10/16/2002 12:00AM

Charismatic will stand in Japan for new owners


LEXINGTON, Ky. - Kentucky Derby winner and Horse of the Year Charismatic has been sold to the Japan Racing Association and will move from Lane's End in Kentucky to Hokkaido starting in 2003.

California agent Rollin Baugh brokered the sale.

Charismatic has stood at Lane's End in Versailles, Ky., since his retirement from racing in 1999. His career ended after he sustained condylar cannon bone and vertical sesamoid fractures in his left front leg when finishing third in the 1999 Belmont Stakes. Charismatic, already the winner of the 1999 Derby and Preakness, earned the 3-year-old championship and Horse of the Year title that season.

A 6-year-old Summer Squall horse, Charismatic stood at Lane's End for an advertised fee of $35,000 from 2000 to 2002. None of his progeny have reached the racetrack yet, but his yearlings have hit the sale ring with moderate success. Thirty-eight Charismatic yearlings have sold at public auction this year for a total of $2,671,200, for an average price of $70,295. Last year, five Charismatic weanlings sold for $369,000, producing an average price of $73,800.

At least until his North American foals launch their racing careers, Charismatic will be best known to North American racing fans as the former claimer who nearly won the Triple Crown, and whose life possibly was saved in the Belmont due to quick thinking by rider Chris Antley. Trained by D. Wayne Lukas, Charismatic carried Bob and Beverly Lewis's silks to the Derby winner's circle at odds of 31-1, then followed up with a 1 1/2-length score in the Preakness. In the Belmont, Charismatic broke down near the finish line; Antley, who died of multiple drug intoxication in 2000, quickly stopped the colt, leaped out of the saddle, and cradled his mount's injured leg until veterinary help arrived.

Bred by Parrish Hill Farm in Midway, Ky., Charismatic is a son of the Drone mare Bali Babe. The mare, now deceased, also produced Grade 1 winner Millennium Wind and Grade 2 winner Tossofthecoin, both half-siblings to Charismatic.

Val Royal relocating to Ireland

Last year's Breeders' Cup Mile winner, Val Royal, is headed from Australia to Ireland in 2003.

The 6-year-old Val Royal will shuttle from Eliza Park Stud in Victoria, Australia, to Oak Lodge Stud near Naas, Co. Kildare,Ireland.

David Milch, who campaigned Val Royal, sold the millionaire to a South African-based partnership in April. The new owners, which included South African breeder Lionel Cohen and German breeder Andreas Jacobs, initially intended to stand Val Royal in South Africa. But the owners altered their plans, and the horse debuted at Eliza Park this year.

Will October sale survive?

Keeneland's second October yearling sale ended on an up note Tuesday, but its future may still be in question. Cut from last year's two-day format to a single session with 157 yearlings on offer (compared with last year's 459), the auction grossed $1,606,400 for 103 sales; average rose 4 percent to $15,596 and median rose 15 percent to $6,000. The October yearling sale, designed to relieve the pressure of numbers in the two-week September yearling auction, has been disappointing in its first two editions and is the least profitable of Keeneland's sales.

"All of our sales are reviewed each year on a case-by-case basis," Geoffrey Russell, Keeneland sales director, said Tuesday. He added that the auction house's sale format generally is set by the beginning of each year, but he declined to speculate on the October sale's fate.

"I was disappointed to have such a thin catalog," Russell conceded. "The horses that are here are selling well, but a larger catalog would have helped."

Russell noted that a lower buyback rate at the September sale reduced the pool of available nominees to the October sale.

"The middle market's strength in September also diluted the number of horses available in October," he added. "But I still hope this October sale will be useful in taking pressure off the September auction."

Huge gains for Tattersalls

The English sale company Tattersalls also launched its October yearling sale Tuesday, posting gains across the board. On the first of five days, 194 lots sold for $18,170,224, more than tripling the gross from last year's edition, when 186 yearlings brought a total of $4,255,924. Average also leaped sharply, from last year's $22,880 to $93,659, and median shot up from $17,102 to $68,355.

Twenty-nine lots in the first session hit the six-figure mark, including the $610,314 session-topping Indian Ridge-Place de l'Opera colt that Charlie Gordon-Watson bought. Last year, the entire sale rang up 56 six-figure lots.