John Sikura
I’ve always found, when you try to buy a mare cheap and just hold on it always costs more, so we tried to be aggressive and let people know that we were here to buy the mare and they could react as they wished.
— John Sikura

In a power-packed day of selling which featured six seven figure weanlings, it was champion Take Charge Brandi (Giant's Causeway) who delivered the biggest punch when selling for $6 million to John Sikura's Hill 'n' Equine during Tuesday's second session of the Keeneland November Breeding Stock Sale. Hill 'n' Dale Sales Agency, which consigned eight million-dollar offerings Tuesday, sold the 3-year-old (hip 450) on behalf of Willis Horton.

The very next hip through the ring Tuesday was a weanling filly by War Front out of Take Charge Brandi's second dam, Broodmare Of The Year Take Charge Lady (Dehere). Remembering that until last year, our own Brave Tin Soldier was the most expensive foal in history at $3million, this one sold to Mandy Pope's Whisper Hill Farm for a North American record $3.2 million, besting the $3-million mark set by a daughter of Tapit at last year's November sale. Last year's record-setter was the only weanling to bring seven figures during the 2014 November sale. This year's million-dollar weanlings included two fillies by Tapit, a daughter of Galileo and three youngsters by War Front. "We anticipated that we had a box full of crackerjack foals and they certainly delivered," commented Keeneland's Director of Sales Geoffrey Russell. "We were very confident going in that the market would react very favorably to these foals and it beat our expectations. They were a unique opportunity for buyers to get in--as I said, it was a once in a lifetime opportunity. I doubt they'll ever come back again." At the conclusion of Tuesday's second and final Book 1 session, 279 horses had sold for $108,878,000. After two sessions a year ago, 273 head had grossed $95,852,000. The two-day average is $390,244--up 11.15% from 2014, while the median is up 15% to $230,000. A total of 21 horses have brought $1 million or more.

Eighteen reached that mark at last year's sale. To say it was a busy day at the office for Hill 'n' Dale's John Sikura would be an understatement. In addition to selling 22 head for $23,875,000--more than twice the sum of the second leading consignor--he also signed for the session-topping Take Charge Brandi as well as $1.8-million Aurelia's Belle (Lemon Drop Kid). Both broodmare prospects were consigned by Hill 'n' Dale, whose draft was responsible for six of the top eight lots and eight of the 14 who brought seven figures. "I thought she was a five to six-million dollar mare," Sikura said of Take Charge Brandi during a brief lull in the action. "She's a champion with a unique pedigree, a beautiful individual. You saw a weanling filly from the immediate family bring $3.2 million (hip 451), so it's a highly coveted family in the marketplace.

She was top-to-bottom, on any metric, she had it--pedigree, performance, champion, temperament, active family, by the right sire--everything. From A to Z, first class." Bids seemed to be coming from all over the sales pavilion for Take Charge Brandi, but Sikura wasn't backing down. "I wanted to own her so bad, we kind of jumped our own bid," he joked. "They wanted $4.2 million, we said $4.5 million. I've always found, when you try to buy a mare cheap and just hold on it always costs more, so we tried to be aggressive and let people know that we were here to buy the mare and they could react as they wished."

Take Charge Brandi / Keeneland (p)

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