Dance For The Cause: Sam-Son co-topped Tuesday’s session of the Keeneland January Sale at $925,000. Photo – Keeneland

As anticipated, demand for stock belonging to the dispersals of Sam-Son Farm and Paul P. Pompa Jr. caught the imagination of buyers during the second session of the Keeneland January Sale in Kentucky on Tuesday, fuelling a trade that saw figures soar past last year’s levels.

The famed Canadian operation Sam-Son Farm is winding down after 50 years in the business. Founded in 1972 by Ernie Samuel, it boasts a history of four Eclipse Awards, 84 Sovereign Awards, 37 Canadian Classic wins and 14 Grade 1 winners.

Unsurprisingly, offerings from the 21-strong dispersal were much sought after, selling for up to $925,000 and a total of $6,733,000. Six horses sold for $400,000 or more.

It was a bittersweet day for the team at Sam-Son.

“With the business of the game and trying to get everything ready – we have worked so hard to do this – we haven’t really given ourselves time to absorb it all,” Sam-Son Manager Dave Whitford said. “I think after the sale is when it is really going to sink in.

“There is pressure to do things right for the (Samuel) family,” he continued. “They have been doing this for 50 years, and we don’t want to mess that up. There is a great legacy, and we have felt that pressure. It is (all) bittersweet, for sure.”

Leading the way at $925,000 was Danceforthecause, a member of the farm’s noted Dance Smartly family who was snapped up by Gainesway Farm.

The unraced daughter of Giant’s Causeway has made a swift start at stud, her first two foals being Canadian Group 1 winner Say The Word and Group 2 scorer Rideforthecause. The ten-year-old, a granddaughter of Sam-Son’s Racing Hall of Famer Dance Smartly, was sold in foal to Twirling Candy.

“She is a really beautiful mare and has been such a good producer already,” said Gainesway Director of Bloodstock and Racing Alex Solis II, who signed the ticket. “I feel this is the best Sam-Son family there is with Dance Smartly as the second dam and Smart Strike right there on the page.”

John Sikura of Hill ’n’ Dale Farm also weighed in, going to $900,000 for Sam-Son’s Deceptive Vision, by A.P. Indy, under his Hill ‘n’ Dale at Xalapa banner. Sikura also paid $530,000 to acquire her half-sister Fun in the Desert, herself the dam of Canadian champion Desert Ride. Both are out of Canadian champion and award-winning broodmare Eye Of The Sphynx, whose four stakes winners include Canadian champion Eye Of The Leopard.

Deceptive Vision was sold in foal to War Front while Fun In The Desert is in foal to Candy Ride.

Regal Glory will return to Chad Brown for owner Peter Brant. Photo – Keeneland

The session’s leading buyer was Phil Schoenthal, who purchased five horses for a total of $2.12 million on behalf of Determined Stud of Maryland, a relatively new high end player to the business. Topping the acquisitions at $875,000 was the Sam-Son mare Southern Ring, a Grade 3-winning daughter of Speightstown in foal to Into Mischief.

“The opportunity, especially with the Sam-Son Dispersal, to get into these mares has been limited over the years,” said Keeneland Director of Sales Operations Geoffrey Russell. “People are hungry to get into these strong female families. The same is true for the mares owned by Mr. Pompa. Breeders are looking for blue skies ahead and they have to have the product to produce yearlings to sell.

“The power of the dispersal was very obvious today with nine of the top 10 prices paid for horses from the dispersals. These dispersals are bittersweet, but we appreciate the trust they put in Keeneland to put the show on today.”

The Pompa Dispersal was also highly popular, generating sales of $4,037,000 with four horses selling for $400,000 or more. 

Pompa, who campaigned champion Big Brown and Grade 1 winner Connect among many others, died in October and the dispersal of his stock is being handled by Lane’s End Farm.

The offerings were headed by Grade 2 winner Regal Glory, who is set to return to former trainer Chad Brown after selling for $925,000 to Peter Brant of White Birch Farm. The five-year-old daughter of Animal Kingdom won the 2019 Grade 2 Lake Placid Stakes and Grade 3 Lake George Stakes, and was last seen winning the Grade 3 Kentucky Downs Ladies Turf in the autumn.

She also boasts an active family as a daughter of Grade 2 winner Mary’s Follies, also the dam of current Japanese standout Cafe Pharoah.

As for Mary’s Follies, she was picked up by the BBA Ireland for $500,000.

Irish-based operation Moyglare Stud Farm also took the opportunity to invest in the Pompa horses, going to $650,000 for stakes winner Beautiful Lover. A daughter of Arch, Beautiful Love won the 2019 Boiling Springs Stakes and ran second in last year’s Grade 2 Hillsborough Stakes. Plans call for her to resume her career with Christophe Clement before joining the Moyglare broodmare band.

“Hopefully the pandemic will cease so (Moyglare owner) Eva (Maria Bucher-Haefner) will be able to come over and see her race,” said the operation’s Fiona Craig. “Long term we’ll add (Beautiful Lover) to the broodmare band.”

The session’s highest-priced weanling was a filly from the first crop of Lane’s End Farm’s City Of Light, who sold for $400,000 to Larry Best of OXO Equine LLC. 

In all, Keeneland sold 247 horses on Tuesday for $23,319,400, for an average of $94,411, up from $73,169 recorded on the corresponding day in 2020, and a median of $40,000.

The Keeneland January Sale continues on Wednesday with first of two sessions for Book 2.