Labor Day Weekend Success
As curtains fell on the premier boutique race meets at Saratoga Race Course and Del Mar over the Labor Day weekend, some of the most impressive performances were turned in by recent Keeneland September Yearling Sale graduates, including Grade 1 wins by Echo Zulu, Max Player, Pinehurst and War Like Goddess.
Additionally, the catalog pages of several entries in this year’s sale were enhanced by Grade 1 victories of full or half siblings over the Labor Day weekend.
Coming on the eve of this year’s September Sale, the accomplishments of the holiday weekend performers underscored why the auction is the preferred destination for trainers and owners seeking athletes that can perform on the biggest stages throughout the world.
Gun Runner Filly Shines
Echo Zulu, a 2-year-old filly from the first crop of Horse of the Year Gun Runner, showcased her talent at the highest level by becoming her sire’s first Grade 1 winner with a front-running victory as the prohibitive favorite in the Spinaway. Winchell Thoroughbreds, in whose colors Gun Runner raced, bought Echo Zulu for $300,000 from the Betz Thoroughbreds consignment at the 2020 September Sale. Echo Zulu is out of Grade 2 winner Letgomyecho, whose yearling filly by American Phoaroah will sell in Book 1 of the September Sale as Hip 43.
Another Precocious Juvenile
Another precocious product of last year’s September Sale closed Del Mar’s meet on a high note when Pinehurst led from the outset en route to a commanding 4 1/2-length triumph in the Runhappy Del Mar Futurity (G1) for a large ownership group that includes SF Racing, Starlight Racing and Madaket Stables, who were among the partners on Triple Crown winner Justify. The bay son of Twirling Candy bred by Fred W. Hertrich III and John D. Fielding was a $385,000 purchase from the Woods Edge Farm consignment to Keeneland. The colt had previously gone through the Keeneland sales ring where he was sold for $180,000 as a weanling.
“Goddess” Lives up to Name
George Krikorian’s War Like Goddess lived up to her name when the English Channel filly charmed the Saratoga crowd with an impressive triumph in the Flower Bowl (G1) for her fourth consecutive graded stakes triumph that included the Bewitch (G3) at Keeneland. Calumet Farm bred War Like Goddess, who was offered as part of the Taylor Made Sales Agency consignment to the 2018 September Sale. War Like Goddess has won six of seven career starts for trainer Bill Mott and earned $713,684.
Maxing It at Saratoga
Another stable star at Saratoga for Steve Asmussen, who became the all-time leading North American trainer by number of wins during the Spa meet, was Max Player, a commanding 4-length winner of the $1 million Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1). The 4-year-old son of Honor Code, who races for George E. Hall and SportBLX Thoroughbreds Corp., has earned more than $1.2 million. Offered as part of the Lane’s End consignment at the September Sale in 2018, Max Player was bred by K & G Stables.
Catalog Page Boost from Gunite
A filly entered in this year’s September Sale should attract attention from buyers because her full brother Gunite posted an impressive victory in the Hopeful (G1) at Saratoga after finishing second in the Saratoga Special (G2). Both Gunite and the filly, cataloged as Hip 539 by Gainesway, agent, are by Horse of the Year Gun Runner, whose first foals have been quick out of the gate with two Grade 1 winners at Saratoga. The yearling filly was produced from the stakes-winning mare Simple Surprise.
Into Mischief Colt’s Pedigree Enhanced
The already stakes-laden female family of an Into Mischief colt entered in this year’s September Sale became even stronger over the Labor Day weekend on the merits of a victory by his half-sister Grace Adler in the TVG Del Mar Debutante (G1). The bay colt is cataloged as Hip 99 and is the property of Blue Heaven Farm, which also bred the undefeated Curlin filly Grace Adler. Our Khristy, dam of the Into Mischief yearling and Grace Adler, is a graded stakes winner and graded stakes producer who is a half-sister to three stakes winners, including Whitney (G1) winner and sire Bullsbay.