The Deauville sales went pretty much as expected: Horses being given away. The best market seemed to be for decent broodmares in foal to decent stallions, but even the best of those were going for less than 20,000 euros. The half-sister of Overdose sold for 16,000, which I thought was a stunningly low price. So did her owner, who was disappointed but needed the cash, so what can you do? Most yearlings went for 1,000 a pop (who’s gonna take the chance and have to wait in this market? Pinhooking is practically non-existant in France). I nearly bought a filly practically ready to run for 2,000 euros, but then realized my marriage might not survive yet another horse in my own name. She’s called Lady Cecilia, if anybody wants to follow up and see if my judgment was good or bad. She caught my eye because I was looking at a Country Reel yearling, and I was pointing out to Mark, my American friend, all the flaws in his legs. The filly was standing right behind him, and I said, “For comparison, look at her legs. They’re perfect.” And you know, they were.
Anyway, we got a little bored, so we decided to pop over to see the stallions at the Haras du Quesnay, where Anabaa stands for 30,000 euros, making him one of the most expensive stallions in France. He spent a season in Kentucky, but there wasn’t much interest, so he came back to France, where there’s plenty of interest. Anabaa was the No. 2 stallion in France last year, and the sire of Goldikova among other champions. At 17, he looks fantastic, and the crew at Quesnay were happy to have him back. He is joined there by Bering (still active at 26) Gold Away (who seems to be a bargain at 5,000 euros), Kentucky Dynamite and Panis, who was a leading sire of two-year-olds last season. The stud itself is breathtaking. Acres of paddocks with post-and-rail fencing around a small chateau, a huge brood-mare yard and the stallion barn that is a restored old Norman structure. The stallion boxes are absolutely enormous, and all five of the stallions we saw were well-mannered and happy when led out, even though this is breeding season and it was dinner time on top of it. The market might be going to hell, but there was no sign of it at that place. The stallions’ dance cards are active and everybody (horses AND staff) seemed to be eating very well, thank you.