Columbiana Gets in on the City of Light Show

Homer Rader & Kathy Berkey | Keeneland Photo

Lexington, KY (September 18, 2021)-Homer Rader and Kathy Berkey sat back and watched as firstcrop sire City of Light made the Keeneland September sale his personal coming out party during Books 1 and 2, all the while knowing they had a good colt of their own by the Lane’s End stallion waiting for Book 3. And the yearling (hip 1393) did not disappoint, selling for $760,000 to the internet bid of the powerhouse SF Bloodstock/Starlight/Madaket partnership.

Columbiana was selling the colt on behalf of breeder Keith Abrahams. He is out of Azure Spring (Open Forum), a mare Berkey purchased for Abrahams for $32,000 at the 2006 Keeneland November sale.

“Keith Abrahams has been a longtime client of ours,” said Rader, who has been manager of Robert Ochocki’s Columbiana Farm since 1995. “We bought the mare for him and raised all of those foals. Kathy does all his matings.”

The 21-year-old Azure Spring is also the dam of multiple graded stakes winner Selcourt (Tiz Wonderful).

Of the yearling, Rader added, “This guy just jumped through all the hoops. He was a very special colt. Once we got him here, we knew he was special because everybody liked him.”

Berkey agreed watching how well yearlings by City of Light had been selling all week gave her plenty of optimism heading into Saturday’s session.

“We were thinking anywhere from $300,000 to a million,” Berkey said of expectations for the yearling.

“We’ve done horse sales for so long, how do you know? You just hope two people hook up and they keep going. And you have no idea for a colt like this.”

Of the colt’s placement in Book 3, Berkey explained, “We have had good success in the past with Book 3. I have a theory that if you let everybody fight over the ones in Book 1 and 2, when you get to Book 3, especially the first day of Book 3, and there aren’t very many left that are very nice, then they really have to fight over them because they know they are running out.”

She continued, “That was the theory. I think a good horse will sell anywhere.”

Through five sessions of the September sale, the stallionmaking SF Bloodstock/Starlight/Madaket partnership has purchased 20 yearlings for $9,835,000. Hip 1393 was the group’s second yearling purchase by City of Light. Also Saturday, Lanni signed for hip 1138 for $440,000.

“Everyone’s gone mad over City of Light,” Lanni said. “He was a hell of a racehorse. They all look like racehorses.”