$1.35M Empire Maker colt to Bob Baffert barn

Phoenix Thoroughbreds buys Gainesway-bred colt

A colt from the first Gainesway crop of Empire Maker brought a final bid of $1.35 million from Phoenix Thoroughbreds during the Sept. 11 second session of the Keeneland September yearling sale.

Bred by Gainesway Thoroughbreds from the Carson City mare Seeinsbelieven, the bay colt was offered at last year’s Keeneland November sale, where Renee Dailey and Tom VanMeter pinhooked him for $320,000. In March, the colt’s half-brother by Tapit, Conquest Big E, defeated 2017 Kentucky Derby (G1) winner Always Dreaming to win the Hardacre Mile (G2).

Consigned to Keeneland September’s Book 1 by VanMeter-Gentry Sales as Hip 388, the yearling found many admirers, some calling him the best in the sale.

“He was just fabulous, he had a powerful walk, just strong,” said Tom Ludt, director of Phoenix Thoroughbreds’ U.S. operations. “I was talking to John Servis, who was the underbidder—and I love John—and he thought he was the best horse in the sale. So that makes you feel good when someone says they loved it.”

Phoenix CEO Amer Abdulaziz said of the colt: “He is a special horse with the right pedigree and will be sent to (Hall of Fame trainer) Bob Baffert.”