08/19/2007 11:00PM

$210K colt tops Ocala sale select session

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The Ocala Breeders' Sales Company opened its August yearling sale with a select session on Monday that saw pinhookers in action on some of the top lots.

But it was a trainer - Ken McPeek, acting as agent - who purchased the select session's top-priced yearling, a $210,000 Cape Canaveral colt out of the Chief's Crown mare Caveat Apt. Cataloged as Hip No. 14, the colt is a half-brother to Grade 3 winner Crowned Dancer and went through the ring as part of agent Janie Roper's consignment.

The opener sold 167 horses for total receipts of $9,679,500, a drop of 7 percent from the first session in 2006, when 176 horses sold. Average price fell 2 percent to $57,961. Median was unavailable at 6 p.m.

The sale-topper was one of two yearlings to sell for $200,000 or more. The other was Hip No. 42, a Spanish Steps colt out of Poqito Polly. The colt went to Nick de Meric, agent, one of several pinhoookers to sign six-figure tickets on Monday. Hip No. 42 is a half-brother to Grade 3 winner Fiesty Countess and to stakes-placed Lemonbuster.

That was one of nine horses De Meric signed for, totaling $887,000. Pinhooker Murray Smith of Murray Smith Training Stables also signed a few tickets, including one for a $185,000 Harlan's Holiday filly out of Zealous Folia. Summerfield, agent, sold the filly, a half-sister to Chaotic Achiever, who set a five-furlong course record of 55.74 second at Tampa Bay Downs last year.

David Scanlon, another fixture in the yearling-to-juvenile pinhooking business, signed for a $125,000 Lion Heart filly out of D Hail Mary, also consigned by the Summerfield agency. Other active pinhookers included Leprechaun Racing, which paid $175,000 for a Lion Heart-Hoxsey filly consigned by Lisa McGreevy's Abbie Road Farm agency, and Gulf Coast Farm, whose purchases included at $160,000 Lightnin N Thunder-Indyfendant colt.

The auction was to continue through Friday with four open sessions at the OBS facility in Ocala, Fla.

Darley buys Manduro for stud duty

Sheikh Mohammed al-Maktoum's Darley operation has been on a shopping spree for stallion prospects lately, and the most recent acquisition is French and German champion Manduro. The 5-year-old Monsun horse will join Darley's roster upon his retirement from racing and will campaign for his owner, Baron Georg von Ullmann, until then.

German-bred Manduro has won 4 of his 5 races this season, including the Prix Jacques le Marois, Prix d'Ispahan, and Prince of Wales's Stakes, as well as the Group 3 Earl of Sefton Stakes. He is an eight-time stakes-winner with earnings of $1,887,727.

Darley's chief bloodstock advisor, John Ferguson, noted that Darley already stands another son of Monsun, 2005 Breeders' Cup Turf winner Shirocco.

The purchase price was not disclosed.

Earlier this year, Darley bought Kentucky Derby winner Street Sense, runner-up Hard Spun, and Epsom Derby winner Authorized. On Aug. 15, Darley announced it had also privately purchased Haskell Invitational winner Any Given Saturday. All of the horses will continue to run for their current owners until their retirements, when they will join Darley's international stallion roster.

Big gains at French sale

Arqana's Deauville August yearling sale in France concluded Monday after four days that produced sharp gains over last year's auction.

Topping the sale was a Galileo colt that sold for 1.4 million euros, or about $1.9 million. Demi O'Byrne, Coolmore Stud's representative, made the purchase; Coolmore stands Galileo. The sale-topping colt is out of the Top Ville mare Clara Bow, making him a half-brother to French Group 1 winner Turtle Bowl.

O'Byrne signed for four yearlings totaling 2,390,000 euros, or about $3,222,075, for an average expenditure of approximately $1,611,038. But the leading buyer by gross was Shadwell France, which spent 2,690,000 euros, or about $3,626789, for nine yearlings.

In total, the Deauville August yearling auction sold 382 horses for a combined 37,448,000 euros, or $50,500,445, up 26 percent from last year and a record for the auction. Average price and median also increased 21 percent and 5 percent, respectively, in comparison with last year's figures. The 2007 average price was about $132,190, while median was approximately $80,907. The buyback rate was a low 21 percent, down from last year's 23 percent figure.