Before Hip 443, half-brother of Triple Crown winner Justify, went into the sales ring Tuesday evening, his breeder said the decision to part with the colt at the Keeneland September Yearling Sale was difficult.

Glennwood Farm’s Tanya and her father, John Gunther, also race horses, and it appears they’ll get to do so with the son of Will Take Charge out of Stage Magic.

Bidding on the chestnut, with a white blaze similar to his sibling, did not meet the reserve price as the gavel dropped at $1.75 million. The final number equaled the day-high seller, a half-sibling to Kentucky Derby winner Nyquist.

In terms of offering him at auction, “We’ve been back and forth on it like every other day,” Gunther told TVG before the auction. “Should we take him? Shouldn’t we take him? Even having him here, we’d love to stay in on the horse or race him ourselves, but it makes a bit of sense financially for the farm to bring him here.”

In addition to Justify, the dam Stage Magic has produced The Lieutenant, a Grade 3 winner who has appeared in top-level races this year.

Will Take Charge isn’t yet a proven sire, with his first crop just now hitting the racetrack. That didn’t prevent the Gunthers from bringing high expectations into Tuesday’s session.

“Even from when this horse — the Will Take Charge was a baby — we really liked him,” Tanya Gunther added, “and that’s before Justify did what he did.”


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