The Bernardini filly from Mushka that topped the first day of Keeneland September at $1.2 million has long ties to big commercial prices at Kentucky auctions stretching back to the 1980s. Price is usually tied to performance, and there’s plenty of high-class classic form in this family tracing back to the 1976 Kentucky Derby and Belmont Stakes winner Bold Forbes, a brother to Mushka’s fourth dam, Priceless Fame—a mare purchased by Sheikh Mohammed’s Darley for a world record price of $6 million in 1984. Some of this is not readily apparent in the reading of the catalog page.
Mushka, a first-crop daughter of Belmont Stakes winner Empire Maker from Sluice, by Seeking the Gold, herself was a $1.6 million Fasig-Tipton Saratoga yearling purchase by Zayat Stables in 2006. Two years later, in the midst of reported financial turmoil, Zayat sold her as a G2 winner to Elizabeth Moran’s Brushwood Stable for $2.4 million as a racing/broodmare prospect at the Keeneland November sale, and the following year she became a G1 winner for her new owner. She acted on dirt, turf, and all-weather, and she was a two-turn racehorse.
Brushwood sold her first foal, a Distorted Humor colt, for $1.65 million to Sheikh Hamdan’s Shadwell Estate Company at the Keeneland September sale of 2012. Subsequently named Heyaarat and now three, the colt recently won a maiden race at Belmont in his fourth start over 1 1/4 miles on turf, reflecting the essence of this family: stamina on all surfaces.
Take a look at the high-class stamina sires stacked upon each other through the tail-female line of descent to Priceless Fame: the $1.2 million yearling is by Belmont winner and stamina influence A.P. Indy’s son Bernardini, a Preakness winner; Mushka is by Belmont winner Empire Maker, a son of Derby winner Unbridled; Sluice, Mushka’s dam, is by Seeking the Gold, who stayed 1 1/4 miles; Sluice’s dam is Lakeway, by Triple Crown winner Seattle Slew; Lakeway’s dam Milliardaire is by Alydar, runner-up in the Triple Crown; and Milliardaire is from Priceless Fame, the sister to Bold Forbes.
Sheikh Mohammed was in the early stages of the Darley operation when he purchased Priceless Fame for $6 million in 1984, but he did so as he’d won the G1 William Hill Futurity with her Grey Dawn son Dunbeath in 1982—the same year the mare’s Alydar yearling Saratoga Six made $2.2 million at the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga sale; subsequently, in the summer of 1984, Alydar’s yearling filly Milliardaire made $2.7 million.
Sheikh Mohammed didn’t have much luck breeding from Priceless Fame after he purchased her, getting only one winner from seven foals. Her last foal, however, was the Machiavellian mare Headline, who produced the A.P. Indy filly Jilbab—winner of the 12-furlong G1 Coaching Club American Oaks for Godolphin in 2002.
Milliardaire, who’d been purchased for $2.7 million by Mike Rutherford, got the multiple G1 winner Lakeway, a daughter of A.P. Indy’s sire, Seattle Slew. Rutherford raced Lakeway himself but sold Milliardaire’s last foal, an A.P. Indy colt named Monarchoftheglen, to Demi O’Byrne on behalf of Coolmore for $1.5 million.
Sluice, Lakeway’s daughter by Seeking the Gold, was bred and sold by Rutherford for $1.5 million to Guy and Diane Snowden at the Keeneland July sale of 1999.
The Snowdens bred and sold Mushka from Sluice for $1.6 million as well as her 2011 brother Prominence, purchased for $1.1 million by Barbara Banke’s Stonestreet Stable and George Bolton at the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga sale.