Abel Tasman
Source: Keeneland Photo

Champion Abel Tasman sold for $5 million to Coolmore’s M.V. Magnier to lead Monday’s robust opening session of the 2019 Keeneland January Horses of All Ages Sale. The amount for Abel Tasman, cataloged as a broodmare prospect, equals the $5 million spent at the 2000 January Sale for Mackie, a well-bred daughter of Summer Squall in foal to Mr. Prospector, as the highest price in January Sale history.

On Monday, Keeneland sold 223 horses for $21,052,200, for an average of $94,404 and a median of $39,000. During last year’s first session, 186 horses grossed $13,265,100, for an average of $71,318 and a median of $45,000.

Trained by Hall of Famer Bob Baffert, Abel Tasman proved herself one of the best distaffers of her generation, recording six Grade 1 wins and earnings of nearly $2.8 million during her racing career. She was the 2017 champion 3-year-old filly following wins in the Kentucky Oaks, Acorn and Coaching Club American Oaks, and is a finalist for the 2018 Eclipse as champion older mare after notching wins in the Ogden Phipps and Personal Ensign.
Out of the Deputy Minister mare Vargas Girl, Abel Tasman is a half-sister to Grade 3 winner Sky Girl and stakes-placed Moonlight Sky.

“(It’s a lot of money), but she’s a queen, isn’t she?” Dermot Ryan, manager of Coolmore’s Ashford Stud near Lexington, said about purchasing Abel Tasman. “They are very rare when they come across like that, animals like her. She had everything; she’d be anybody’s dream filly to own. She’ll go to one of the Coolmore sires. M.V. (Magnier) will talk to his dad and partners and make a decision (on which stallion).

“We’re absolutely thrilled to have her. It is always significant when you get a queen like her, so hopefully she’ll go on and produce by one of our own stallions. It is very possible she will (stay in America).”

Taylor Made Sales Agency was Monday’s leading consignor, selling 50 horses for $9,433,000. They included four of the session’s 10 highest-priced sellers.

With the purchase of Abel Tasman, Magnier was the day’s leading buyer.

Bidding for Abel Tasman opened at $3 million, and the final price of $5 million landed her in a tie as the most expensive horse ever sold at the January Sale. In 2000, Britton House Stud paid $5 million for Mackie, in foal to Mr. Prospector. A Grade 3 winner by Summer Squall out of Broodmare of the Year Glowing Tribute, Mackie was a half-sister to Kentucky Derby Sea Hero, Grade 1 winner Hero’s Honor and Grade 2 winners Glowing Honor and Wild Applause, she was consigned by Eaton Sales, agent.

Summer Wind Equine paid $750,000 for A Star Is Born (IRE), a 9-year-old daughter of Galileo (IRE) in foal to War Front with a full sibling to stakes winner and Group 1-placed Fleet Review. Consigned by Hill ‘n’ Dale Sales Agency, agent, A Star Is Born is a full sister to Irish highweight and Group 1 winner Rip Van Winkle (IRE) and a half-sister to Italian Group 3 winner Le Vie Infinite.

Monday’s third-high seller is 2018 Del Mar Oaks winner Fatale Bere (FR), a broodmare prospect who sold to Shadai Farm of Japan for $700,000. Supplemented to the January Sale, the 4-year-old daughter of Pedro the Great and the Saumarez (GB) mare Mofa Bere was consigned by ELiTE.

Ardfield Bloodstock paid $375,000 for Monday’s top-priced yearling, a colt by Into Mischief whose third dam is Hall of Famer and Broodmare of the Year Personal Ensign. Taylor Made Sales Agency, agent, consigned the yearling, whose dam is the stakes-placed Distorted Humor mare Mary Rita.

The day’s second-highest-priced yearling, a colt by Triple Crown winner American Pharoah who is a half-brother to European highweight Certify and Grade 1 winner Cry and Catch Me, sold to Brady Bloodstock for $330,000.
Peter O’Callaghan, who signed the ticket, said the colt likely would be resold at Keeneland’s 2019 September Yearling Sale.

Consigned by Hurstland Farm, agent, the colt is out of the stakes-winning Doc’s Leader mare Please Sign In and from the family of English champion Habitat.