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Early trading for Keeneland Book 2 saw a $370,000 Raven's Pass filly

  PICTURE: Keeneland - Coady Photography  

Day three ignited by $1.2m Bernardini filly

BENJAMIN Leon, whose Besilu Stables is a prominent owner with Todd Pletcher, struck during the opening hours of the  third session of the Keeneland September Sale when paying $1.2 million for a Bernardini half-sister to last year's Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf heroine Shared Account.

The fourth million dollar yearling of the sale, the filly was bred in partnership by consignor Valkyre Stud with Darley out of the winning Smart Strike mare Silk n' Sapphire.

"JJ Pletcher (father of Todd) found her and we felt she was up there with the best yearlings in this sale," said Leon, who purchased last year's $4.2 million sale-topper. "I liked everything about her - her bone structure, walk, pedigree. She has the whole package. Having said that, I didn't expect her to bring quite so much.

"My passion is breeding and the goal is to buy fillies with enough foundation in their families to breed from. I have a lot of hope for this industry. When the economy picks up - and it will one day - prices for thoroughbreds will go back up. This is a long term game for me."


Earlier, Sheikh Mohammed's advisor John Ferguson, who was the fourth leading buyer over the two days of the select Keeneland Yearling Sale, paid $370,000 for a daughter of Darley's first crop sire Raven's Pass.

 The filly, who bears a striking resemblance to her Breeders' Cup Classic-winning sire, was bred by Josephine Abercrombie's Pin Oak Stud out of the Kris S mare Rumors Are Flying, dam of Del Mar Listed winner No Use Denying. She was consigned by Elm Tree Farm.

"When Raven's Pass retired to stud in Ireland, we invited American breeders to use him," said Ferguson, who bid in the back walking ring while standing next to Raven's Pass' trainer John Gosden.

"This filly was bred by Josephine Abercrombie, who breeds a lot of good horses, and I was delighted when I saw her as not only does she come from a great farm but she's very like Raven's Pass - she has his body and a great mind.

"The idea is that some Raven's Pass yearlings will race in the US and Sheikh Mohammed will decide where this filly goes."




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