07/13/2016 3:19PM

Donegal Moon back with Pletcher after failing to sell on $1.6 million bid

Fasig-Tipton Photo
Donegal Moon failed to meet his reserve at the Fasig-Tipton selected horses of racing age sale.

Grade 3 winner Donegal Moon returned to the Saratoga barn of trainer Todd Pletcher after finishing under his reserve with a final bid of $1.6 million on Monday at the Fasig-Tipton July selected horses of racing age sale.

Jerry Crawford, president of ownership group Donegal Racing, said Wednesday that the connections would monitor the 3-year-old son of Malibu Moon’s next breeze or two before deciding on his next start, with the Grade 1 Haskell Invitational Stakes, the Grade 2 Jim Dandy Stakes, or the Grade 2 West Virginia Derby all on the table.

Donegal Moon most recently won the Grade 3 Pegasus Stakes at Monmouth Park on June 19.

Though the colt ultimately returned to his owners, Crawford said the experience of putting a headline-grabbing horse through the auction ring was a greater rush than he’d expected. The colt’s final bid, he said, came within about $100,000 of the reserve price to let him go, which would have made him the sale-topper by a wide margin.

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“I’ve been in three Kentucky Derbies in the last six years, and I’ve been in the Preakness, and the Belmont, and the Travers, which we were fortunate enough to win, and I’ve never been as nervous as I was the night before last,” he said Wednesday. “I had chest pains, and I’m somebody that has never uttered a word during the running of the Kentucky Derby. I’m calm and poised and intently watching, but it doesn’t get to me at all from a nerves standpoint, and I thought I was going to have a coronary. I have no idea why I acted the way I did.”

Despite the outcome, Crawford praised Fasig-Tipton and consignor Taylor Made Sales Agency for how Donegal Moon was handled leading up to the auction.

“They really did a terrific job,” he said. “The buying community didn’t quite know what to make of it, and that probably kept us from getting the deal done. I just can’t say enough positive things about them, and they may be on to something looking into the future. They surely did all they could to make it happen.”

• Along with Donegal Moon, Stormy Lucy, and Best Behavior, several other graded stakes performers passed through the ring. One of the top prices fetched was by War Envoy, who sold to Ruis Racing for $150,000. The son of prominent commercial sire War Front was consigned by Kingswood Farm for the Coolmore operation. War Envoy is group stakes placed in three different countries.

• Dynamic Impact, winner of the Grade 3 Illinois Derby in 2014, sold to Southern Springs Stables for $25,000.

• Grade 2-placed stakes winner The Great War failed to meet his reserve in the auction ring and was bought back for $195,000, while Grade 3-placed stakes winner Sheikh of Sheikhs also finished below his reserve at $95,000.

• A no-guarantee season to multiple Grade 1 winner Mshawish, who will enter stud in 2017, was auctioned for $17,000 to Dr. Pug Hart at Sunday night's "Night for a Cure" event at Fasig-Tipton's headquarters in Lexington. The event, hosted by Fasig-Tipton, Coolmore, and WinStar, benefitted the Ann Hanley Parkinson’s Research Fund and raised almost $300,000 to fund research at the University of Kentucky.

Mshawish, by Medaglia d'Oro, was a Grade 1 winner on both dirt and turf, taking last year's Gulfstream Park Turf and this year's Donn Handicap. In all, he won seven stakes and placed in four others while competing with distinction in the United States, Dubai, and France. He retired with more than $2.4 million in earnings and will stand at Taylor Made Farm next year.