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Hip 43, a Bernardini colt out of Brandy Rose, got the ball rolling at KEESEP
Sunday, September 11, 2011

43, a Bernardini colt out of Brandy Rose (Distinctive Pro), got the ball rolling at KEESEP Sunday night by attracting a winning bid of $875,000 from Demi O'Byrne. The dark bay's dam, a half to champion Holy Bull, boasts GI Alabama S. heroine Sweet Symphony (A.P. Indy) among her produce. Bluewater Sales LLC, Agent XXIV consigned the colt, who was bred by Southern Equine Stables.

The transaction was yet another big score at the sales for Meg Levy's Bluewater Sales and the colt's breeder, Mike Moreno's Southern Equine. Last July, they teamed to sell the topper at Fasig-Tipton, a Medaglia d'Oro--Beright colt for $450,000, and followed up by selling the topper at Fasig-Tipton Saratoga, too, a colt by A.P. Indy--Maryfield who went for $1.2 million. (An Unbridled's Song half-brother to the latter sells today as hip 192.) Levy said the colt lived up to expectations. "I think in this market, we were cautiously optimistic, but I think that's what he's worth," she said. "But a horse is only worth what anybody's willing to pay for him."

Asked about selling a Darley-sired horse to Coolmore, Levy commented, "I'm always glad to see people buying nice horses. I haven't actually been in the position to have worried about that too much. But it looks like Coolmore is really back in the market looking for good horses, and I don't think it matters whose camp it's by. Bernardini is a top stallion, and this was a great individual." Levy added, "I was giggling as we led him up here because he looks like the black stallion. And he really showed his presence in the ring. He's been all class this entire sale. He's forward and happy, and everybody really loved him. We're really happy for Mike Moreno from Southern Equine."

Moreno, who has crafted a world-class broodmare band in recent years that includes 15 Grade I mares, he reports, wasn't on hand to watch the colt sell, but talked with the TDN by phone afterwards. "We want to let everyone know that we're a breeding operation that also races, but we don't want to get the reputation that we only send our bad horses to the sales," Moreno said. "We hope buyers get comfortable knowing that when Southern Equine puts a horse in a sale, that they're there to sell for the right price."

In general, Southern Equine offers its best colts at auction while retaining the better fillies, said Moreno. "We try to sell our best one or two colts from each crop," he said. The Louisiana-based businessman said he considered the colt well-sold, as the reserve was $600,000. "We'll sell a horse for a fair price, but we're not going to give away horses, either," he said. "In general, we do our own analysis and say, If we were looking to buy this horse, what would we be willing to spend on him?' And that's how we set the reserves. For this horse, we thought the low end for him would be $600,000 and the high end $800,000, so he brought what we expected on the high end. But two or three years ago, this horse brings $2.5 million. It's just a sign of the times. But I want to thank Mr. [John] Magnier [Coolmore principal] and Demi O'Byrne, and I'm happy for them. I hope the horse goes on to do big things for them."

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