04/22/2008 12:00AM

Darley buys top 2 at Inglis Easter sale session


LEXINGTON, Ky. - Sheikh Mohammed al-Maktoum's Darley organization, which shocked Australia's Thoroughbred industry last month by purchasing Bob Ingham's entire Woodlands Stud for almost a half-billion dollars, came back on Tuesday to pick up the top two horses at the Inglis Easter select yearling sale.

Darley representative John Ferguson purchased a pair of Redoute's Choice colts at the Tuesday session, the last of three in the select sale's first segment. One, a son of Salameh, topped the three-day run at $2.7 million Australian, about $2,538,000. The other, a son of Snowdrift, sold for about $2,350,000.

Darley was the leading buyer at part one, purchasing 20 yearlings for approximately $17,864,700.

Right behind Maktoum on the buyers' list was Ingham, who returned to the auction ring to stock up after his big sale to Maktoum. Ingham was underbidder on the Redoute's Choice-Snowdrift colt, but he ended up buying more than Maktoum by the close of business Tuesday. Ingham signed for 23 yearlings costing a total of about $16,802,500.

Part one broke last season's records for average price and median. The three-day part-one segment sold 381 yearlings for about $134,786,600, resulting in an average of about $353,770 and a median of approximately $235,000. Part one also sold a record number of horses for $1 million Australian or more, 28, which beat last year's 23.

The results left Inglis officials jubilant and were especially welcome after a breeding season that was all but ruined by countrywide quarantines due to Australia's first outbreak of highly contagious equine influenza last August.

"The sale has exceeded all expectation, given what has transpired over the past six months within the industry," Inglis managing director Mark Webster said.

The select sessions conclude with one-day part two on Thursday.

Spring at Last retired to stud

Donn Handicap winner and millionaire Spring at Last has retired from racing and will enter stud in 2009 at his breeders' WinStar Farm in Versailles, Ky.

Spring at Last finished eighth last out in the April 5 Carter Handicap at Aqueduct and came out of that race with a tendon tear. Before the Carter, Spring at Last had won three in a row, starting with the Grade 2 Godolphin Mile at Nad al Sheba last year and ending with his defeat of Daaher in the Donn in January.

"That was a tough track," WinStar president Doug Cauthen said of the Carter. "It was drying out and kind of greasy, and it was getting away from a lot of horses. Unfortunately, it got him."

Ken Troutt and Bill Casner's WinStar Farm, which bred the Silver Deputy horse and sold him as a weanling for $675,000 to J. Paul Reddam, later came in as a partner to campaign him. Spring at Last won 5 of his 13 starts, finishing second twice and third twice. He leaves trainer Doug O'Neill's barn with $1,139,150 in earnings.

Spring at Last is out of the Dynaformer mare Winter's Gone and is a half-brother to Grade 1 winner Sharp Lisa and Grade 2 winner Sharp Susan.

His stud fee will be announced later.

Padua buys at Ocala

Padua Stables took home one of the most expensive lots Tuesday at the Ocala Breeders' Sales Company's spring 2-year-old sale when it picked up a $220,000 Silver Deputy colt at the Ocala, Fla., auction.

The bay colt out of Kris Star was the session-leader at 5:30 p.m. Sold as Hip No. 577, he is out of a full sister to Grade 2-placed stakes winner Tiger Hunt and Grade 3-placed Tiger Trap. Parrish Farms, agent, was the consignor.

There was one other horse to sell above $200,000 at that point. That was Hip No. 475, a $210,000 Toccet filly that Hal Earnhardt bought. Murray Smith, agent, sold the bay filly, who is out of the Jade Hunter winner Hunting Jade.

On Monday, the auction endured slides across the board in its opening session. Monday's session-topper was a $250,000 Macho Uno colt that Klaravich Stable agent Terri Pompay signed for. The gray or roan colt is a son of Enterprizing Cat, a Storm Cat mare who is a daughter of Grade 1 winner Family Enterprize. Woodside Ranch, agent, consigned the colt, who worked an eighth-mile in 10.20 seconds at the auction's under-tack preview.

Sold as Hip No. 273, the Macho Uno colt is a half-brother to the winning filly Unknown Variable. He was one of four juveniles to bring $100,000 or more Monday at the first of four sessions.

The opener sold 188 horses for $4,867,400, down 18 percent from last year's equivalent day, when 203 sold for $5,952,000. The average price also fell, dropping 12 percent to $25,890, and median decreased by 5 percent to $18,000. Despite the declines, the buyback rate did not increase sharply, rising from 29 percent to 30 percent.

The auction was to continue through Thursday with sessions beginning daily at 10:30 a.m. in the OBS pavilion in Ocala.