No one was busier than Kentucky native Jacob West of West Bloodstock during the second session of the Keeneland September Yearling Sale Sept. 14. West signed for 10 individuals on the day—nine of them for the partnership of Repole Stable and St. Elias—to the tune of $5,260,000.
West's most expensive purchase of the session came late in the afternoon when he acquired Hip 376, a $1,050,000 colt from the first crop of grade 1 winner City of Light bred and consigned by Woods Edge Farm (Peter O'Callaghan), agent. West signed the ticket on behalf of Repole Stable and St. Elias.
"He's by City of Light, who was arguably one of the most brilliant horses we've seen on the racetrack in the last decade," West said. "When he retired and went to stud he was highly sought after for breeders. Peter and Jenny O'Callaghan were one of the lucky ones that got to him and they bred a really good mare to him. She produced a really nice colt and they brought him to market, and they raise such a good horse, work hard, and they deserve this.
"You kind of have trepidation a little bit giving that much money for a sire, but this horse on his own was incredible. The second we saw him I fell in love with him, (trainer) Todd (Pletcher) fell in love with him. We're just blessed to have Mike (Repole) and Vinnie (Viola) get behind us when we give the thumbs up."
The bay colt is out of the winning Ghostzapper mare Ghostslayer and is a half brother to grade 3 winner Biddy Duke. This is also the family of champion 2-year-old male Essential Quality, Folklore, champion 2-year-old filly and winner of the 2005 Alberto VO5 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1), grade 1 winner Come Dancing, and Contrail, a two-time champion in Japan.
"The mare's a beauty. She's a real Ghostzapper, exactly the right kind of Ghostzapper you want," O'Callaghan said. "Obviously, it's a very good cross—Deputy Minister, Quality Road, and all that, that's why we went that road.
"City of Light is such a beautiful horse. None of us realized how nice his stock was going to be, so we got lucky. You need a lot of luck in this breeding game and we're just lucky that this mare gave us this great foal, that was good from day one. He went every step of the way for months and months and then prepped out beautifully, he showed beautifully, vetted beautifully."
West signed the $975,000 ticket on behalf of Repole Stable and St. Elias for Hip 293, a Curlin colt out of multiple stakes winner and graded stakes-placed Cajun Delta Dawn, by Kantharos . The bay colt consigned by Hill 'n' Dale Sales Agency was bred in Kentucky by Curtis Mikkelsen, Patricia Horth, and the Curlin Syndicate. Cajun Delta Dawn, an earner of $488,105, is a half sister to stakes winner Mom'z Laugh, graded stakes-placed Peace At Dawn, and multiple stakes-placed Cajun Breeze.
Of Hip 293, West said: "Pretty damn nice horse. By a classic stallion out of a fast mare, kind of that blend of distance over speed. The horse will go to Todd Pletcher and we hope for the best."
"It's the model that has proven successful in the game, those classic two-turn dirt horses. They kind of follow that model and hopefully they go on to become stallion prospects," said West.
Additional notable purchases by West for Repole Stable and St. Elias included Hip 262, a $750,000 colt by Quality Road from the consignment of Paramount Sales. Bred in Kentucky by Castleton Lyons and Kilboy Estate, the colt is out of the Speightstown mare Ask Me When and is a half brother to stakes winner and graded stakes-placed Aristocratic and stakes winner and graded stakes-placed Up the Ante. This is also the family of grade 1 winner Honey Ryder and multiple graded stakes winner Dominus .
Also for the partnership, West went to $725,000 for Hip 231, a Tapit colt named Mindtap consigned by Lane's End, agent. Produced from the graded stakes-placed Graeme Hall mare Whatdreamsrmadeof, the colt is a half brother to multiple grade 1 winner and $1,535,940 earner Curalina and graded stakes-placed Dream Spinner. Bred in Kentucky by Summer Wind Equine, Mindtap descends from the family of multiple stakes winner and graded stakes-placed Ladyecho.
The partnership emerged as the leading Book 1 buyer with gross receipts of $6,760,000 for 13 purchases overall.
"It's a team effort between me, Todd Pletcher, Rory Babich, Eddie Rosen, Jim Martin, and Danielle Bricker—it's a team effort for sure. The most important part of that team is probably Mike and Vinnie," said West. "When we kind of put our foot down and stand in behind a horse, they get behind us and believe in us."