Debut stud fees announced for Arrogate and Gun Runner
The two front-runners for Horse of the Year honors had their debut stud fees announced within a half-hour of each other on Wednesday afternoon. Champion Arrogate will stand at Juddmonte Farms in Lexington, Ky., for $75,000 during the 2018 breeding season, while Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Gun Runner will command $70,000 at Three Chimneys Farm in Midway, Ky.
The initial book for Arrogate, a 4-year-old son of Unbridled’s Song, will be restricted to 142 mares.
“Our goal is always to provide the best value to our breeders,” said Garrett O’Rourke, manager of Juddmonte’s U.S. operation. “We will select the highest quality of mares to offer Arrogate the best chance to be as great a sire as he was a racehorse.”
Arrogate’s fee is among the highest advertised debut prices for a North American first-year stallion in recent years. Triple Crown winner American Pharoah debuted for $200,000 in 2016 at Coolmore’s Ashford Stud, matching the fee Adena’s Horse of the Year Ghostzapper entered stud for in 2006. Arrogate enters stud for the same fee as Curlin when he debuted in 2009. The highest advertised fee for an incoming North American stallion of 2017 was Grade 1 winner Frosted, who stood at Darley for $50,000.
Racing for Juddmonte, Arrogate won seven of 11 starts for earnings of $17,422,600, the most of any North American-bred horse in history. The Bob Baffert-trained runner’s notable wins included the Breeders’ Cup Classic, Dubai World Cup, and Pegasus World Cup Invitational Stakes, as well as the Grade 1 Travers Stakes.
Gun Runner, a 4-year-old son of Candy Ride, arrived at Three Chimneys on Monday to allow breeders an opportunity to inspect the stallion prospect, and he was scheduled to remain there until Friday. He was then to ship to the Fair Grounds barn of trainer Steve Asmussen to resume training in preparation for his final start in the Pegasus World Cup Invitational on Jan. 27, 2018.
Gun Runner’s Breeders’ Cup Classic win at Del Mar improved his record to 11 wins in 18 starts for earnings of $8,988,500. His other wins of note include the Grade 1 Whitney Stakes, Woodward Stakes, Clark Handicap, and Stephen Foster Handicap, the Grade 2 Louisiana Derby and Risen Star Stakes, and the Grade 3 Razorback Stakes and Matt Winn Stakes.
Gun Runner races for the partnership of Winchell Thoroughbreds and Three Chimneys.
Keeneland Book 1 gross falls
The select first book of the Keeneland November breeding stock sale posted a decline in gross from last year, but improved average and median sale prices, led by the $6 million champion Stellar Wind.
The auction’s first two sessions that made up Book 1 closed with 201 horses sold for revenues of $83,996,000. The gross was down 18 percent from last year’s two-day first book, when 253 offerings brought $102,919,000.
“I think the expectations were achieved,” Geoffrey Russell, Keeneland’s director of sales operations, said. “We’d like to have more horses in Book 1, obviously. That’s our goal, and that’s what we’ll work on. We’ll continue on into next week.
“There is a certain kind of quality or percentage of the market that deserves to be in Book 1 . . . . So our goal is to try and start the sale off with higher-end horses, and our job is to go out and get some more.”
Book 1’s average sale price rose 3 percent to $417,891 from $406,794, while the median jumped 15 percent to $300,000 from $260,000. The buyback rate for the first two sessions finished at 24 percent, compared with 29 percent during last year’s comparable sessions.
At the top of the market, four horses sold for $2 million or more, compared with six during last year’s Book 1. Total seven-figure transactions dropped slightly to 17 from 18, while horses sold for $500,000 or more declined to 47 from 64.
The Coolmore partnership bought champion Stellar Wind, offered as a racing or broodmare prospect, for $6 million in the opening session to top Book 1. The mare will be bred to Triple Crown winner American Pharoah, who is based at Coolmore’s Ashford Stud in Kentucky, for her first season as a broodmare. The young stallion’s first foals are weanlings of 2017.
Tuesday’s sale of Stellar Wind tied for the fifth-highest price in history among broodmare prospects sold at North American public auction who have never carried a foal, including horses in training offered as racing or broodmare prospects. Her price matched champion Take Charge Brandi, who sold to Hill ‘n’ Dale Farm at the 2015 Keeneland November sale. Stellar Wind and Take Charge Brandi also are tied for the third-highest price in the category in Keeneland November history.
Stellar Wind finished her ontrack career with 10 wins in 16 starts for earnings of $2,253,200. She scored six Grade 1 victories, taking the Apple Blossom Handicap, Santa Anita Oaks, Beholder Mile, Zenyatta Stakes, and two editions of the Clement L. Hirsch Stakes. She finished second in the 2015 Breeders’ Cup Distaff, and was named champion 3-year-old filly that season.
Stellar Wind was owned by Hronis Racing and trained by John Sadler. Lane’s End consigned her, as agent.
The Keeneland November sale continues daily through Nov. 18, beginning each day at 10 a.m. Eastern.
Champion Stellar Wind, who sold Tuesday for $6 million to Coolmore, topped Book 1 at the Keeneland November sale.