a boutique single-session Book 1 that cataloged 251 entries. Over the course of the auction’s seven books, a combined 4,513 horses are cataloged, offering mares, foals, racing prospects, and stallions.

Among the highest-profile offerings in Book 1 are champion turf female Lady Eli (Hip 111), offered in-foal to War Front; multiple seven-figure yearling producer Rote (Hip 175), in-foal to Frosted; and Treasure Trail (Hip 226), a half-sister to Zenyatta and dam of G3 winner Long Island Sound, offered carrying a full sibling to that runner by War Front; and G1 winner Zipessa (Hip 245), offered in-foal to Medaglia d’Oro

Racing or broodmare prospects in the catalog include Grade 1 winners Vasilika (Hip 231) Sailor’s Valentine (Hip 177) and Lady Ivanka (Hip 112), G3 winner Sassy Sienna (Hip 180), and multiple graded stakes winner Elysea’s World (Hip 62).

To view the sale catalog, click here.

To follow the results, click here.

To watch live video of the sale, click here.

The post Hill ‘n’ Dale Farms Buys Champion Lady Eli For $4.2 Million At Keeneland November Sale appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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