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Ice Box wining the Florida Derby, Gulfstream Park 2010

Ice Box: the Florida Derby winner's dam Spice Island sold for $775,000

  PICTURE: EquiSport Photos/Z. Laskowski  

Topliner takes top billing in Keeneland opener

MONDAY'S opening session of the four-day Keeneland January mixed sale posted across-the-board gains and was led by Topliner, who sold to Katsumi Yoshida's Northern Farm for $1.4 million.

Overall, 209 horses sold for a gross of $13.9 million, up 30 per cent from 2011 when 187 horses went for $10.6 million.

The average was up 17 per cent from $57,153 to $66,661,while the median increased 60 percent from $20,000 to $32,000 when compared to last year.

Meanwhile, the rate of horses who didn't reach their reserves dropped by 21 per cent.

"I think the sale so far is solid," said Elliott Walden, president of WinStar Farm. "I feel like it is strong without being crazy."

Session-topper Topliner, who will be sent to Japan, is the dam of 2011 Grade 1 winner Star Billing. The ten-year-old Thunder Gulch mare is also a half-sister to multiple Grade 1 winners Stellar Jayne and Starrer. Consigned by Hill 'n' Dale Sales Agency, agent, she wasoffered in foal to Medaglia d' Oro.

"She is a young, proven mare and her family is great," said Naohiro Hosoda, who signed the ticket for Yoshida. "We expected (to pay) more than $1 million."

The second-highest price of the day came for Grade 2 winner Spice Island, who sold for $775,000. Hunter Valley Farm bought the mare on behalf of an undisclosed client.

Consigned by Bluewater Sales, agent, Spice Island is the dam of Grade 1 winner Ice Box, whose retirement to Calumet Farm was announced this week, and she was offered in foal to Tapit.

"It was a good price for her," said Bluewater's Meg Levy. "I think the stars kind of aligned with her being in foal to Tapit and Ice Box going to stud. She is a quality mare and people still want quality."

An Elusive Quality colt and a Tapit filly shared the honour of highest-priced yearling of the session, selling for $250,000 each.

Florida Bloodstock Investments bought the colt by Elusive Quality out of the graded stakes-placed mare Grace Anatomy. He was consigned by Paragon Farms, agent.

John D. Gunther purchased the Tapit filly from Three Chimneys Sales, agent for Nordic Thoroughbreds. She is out of the stakes-placed Harlan's Holiday mare Lady On Holiday.

"This was a good, solid start to the sale," said Walt Robertson, Keeneland's vice president of sales. "We saw significant increases in the gross, median, and average, and a big decrease in the RNA [reserves not attained] rate, while the top prices today mirrored last year's top prices at this session. All of these are favorable indicators and we hope that the momentum continues."






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