11/28/2006 1:00AM

Broodmare sold for record $9.4M


LEXINGTON, Ky. - The Tattersalls December mare sale in Newmarket, England, surged to new heights Tuesday at its second session when the 4-year-old Magical Romance established a world-record broodmare price of 4.6 million guineas, or about $9,418,500.

London Thoroughbred Services purchased the mare from the Elms Stud agency.

Magical Romance's price broke the previous record, set last year at Keeneland's November sale, when Sheikh Mohammed al-Maktoum paid $9 million for Ashado. It also continues the trend seen at this year's Kentucky breeding stock sales, where young broodmares and broodmare prospects commanded exorbitant prices. The Kentucky market topped out this year at $6 million for 5-year-old Madcap Escapade, whom Hill 'n' Dale Farms owner John Sikura bought in foal to Pulpit.

But Tattersalls flew past that mark on Tuesday. The auction had been widely expected to produce stellar figures, partly due to the presence of the Britton House Stud dispersal that included Exciting Times, the 9-year-old dam of Gorella. Exciting Times, offered in foal to Dubawi, did indeed sell well, bringing about $1.8 million. But, as at Keeneland, even younger mares were most in demand.

Magical Romance is just 4 and sold in foal to the popular and successful sire Pivotal. She also is a Group 1 winner, having captured the Cheveley Park Stakes in England at 2. And she is a three-quarter sister to English and Irish Oaks winner Alexandrova and a full sister to Canadian Grade 3-placed Saree.

War Emblem's small crop produces a winner

War Emblem, the 2002 Kentucky Derby winner and champion 3-year-old, has gotten off the mark as a sire. The famously uninterested stallion had just four foals in his first crop after showing a distinct lack of libido. But one of them, a 2-year-old colt named Clan Emblem, won his second start on Nov. 26 in Tokyo by eight lengths.

The Racing Post reported Tuesday that Clan Emblem's dam, the Sunday Silence mare Azusa Yumi, was one of the first mares that War Emblem covered in 2003. Otherwise, his first year at stud was dismal, with the stallion declining to cover the vast majority of his book at the Yoshida family's Shadai Stallion Station on the island of Hokkaido. The Yoshidas ultimately filed an insurance claim but continued breeding the stallion on the occasions that he showed enough interest.

War Emblem reportedly has about 40 yearlings this year but only two foals of 2006.

Buckskin filly to sell at Fasig-Tipton

Fasig-Tipton Midlantic's December mixed sale will feature a weanling of a different color. Hip No. 407, a filly by Zillionair, is registered by the Jockey Club as a bay but also qualifies as a buckskin under the American Buckskin Registry Association.

The filly is a nearly gold color but has a black mane and tail, and her lower legs are also black. Because "buckskin" is not an official Thoroughbred color in the Jockey Club registry, the Jockey Club does not keep track of how many buckskin Thoroughbreds there are. But Hip No. 407's breeder, Lisa Calhoun, says she knows of more than a dozen.

The filly, named True Buckskin Halo, is out of the Halo mare Messenger of Light. In addition to routine DNA typing required by the Jockey Club, Calhoun also had True Buckskin Halo genetically tested at the University of California at Davis's Veterinary Genetics Laboratory to prove that the filly carries what Calhoun called "the cream gene." She does, and Calhoun says that means the filly has a 50 percent chance of passing along her color to any of her foals.

Praying for Cash headed for Ocala

Praying for Cash, a Grade 3-winning son of Songandaprayer, has retired to stand his first season at Randy Hartley and Dean De Renzo's Hartley/De Renzo Thoroughbreds near Ocala, Fla. No fee has been announced yet, but the 3-year-old colt is being syndicated.

Praying for Cash, a son of the West by West mare Cash No Credit, won the Grade 3 Long Branch Breeders' Cup Stakes this season. He also finished second in the Grade 1 Haskell and the ungraded Coronado's Quest. Todd Pletcher trained Praying for Cash, who retires with a record of 3 wins from 8 starts and $357,630 in earnings.

Praying for Cash arrived Tuesday at Hartley/De Renzo and can be seen in the farm's stallion show Saturday from 2 to 5 p.m.

Sharp Humor retired, to stand at WinStar

Grade 2 winner Sharp Humor has been retired from racing and will enter stud at WinStar Farm near Lexington under the auspices of WinStar and Taylor Made Stallions.

WinStar hasn't yet announced a fee for the 3-year-old Distorted Humor colt. He retires after re-aggravating a knee injury, according to a statement from WinStar and Taylor Made.

Sharp Humor, who is out of the unraced Hansel mare Bellona, last ran in the Grade 1 Cigar Mile on Nov. 25. He finished fifth.

Sharp Humor had 4 wins from 10 starts and earnings of $490,410. His biggest score came in the Grade 2 Swale Stakes this year.