03/03/2006 12:00AM

$16M buys family a lot of attention

Dean De Renzo (left) and Randy Hartley bask in the Florida sun after clearing a tidy profit.

MIAMI - The fireworks in the sales ring that produced a $16 million record price for a Thoroughbred at auction took only a few minutes. The colt who brought the record price, however, was the work of years.

Bred in Florida by Padua Stables, the bay colt who wore the sticker labeling him as Hip No. 153 is by the Storm Cat stallion Forestry out of the Unbridled mare Magical Masquerade. The colt's dam is a half-sister to the graded stakes winner Magicalmysterycat, a chestnut daughter of Storm Cat who won the Grade 2 Schuylerville and Landaluce stakes at 2.

Padua bought both siblings at auction, paying $1.1 million for Magicalmysterycat at the Keeneland September sale in 1998 and $600,000 for Magical Masquerade at the Keeneland July selected yearling sale in 1999.

Padua sold Magicalmysterycat at Keeneland November in 2001 for $1.7 million to Lisa Troutt of WinStar Farm. Padua, however, retained the half-sister.

Unplaced in five starts at 2, Magical Masquerade strengthened and improved at 3, winning a race and finishing in the money twice more for career earnings of $45,880. Retired to breed after 11 starts, Magical Masquerade was bred to the Storm Cat horse Forestry in both of her first two years at stud, producing the 3-year-old Byron Bay in 2003 and Fasig-Tipton's Hip No. 153 in 2004.

By one of Storm Cat's hottest young sons at stud in Forestry, Hip No. 153 has a lot in common with his striking sire. Both are blaze-faced bays with power and balance, and both possess an athleticism and finesse on the racetrack that makes them objects of intense interest to sportsmen who want to strike at the most elite level.

Forestry's record-priced son drew attention to himself at the Fasig-Tipton Calder sale by working the fastest furlong at either breeze show: 9.80 seconds.

In addition to catching everyone's attention with speed of his work, the elegant bay also looked good doing it. He ran smoothly through the stretch at Calder, reaching out with a stride length of 25 1/2 feet and topping 45 miles per hour (per information from the stride analysis group DataTrack International).

Before grabbing headlines at the juvenile sales, Hip No. 153 had shown himself well at the select yearling sales, and Padua sold the record-priced sales colt as a yearling at the Fasig-Tipton July select sale last year for $425,000 to Hartley/De Renzo Thoroughbreds.

A well-regarded and quite profitable yearling, Hip No. 153 did not make headlines until his work at Calder, but his record price has caused breeders to look again at his relatives.

His dam, Magical Masquerade, was bred to champion juvenile Vindication in 2004 and 2005 and has produced a pair of foals by Vindication, the last champion son of Seattle Slew. The first of these was born in 2005 and is a yearling filly from her sire's first crop.

Then late last year and back in foal to Vindication on a March 2 cover, Padua sent Magical Masquerade through the sales ring at the Keeneland November sale, where the chestnut daughter of Unbridled was bought back for $375,000.

Then, after going through the ring, Magical Masquerade was sold privately to Brandon Perry, owner of Paragon Farms.

That operation is owned by Perry and his wife, Diannah, and located on land formerly known as Newgate Stud that they bought from the estate of Prince Fahd Salman.

Brandon Perry said that Magical Masquerade has a bay Vindication filly at her side and is back in foal to Forestry.

The plan of going back to Forestry was developed well ahead of the sale in Florida. Perry said: "As a commercial breeder, I was well aware the colt had sold well as a yearling, and I had heard that the colt was training very well for Hartley/De Renzo. Sometimes you have to take risks, and I was banking that they were going to do well with him, although I didn't expect anything like that."

The Perrys were at Calder for the record sale and, when they returned, "found out that Magical Masquerade had scanned in foal," Perry said. The mare's foal of 2006 is a "very nice, stretchy filly, with good size and leg. She is one our better ones out of 14 foals on the ground," Perry said.

"We have 25 mares and have about seven or eight more foals to come," he said.

The Perrys have been in Kentucky for almost three years and have acquired a commercial broodmare band with an emphasis on commercial pedigree quality and sire power.

As seen in the price of Magical Masquerade's son, as well as her siblings, there are no questions about the commercial appeal of Magical Masquerade, her offspring, or her immediate family.

And the proof is in their performances on the racetrack. Magical Masquerade's dam is the Valid Appeal mare Nannerl, who won the Grade 2 Bed o' Roses and Grade 2 Distaff

handicaps, the Grade 3 Shirley Jones and Grade 3 Vagrancy handicaps, and ran second in the Grade 1 Go for Wand and third in the Grade 1 Ballerina.

Nannerl's dam is the winning Proud Birdie mare Allouette, a half-sister to Grade 1 winner Fact Finder.