One of the more remarkable offerings in the history of Thoroughbred auctions is slated to take place this fall when the 2007 Broodmare of the Year, Better Than Honour, will be put up for sale at the 2008 Fasig-Tipton November sale as part of a dispersal to dissolve the partnership between owners Southern Equine and Hill ‘n' Dale Farms.
Better Than Honour put herself in racing's annals when she produced back-to-back Belmont Stakes winners Jazil (2006) and Rags to Riches, who defeated eventual Horse of the Year Curlin in 2007 to become the first filly to capture the Belmont in more than a century.
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Another of her offspring, undefeated Grade II winner Casino Drive, was scheduled to start in the Belmont Stakes this year but was scratched the morning of the race with a bruised hoof.
While the decision to offer her and their other joint holdings at public auction was not an easy one, Hill ‘n' Dale president John Sikura said his operation and Southern Equine had “our own different goals within the Thoroughbred business.”
“Southern Equine is a breed-to-race operation and with the purchase of our new farm in Midway, Ky., (formerly Parrish Hill) breeding to race will be our primary pursuit,” said Mike Moreno, owner of Southern Equine. “Hill ‘n' Dale is essentially a commercial breeding facility and wishes to continue to offer its top weanlings and yearlings for sale at public auction.”
Out of the Grade I winning mare Blush With Pride, Better Than Honour did not get in foal this season. The 12-year-old daughter of Deputy Minister aborted an A.P. Indy colt — which would have been a full sibling to Rags to Riches — late in her term.
With her distinguished pedigree and remarkable produce record, Better Than Honour should easily threaten the world-record price for a broodmare or broodmare prospect that was set when Playful Act sold for $10.5 million during the 2007 Keeneland November sale and — depending which buyers are on her — could possibly challenge The Green Monkey's all-time world-record price of $16 million.
The last time Better Than Honour was offered at public auction she sold for $2 million to Coolmore at the 2004 Keeneland November sale. She was later purchased privately by Sikura and Southern Equine in 2006.
“Anything can happen,” said Walt Robertson, president of Fasig-Tipton when asked if Better Than Honour could establish a record price. “She's such a special mare, no question. We're honored to have her, and we're looking forward to it.”
The offering of Better Than Honour highlights a blockbuster dispersal that will feature eight mares and five weanlings. Also included will be Grade I winner Madcap Escapade, who is in foal to leading sire A.P. Indy, and Grade I winner Point Ashley, in foal to Distorted Humor.
“What a group of mares they are,” Robinson exclaimed.
Hill ‘n' Dale Bloodstock purchased Madcap Escapade for $6 million at the 2006 Keeneland November sale and went to $1.8 million to secure Point Ashley at the 2007 Keeneland January sale.
Madcap Escapade's first foal by Pulpit was the highest-priced North American weanling of 2007 at $1.7 Million.
“We are proud of the fact that Southern Equine and Hill ‘n' Dale were able to assemble one of the best broodmare bands in the world, including Better than Honour, who is clearly one of the most important mares in the history of the breed,” Sikura said. “There are truly once in a lifetime opportunities in this group for the private and commercial breeder alike.”