08/10/2008 11:00PM

Better Than Honour to be sold at auction


LEXINGTON, Ky. - Broodmare of the Year Better Than Honour - the dam of back-to-back Belmont winners Jazil and Rags to Riches whose value has been estimated by bloodstock experts as between $12 million and $15 million - will be offered at auction this fall, co-owner John Sikura said.

Sikura, the owner of Hill ’n’ Dale Farms, and Southern Equine Stables principal Mike Moreno will consign Better Than Honour, six other broodmares, and a broodmare or racing prospect to the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky November breeding stock sale in Lexington in order to dissolve their partnership.

“We have two programs that have a different emphasis,” Sikura said. “The initial intention for this group of mares was to be that of a commercial venture selling yearlings at public auction. The emphasis of Southern Equine’s policy is now to be more of a breed-to-race operation. They’ve purchased their own farm, they’re going to have their mares at their farm and support their racing program from their breeding program. My business plan, we’re essentially commercial breeders and we offer our yearlings for sale.”

Southern Equine bought the Roach family's Parrish Hill Farm in Midway, Ky., in June.

“It’s a way for both farms to pursue their own goals, and it’s a way to do it in a very fair manner that doesn’t advantage or disadvantage either side," Sikura said. “We mutually decided that offering the mares at public auction is the fairest way not only to both of us, but to an outside market.”

Better Than Honour, who also is the dam of Peter Pan Stakes winner Casino Drive, is not in foal this year. The other broodmares in the consignment are Grade 1 winners Point Ashley, in foal to Distorted Humor, and Madcap Escapade, in foal to A. P. Indy; Crystal Current, a stakes-winning full sister to Grade 1 winner Majestic Warrior, in foal to Distorted Humor; Grade 2 winner and Grade 1-placed Last Song, an Unbridled’s Song mare also in foal to Distorted Humor; the Pleasant Colony mare Promenade Colony, dam of Grade 2 winner Promenade Girl and stakes winner Dattts Awesome, in foal to Stormy Atlantic; and Grade 3 winner Sensation, a Dixie Union mare in foal to A. P. Indy.

The broodmare or racing prospect is Surprises Welcomed, a 3-year-old daughter of Storm Cat and Grade 3 winner Welcome Surprise. She is a full sister to Mr. Sekiguchi, who sold for $8 million at the 2004 Keeneland September yearling sale, and she herself sold to Southern Equine for $3 million at Keeneland’s 2006 September yearling auction.

Sikura said that most of the foals out of the partnership’s mares will sell alongside their dams. These include Crystal Current’s 2008 Maria’s Mon colt; Last Song’s 2008 A. P. Indy filly; Point Ashley’s 2008 Distorted Humor filly; Promenade Colony’s 2008 Giant’s Causeway colt; and Sensation’s 2008 Giant’s Causeway filly.

Madcap Escapade’s 2008 A. P. Indy colt will sell at the 2009 Keeneland September sale.

The sale of Better Than Honour will be poignant for Sikura, in particular, who sold her once before and later said he regretted it. Sikura acquired the mare privately from Robert Waxman at the end of her racing career, then sold her privately to Stanley and Ira Gumberg’s Skara Glen Stables in 2002; Skara Glen bred both Jazil and Rags to Riches.

Skara Glen sold Better Than Honour, carrying Casino Drive, to Coolmore for $2 million at the 2004 Keeneland November auction. Sikura joined forces with Southern Equine to buy the mare back privately in 2006.

Sikura said he doesn’t rule out attempting to buy out his partner in the auction ring.

“Obviously, she’s a mare without peer, and I doubt that there’s ever been a mare sold of her prominence and her level of achievement,” Sikura said. “I’m sure the interest of both parties, as well as third parties, will remain strong. We’ll have to see how the process finishes up. Would I love to own her? Of course, but so would everybody else.”