Having been the measure of excellence for her generation over the last two season it was little surprise to see champion race mare Abel Tasman once again throw down the gauntlet to her peer when setting a high mark for breeding stock going into season 2019. With a final sales price of USD5 million, Abel Tasman equalled the record for the highest price ever for a mare at the Keeneland January Sale.
The six-time G1 winner was always going to be the standout of the catalogue and so it proved as she lit up first day trading when bidding commenced at USD3 million, rising quickly before international breeding and racing conglomerate Coolmore won out with a bid of USD5 million.
Coolmore is no stranger to chasing prized equine assets, singling out undefeated U.S. Triple Crown hero Justify as the ‘must have’ stallion asset for 2018. And while a mate for Abel Tasman won’t be confirmed just yet, Justify will be among the shortlist of eligible and highly commercial stallions under consideration when the 2019 breeding season kicks into gear.
“(It’s a lot of money) but she’s a queen isn’t she,” Coolmore’s Dermot Ryan told awaiting media once the hammer came down.
“They are very rare when they come across like that, animals like her. She had everything, she’d be anybody’s dream filly to own.”
In a career that spanned three seasons, Abel Tasman’s marked herself not only as the premier filly and then mare of her generation but as one of the best female racehorses America has seen in the last decade. A G1 winner at two, she went on to annex a further three G1 races at three including the coveted Kentucky Oaks. As a four-year-old she again ascended to the sport’s highest standard when scoring in the G1 Ogden Phipps Stakes and G1 Personal Ensign Stakes.
“Racing Abel Tasman in partnership with Bernard and Eamonn Cleary has been wonderfully rewarding. They bred her and welcomed us into a partnership and we are very thankful for that,” said Michael Wallace, Head of Bloodstock and Racing for China Horse Club.
“Abel Tasman has created a lifetime of memories and I know our members appreciate all she has done for the sport and for China Horse Club. It is never an easy decision to part with a mare of her standing but we are a commercial operation and our goal is now to see if we can find another filly to fill her imposing shoes.”
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