He was athletic and ran a good number (speed figure) in his last start at Keeneland, and it’s just hard to find nice 2-year-olds that you can buy that have pedigree and have talent
— Mike Tomlinson / Trainer

Trainer Mike Tomlinson, standing out back, saw off all challengers to purchase Tuesday's topper at Keeneland November Breeding Stock Sale, which, with a session heavy on horses-of-racing age, slipped a touch from 2013 numbers but generally maintained well.

Tomlinson came away with the promising 2-year-old Barbados (Speightstown - Northern Station, by Street Cry) (hip 2860), a winning colt from the WinStar Racing consignment who brought $340,000. Tomlinson said he was acting on behalf of the Chicago-based Paul Hanifl, who operates Suzanne Stables.

"He was athletic and ran a good number (speed figure) in his last start at Keeneland, and it's just hard to find nice 2-year-olds that you can buy that have pedigree and have talent," said Tomlinson.

Barbados, in training with Kellyn Gorder, ran a good second on debut at Kentucky Downs September 6 and was fifth in Franklin September 24, then shipped to Keeneland and romped by five lengths sprinting in the slop October 16.

"He was clean x-way wise, and everything looked good," said Tomlinson.

It was Barbados's second time through the Keeneland ring in seven months and his third in 14 months. Ciaran Dunne signed for the colt for $160,000 at the 2013 Keeneland September Sale, and resold him to WinStar earlier this year for $230,000 at the sale company's April Two-Year-Olds in Training Sale.

Tomlinson said he was under no allusions that he was necessarily buying a Classic-type prospect. "He's a typey, good-looking horse, and two turns might be a stretch for him," he said. "We just wanted a nice horse, and there are lot of nice races you can win around one turn."

Suzanne Stables, named after Hanifl's wife, currently has five or six horses in training, said Tomlinson, primarily with Larry Rivelli. Paul Hanifl is the vice president of business development for Sage Products, a healthcare manufacturing company.

"I've trained for him in the past, but this will be the first one I've had for him in a while," Tomlinson said. "The colt is going to Churchill Downs from here. We'll give him a day or two to settle before resuming training. Then we'll ship him to Gulfstream Park at the end of the month, when Churchill's over."

For the session, 253 horses sold for $8,373,400, an average of $33,096. That was down 10.7% from last year's session eight average of $37,069. The median was $23,000, an 8% slip from 2013, while the RNA rate of 21.7% was over double last year's rate of 10%.

While session numbers were down, last year's session featured a particularly strong racing-age selection, including a draft from Adena Springs that produced the GI Arlington Million winner Hardest Core (Hard Spun), who brought $210,000. Four other Adena horses also brought six figures last year, led by the $330,000 Montana Native (Yes It's True). Adena didn't have a racing-age draft this year. Last year's session was topped by the $450,000 General Election (Harlan's Holiday).

In total at Keeneland November, 1,850 horses have sold for $197,747,400 with a resulting average of $106,890 up 8.8% from the 2013 average of $98,252. The cumulative median is $51,000, up 8.5% from $47,000. The sale RNA rate stands at 22%, compared to 15.5% last term.

Extract from Thoroughbred Daily News/Keeneland (p)