Bren O’Brien



$184-million Flightline and Yoshida’s $5.5 million mare highlight Keeneland opener 

A US$4.6 million deal which put a US$184 million valuation on newly retired Flightline and a US$9.7-million three-mare spend by Katsumi Yoshida bookended a vibrant opening session to the Keeneland November Breeding Stock Sale.

Off the back of his 8.25-length win in Saturday’s Breeders’ Cup Classic, expectations were strong for what the 2.5 per cent of unbeaten Flightline would fetch at the Keeneland sale ahead of his retirement to Lane’s End Farm, but what evolved surpassed all expectations.

No public auction has placed a higher value on a thoroughbred as Brookdale Farm’s Freddy Seitz, bidding on behalf of an undisclosed client, won out over 45 rivals to pay $4.6 million for the fractional share, valuing Flightline at an extraordinary $184 million.

“They have been good clients of ours for a few years now,” Seitz told reporters after the sale. “He is very excited about this horse and wanted to make a huge splash. He has dealt with some good horses in the past, but nothing like this. I’m not sure any of us have dealt with a horse like this. He wanted to get involved a little more in the business.”

Seitz said that the client already has a small broodmare band.

“I think he is going to have a nicer broodmare band now,” Seitz said. “He has some nice mares, but his band isn’t very big, about six or eight mares. He is going to be shopping now from what I understand.”


Midnight Bisou was purchased by Katsumi Yoshida for $5.5 million. (Photo: Keeneland)

When it came time for the premium broodmares to go under the hammer, it was Northern Farm’s Katsumi Yoshida splashing the cash yet again. Having spent just over $8 million at Sunday’s Fasig-Tipton sale, Yoshida went even harder at the nearby Keeneland complex, paying $9.7 million, including $5.5 million for multiple Grade 1 winner Midnight Bisou.

Yoshida and his agent Shingo Hashimoto were underbidders on Midnight Bisou two years ago when she sold for $5 million at Fasig-Tipton and weren’t going to miss out this time around, especially with her in foal to Flightline’s sire Tapit.

“We will take her back to Japan most likely,” Hashimoto told reporters. “I am kind of speechless. The first time I saw her was in Saudi, when she was running in the Saudi Cup. I already knew of her race record. She was at Fasig-Tipton in 2020 and if my memory is correct, we were in until $4.75 million and she ended up at $5 million. We were happy to see her again this year and were very lucky to purchase her.”

Hashimoto who was back in action just four hips later, paying $2.7 million for another multiple top-level winner, Dreamloper.

Yoshida’s trio of purchases were wrapped up with the US$1.5 million spent on Grade 2 winner Jouster.

Another seven-figure mare likely headed to Japan is 2018 GI Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint winner Shamrock Rose, who was purchased for $3 million by Tomoyuki Nakamura’s KI Farm.

“The physical and race record are what stood out,” said Nakamura through interpreter Sean Toriumi.

“It was in the rough range of what he was expecting. Right now, [Nakamura] is deciding whether to take to Japan or leave in the states. There are a lot of options for us.”

A dual Group 1 winner in France, Dreamloper is also headed to Japan. (Photo: Keeneland)

Haruya Yoshida paid $750,000 for Grade 2 winner Gift List, while Teruya Yoshida’s Shadai Farm parted with $600,000 for Spanish Loveaffair, the black-type winning half-sister to Grade 1 winners Spendarella and Spanish Queen.

Among the Australian buyers active on Day 1 were Milburn Creek, Yulong, Silverdale Farm and Kia Ora Stud.



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