In November 2019, Lil Indy was not only back in the United States but sold for $1.85 million at Keeneland November to Jane Lyon's Summer Wind Farm, in foal to Quality Road. The difference? She is now the dam of Maximum Security, who broke his maiden at first asking in a US$16,000 claiming race at Gulfstream on December 20. The price tag represented the level of expectations for the colt, who had a less than textbook set of legs in addition to a pedigree that was not setting any fashion standards, but since then he has won two Grade 1 races and was clearly the best horse in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve (USA-G1), losing the victory by disqualification. A win in the upcoming Cigar Mile (USA-G1) will almost certainly give him the Eclipse Award as America's best 3-year-old male.
Top-class racing performance will make any pedigree look better, but in hindsight, Lil Indy had the genetic makings to come up with a good horse at any time thanks to her dam Cresta Lil. A multiple stakes winner as a juvenile and a half sister to both another stakes winner and a graded stakes producer, Cresta Lil may not have been fashionably bred (her sire, French Group 2 Cresta Rider, ended up being sent to Chile well before shuttling to South America became a major trend), but she produced a very good horse in multiple Grade 1 winner Flat Out (by Flatter) and another nice runner in multiple stakes winner Our Best Man (by Runaway Groom), as well as eight other winners from 11 foals. Given the general class of the stallions she was put to, her production record was very good indeed.
Maximum Security's success has clearly boosted the perceived value and breeding opportunities of his two sisters as well. Lily of the Nile (by Pioneerof the Nile), a US$5,000 purchase from the 2019 Keeneland January sale when covered by Mr. Speaker, was a US$235,000 RNA at Keeneland November, in foal to Gun Runner. As for the New Year's Day filly Lil Indy was carrying when she went to Korea, that foal passed through the Keeneland November ring as a US$190,000 RNA and will almost certainly end up with some good breeding opportunities even if she cannot outrun the proverbial fat man.
Obviously, the main reason most mares sell for small sums at public auction is that they either lack an attractive combination of racing performance, conformation, and pedigree or they have poor production records in spite of good credentials. Most will not prove bargains even at low sale prices. Nonetheless, every now and then, a mare with real potential slips through the cracks, and it is mares like Lil Indy that help keep horsemen with limited budgets dreaming and in the game.