Ladies' Classic winner sells for $8.5M
Royal Delta, winner of the $2 million Breeders' Cup Ladies' Classic on Friday, sold Tuesday for $8.5 million, topping the second session of Keeneland's November Breeding Stock Sale.
Benjamin Leon Jr., owner of Besilu Stables, purchased this year's likely 3-year-old filly champion and will keep her in training for a 4-year-old campaign.
The daughter of Empire Maker was sold as part of the dispersal of the late Saud bin Khaled's Palides Investments. Trained by Hall of Famer Bill Mott, Royal Delta has earned nearly $1.7 million with five wins from eight starts.
Unrivaled Belle, winner of the 2010 Ladies' Classic, sold for $2.8 million earlier in the day to Betty Moran's Brushwood Stable. Breeding plans have not been finalized for the 5-year-old daughter of Unbridled's Song, who was also conditioned by Mott.
''I feel our stable had a lot to do with the development of her,'' Mott said of Royal Delta. ''I have actually trained the mother and the grandmother and the rest of the family, so the whole thing is special.''
Leon, a Florida health care executive, said he has not yet decided whether Royal Delta will stay in Mott's barn or be moved to another trainer. Leon has ties to Todd Pletcher, another of the game's top trainers, since entering the thoroughbred market in recent years.
''My passion is breeding ,and I can't think of a better mare to breed in the future than her, but I also can't think of a better filly to enjoy now on the track than her,'' Leon said.
Racetrack owner Frank Stronach was the under bidder on Royal Delta but came away with Delta Princess, Royal Delta's mother, for $2.6 million earlier in the session. Leon also purchased a weanling half-sister to Royal Delta for $1.6 million.
Royal Delta's $8.5 million price tag is the highest at the Keeneland November sale since Irish-bred mare Playful Act brought $10.5 million in 2007.
Grade 1 winner Christmas Kid topped Monday's opening session at a price of $4.2 million. Purchased by Ashford Stud, the American division of Coolmore Stud, the 7-year-old daughter of Lemon Drop Kid was one of 11 horses from the dispersal of the late Edward P. Evans' Spring Hill Farm to sell for $1 million or more.
Three other horses reached the $1 million mark Monday including Blind Luck, the 2010 champion 3-year-old filly and runner-up in last year's Ladies' Classic, who sold for $2.5 million.
The Keeneland sale continues through Nov. 17.