08/14/2005 11:00PM

Carson City colt tops session at $165K

Bill Denver/ EQUI-PHOTOS
Proud Accolade, en route to winning the Hutcheson, retires with 4 wins in 10 starts.

LEXINGTON, Ky. - Fresh off an unexpectedly strong showing at its Saratoga select yearling sale last week, the Fasig-Tipton Company went back to selling on Sunday night at its New York-bred auction.

The two-night Saratoga preferred yearling auction got under way at the Humphrey S. Finney Pavilion, with a $165,000 Carson City colt the opening night session-topper. Figures for the auction's first night held nearly level with last year. Gross receipts rose slightly, with 55 yearlings bringing $2,484,000; last year, 53 yearlings brought $2,462,000. Average price dipped to $45,164 from last year's $46,453, but median climbed from $38,000 to $40,000. The buyback rate was 38 percent, down from last year's 43 percent.

Michael Marceda bought Hip No. 243, the $165,000 son of Carson City and the Relaunch mare Careful Approach offered by Francis and Barbara Vanlangendonck's Summerfield agency. The colt is a half-brother to Shaky Town, a two-time stakes winner this year.

The Carson City yearling was one of six lots to bring $100,000 or more Sunday night. The others were Hip No. 250, a $130,000 Woodman-Chesa Plana filly that BBA (Ireland) purchased from Blue Chip Farms, agent; Hip No. 296, a $105,000 Officer-Guilty Pleasure filly that Chester Broman bought from Lakland North, agent; Hip No. 205, a $100,000 Lemon Drop Kid-Watercolors filly that Barclay Tagg bought from Elise Benedict Browne (Southern Cross Farm, agent); Hip No. 277, a $100,000 Freud-Erv's Duck colt that Leprechaun Racing, agent, bought from Lakland North, agent; and Hip No. 298, a $100,000 Lion Hearted-Hilda Mae filly that Sovereign Stables purchased from Clear Run Farm.

The second and final session of the auction was scheduled to start Monday in Saratoga Springs at 7:30 p.m.

Bluegrass Farm has new operator

Bluegrass Farm, once owned by Nelson Bunker Hunt and more recently an exotic-animal farm, has a new operator who plans to maintain it as a horse operation. The Lexington Herald-Leader has reported that Kentucky Downs co-owner Brad Kelley has bought the 222-acre farm for "more than $6.8 million," or about $30,750 an acre.

Realtor Arnold Kirkpatrick called that "a very fair price" and told the newspaper that Kelley intends to return the farm to its role as a horse breeding facility. Until the late 1980's, when Hunt went bankrupt, Bluegrass Farm was the base for his famed homebreeding operation. But since 1990, its owners were investors who once explored the possibility of turning the land into a golf course. Located at the intersection of Lexington's Man o' War and Versailles roads, the farm faces Keeneland and Calumet on its front side and the Lexington-Blue Grass airport on another side. It most recently has been the home to longhorn cattle and exotic animals.

Kelley, 48, is a former board member of Churchill Downs Inc. and was that company's majority shareholder until 2004, when he reduced his holdings to less than 5 percent by selling $16 million in stock back to CDI.

Proud Accolade retired to stud

Proud Accolade, winner of the 2004 Champagne Stakes, has retired from racing and will enter stud in 2006 at owner Satish Sanan's Padua Stables near Summerfield, Fla.

A 3-year-old Yes It's True colt out of Proud Ciel (Septieme Ciel), Proud Accolade will stand for $5,000.

Sanan acquired Proud Accolade for $450,000 at last year's Ocala Breeders' Sales Co.'s select 2-year-old sale. Bred in Florida by Marion Montanari, Proud Accolade had previously sold for $47,000 at the OBS select yearling sale in 2003.

Todd Pletcher trained Proud Accolade, who won his first three starts by a combined 13 1/2 lengths. Proud Accolade went on to capture the Champagne, beating eventual Preakness and Belmont winner Afleet Alex by a half-length. Proud Accolade finished sixth in the 2004 Breeders' Cup Juvenile and fifth in the Hollywood Futurity to close out his juvenile season. He returned this year to win the Hutcheson and later finished third behind Roman Ruler and Flower Alley in the Dwyer in his final start. He ends his career with a record of 10-4-0-1 and $476,630 in earnings.