International Sales News

Knockgriffin Farm hits $900,000 home run with Constitution colt at Keeneland

Halfway through Sunday, at the Keeneland September Yearling Sale, Knockgriffin Farm led a Constitution (Tapit) colt up to the sales pavilion. The US$100,000 pinhook saw bidding go wild over the internet and phone, stopping at US$900,000 (approx. AU$1,398,058) with Pin Oak Stud victorious.

“He was amazing at the sale; he showed about 150 times in the two days and was unbelievably popular,” Jim Fitzgerald of Knockgriffin Farm said. “Every time he came out, he was professional, up and down with a huge walk, just kept over the ground and never took a bad step. He thrived in the atmosphere, ears up, happy horse, and got on with it. The good ones have a way of getting it done.”

The colt, consigned as Hip 1777, out of the Curlin (Smart Strike) mare Low Pressure Zone, was picked up by Fitzgerald and his partners earlier this year during the Keeneland January Horses of All Ages Sale from Lane’s End. Gage Hill Stable II, W.S. Farish and Ken Langone bred the colt in Kentucky.

“He was very raw looking, he had such lovely action and got a hold of the ground so well, I fell in love with him,” Fitzgerald recalled from January when he purchased the colt. “I didn’t think I would be able to afford him, but he fell into my lap. I took him home to the farm, and he hasn’t turned a hair wrong. He’s been an easy horse, easy on himself, a beautiful mover, and lives on fresh air, being an easy keeper.”

Knockgriffin Farm is based in Versailles at Two Bucks Farm, the same land 2001 Horse of the Year and Kentucky Derby winner Monarchos (Maria’s Mon) thrived on.

“He’s a beautiful Constitution colt. We bought three last year, the first of which ran at Churchill Friday, Parchment Party, and had a big win,” Matt Weinmann, with Equine Analysis who assists Pin Oak Stud, said. “I thought we would come back to that well, we love all three that we bought last year. He was a clear physical standout in Book 3 and was straightforward.”

The page boasts the stakes-placed Virginia Eloise as a full sister to the first dam, and they herald from the family of Miss Macy Sue (Trippi), a winner in the Winning Colors Stakes (Gr 3, 6f) and, most notably, the dam of sires Liam’s Map (Unbridled’s Song) and Not This Time (Giant’s Causeway).

Liam’s Map won the 2015 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (Gr 1, 8f), setting a new track record at Keeneland. En route to his championship win, he captured the Woodward Stakes (Gr 1, 9f) at Saratoga for his connections. The son of Unbridled’s Song (Unbridled) stands at Lane’s End for an advertised fee of US$40,000 (approx. AU$62,135).

His Giant’s Causeway (Storm Cat) brother, Not This Time, won the Iroquois Stakes (Gr 3, 8.5f) in 2016 and ran second best in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (Gr 1, 8.5f) for his owner/breeder the Albaugh Family Stables. He took to stud duty in 2017 at Taylor Made Stallions and stood the 2023 breeding season for US$135,000 (approx. AU$209,681).

“He was tough enough when you hand walked him, which we did a lot of, he would walk your legs off … you couldn’t keep up with him,” Fitzgerald confessed. “I had to give him to one of the younger guys; I couldn’t keep up. He has a fabulous mind. I have been around a few Constitutions, and I love their minds, smart, but competitive. I think he has that nature about him and hopefully becomes a wonderful racehorse.”

As to the hefty price, Weinmann wasn’t overly surprised, noting, “I put him in the $500,000 to $600,000, but with two stallions on the page in Liam’s Map and Not This Time, I knew he had a chance to top this session. We stretched slightly but knew we would have to pay.”

Pin Oak Stud made three purchases, including a US$600,000 (approx. AU$931,915) Justify (Scat Daddy) colt from Mt. Brilliant Farm and a US$250,000 (approx. AU$388,298) Vekoma (Candy Ride) colt from Paramount Sales.

Four horses sold for US$500,000 or more during Sunday’s sixth session and also included a Candy Ride (Ride The Rails) colt (Hip 1791) for US$700,000 (approx. AU$1,087,235) to Donato Lanni, agent for SF/Starlight/Madaket) and a Medaglia D’Oro (El Prado) colt (Hip 1852) to Winchell Thoroughbreds LLC.

Selling from Book 3 concluded with 287 horses changing hands of the 358 on offer Sunday for gross receipts of US$39,703,000 (approx. AU$61,666,421). An average price of US$138,338 (approx. AU$214,865) and a median of $100,000 (approx. AU$155,000) was recorded. An RNA rate of 19.8 per cent represents the 71 yearlings who failed to attain their reserve.

During last year’s sixth session, 295 yearlings were traded of the 366 through the ring for a gross of US$40,947,000, at an average of US$138,803 and a median of US$105,000. The 71 yearlings who failed to sell represent an RNA rate of 19.4 per cent.

Over the past six selling sessions, 1,272 yearlings of the 1,618 on offer have sold for gross receipts of US$331,500,000 (approx. AU$514,883,479). An average price of US$260,613 (approx. AU$404,782) and a median of US$185,000 (approx. AU$287,340) was recorded. The 346 yearlings who remained unsold represent an RNA rate of 21.4 per cent.

At this time last year, 1,319 yearlings had sold of the 1,635 through the ring for a gross of US$339,273,000 for an average price of US$257,219 and a median of US$195,000. An RNA rate of 19.3 per cent represents the 326 yearlings who failed to sell.

“Book 1 was super difficult, we didn’t buy anything from Book 1,” Weinmann said. “It’s been a strong sale, and we came in to buy as many good colts as we could find, and now we think we have a good group and are pretty happy.”

The sale continues on Monday with hips 1966-2380 selling from Book 4, beginning at 10am local time.

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