09/15/2008 11:00PM

$1.1M filly resold after buyer's default


LEXINGTON, Ky. - After taking a day off on Friday, Keeneland's September yearling sale opened its second week Saturday, but its lively early trade was overshadowed by the surprising resale of Thursday's session topper, a $1.1 million Medaglia d'Oro filly. The filly's buyer, Karen Sanderson, defaulted on the purchase after failing to establish credit before bidding.

Chef Bobby Flay privately purchased the Medaglia d'Oro filly, a daughter of Amizette, for an undisclosed price on Saturday afternoon. Flay intends to race the filly, who currently is at Denali Stud near Lexington.

The filly was one of three purchases that Sanderson, a dental surgeon from London, England, made Thursday. The other two were resold through the auction ring on Saturday. They were Hip No. 1132, an Indian Charlie-Christmas Affair filly sold by Hargus and Sandra Sexton (Warrendale, agent) for which Sanderson bid $120,000, and Hip No. 942, an Afleet Alex-Real Cat colt from Swordlestown Stud (Paramount, agent) that Sanderson bid $75,000 for.

Sold again on Saturday with Keeneland as seller, the Indian Charlie filly brought $125,000 from Wes Carter for Carolyn Vogel, and the Afleet Alex colt fetched a final price of $70,000 from William H. Lawrence.

Keeneland filed a civil lawsuit against Sanderson and her trainer, Paul D'Arcy, late Friday in Fayette Circuit Court over the default.

Sanderson could not be reached for comment, and D'Arcy did not immediately respond to attempts to reach him by e-mail.

A Keeneland vice president, Harvie Wilkinson, said Saturday that Sanderson and D'Arcy started bidding on horses Thursday before Keeneland had established credit. He said Keeneland officials met several times on Thursday and Friday in an attempt to resolve what he termed "credit issues."

"They assured us that all the paperwork was coming from a bank in London," he said. "For whatever reason, it didn't come, so we declared a default. Because if you don't have established credit, you have a certain amount of time to pay, and if you don't, you're in default."

Wilkinson said Keeneland will pay the yearlings' consignors based on the original hammer price.

"We'll pay that, and any deficiencies that may occur are Keeneland's responsibility," he said. "And we're going to pursue both [Sanderson and D'Arcy], because they did not have credit established."

In her native England, Sanderson has been involved in two nonpayment disputes stemming from her attempts to move racehorses from one trainer's yard to another. In 2002, racehorse transporter Jim Radcliffe impounded the Sanderson-owned Mandingo Chief, who was to ship from trainer Eoghan O'Neill s care at Musselburgh racecourse to D'Arcy's yard. Ratcliffe alleged that Sanderson owed him about 10,500 pounds, or about $18,795. That dispute ended after nine days when Ratcliffe shipped the horse to D'Arcy, saying that Sanderson's attorney had assured him payment was on the way.

In 2007, trainer Brian McMath put a Sanderson runner, Invasian, under padlock in his stall and took out a lien on the horse, claiming Sanderson owed him 37,800 pounds, or about $67,662 in training fees. Invasian was removed from him stall some days later by someone who cut the lock, according to a Racing Post report at the time.

"I've been to the police and have legitimately had my horse removed, because Mr. McMath exercised a lien on a fraudulent document, not a legally binding training agreement," Sanderson said at the time.

On Thursday, Sanderson outbid Sheikh Mohammed al-Maktoum and Coolmore Stud for the Medaglia d'Oro filly, a daughter of Amizette that Tom Evans's Trackside Farm consigned on behalf of her breeders, Rob Whiteley's Liberation Farm and Audrey Haisfield's Stonewall Farm. The filly was the auction's 18th seven-figure horse and the top-priced yearling on Thursday.

"The problem is, they were bidding before we were even aware of it," Wilkinson said. "That's the problem we face every sale where there are 5,500 horses. It's just so difficult to police every purchase."

Saturday's selling was strong for horses valued between $180,000 and $400,000, with nine horses bringing $300,000 or more by 5 p.m. The session leader at that stage was Hip No. 1371, a son of the late stallion Maria's Mon and the Lost Soldier mare She Nuit All. Reynolds Bell Thoroughbred Services purchased the colt on behalf of Sequoia Racing. Gainesway was the consigning agent.

The Keeneland September yearling sale, which features a record catalog of 5,555 this year, was to continue through Sept. 23. Sessions begin daily at 10 a.m. in the Keeneland sale pavilion.