10/09/2003 11:00PM

First seven-figure yearling keys record Tattersalls sale


LEXINGTON, Ky. - The Tattersalls October yearling sale's first segment ended a powerfully bullish run Friday in Newmarket, England, setting records for its top price, gross, average, and median.

A $1,743,000 Diesis colt, the first yearling ever to sell for seven figures at the Tattersalls October auction, topped the sale. The aggressive bidding that produced that price also boosted the auction in general. With 87 more horses sold this year than last, gross soared to a record $76,325,822 for 788 lots sold, bringing the average price to $96,860 and median to $61,373. Compared in the auction's currency of guineas, gross jumped 44 percent, average climbed 28 percent, and median leaped 17 percent.

John Magnier and Michael Tabor bought the sale-topper at the auction's second session. The colt is out of an Irish Oaks runner-up, the Danehill mare Kitza.

Tattersalls chairman Edmond Mahony said the sale outpaced all predictions.

"Trade this week has been truly phenomenal and the Tattersalls October yearling sale record book has been completely rewritten," he said. "The sale has been the highest-grossing European yearling sale ever."

The first portion of the October yearling sale ran from Tuesday through Friday, and the second segment will take place from Monday through Wednesday.

Coronado's Quest sold to Japan interests

Claiborne Farm has sold young stallion and Grade 1 winner Coronado's Quest to the Japanese Bloodhorse Breeders Association on the Japanese island of Hokkaido. Claiborne did not disclose the sale price.

Coronado's Quest, an 8-year-old Forty Niner horse, is the sire of English Group 2 winner Al Jadeed and stakes winners Allspice and Battle Chant from two crops to race. He had covered 70 in 2002, the most recent year for which figures are available from The Jockey Club.

Coronado's Quest is out of the Damascus mare Laughing Look. He won the 1998 Travers and Haskell among his eight graded stakes wins and earned more than $2 million.

In announcing the sale, Claiborne said that it had included a clause in the contract that gives it the right to reacquire Coronado's Quest if the Japanese retire him or decide to resell him.

Maryland Stallion Station has many investors

The new Maryland Stallion Station - a stud farm in Glyndon, Md., whose backers include the renowned Kentucky operation Lane's End - has brought 20 to 30 investors together to form what they hope will be the next Windfields, the dominant Maryland farm of the 1960's and 1970's. Lane's End has attracted headlines with its involvement, but the investors also include a number of people who have never been in the horse business before.

One of the founding partners, David DiPietro, said the new investors come from vastly different backgrounds. "Some are longtime friends and colleagues who wanted to support the venture," he said. "Others got in because they found the potential financial return to be attractive. Some were looking for an alternative investment to stocks or real estate and felt this was a good alternative asset class for them. And some of them had wanted to be in the horse business and saw this as a better-diversified way to get involved, with a better cash flow from the stallion business than they'd get with a racehorse."

DiPietro counts himself among the newbies in the bloodstock game, though he did own a piece of a racehorse about a year ago. But others are far less experienced in Thoroughbred racing and breeding than he is.

One of them is Bill Weissgerber, a Maryland real estate broker. Knowing little about horses, he handicapped the opportunity based on the past performances of the people involved.

"A lot of it had to do with the people involved," Weissgerber said. "It has the right mix of people who really know horses from the business in Kentucky to guys who know the business side from up here."

It didn't hurt that his investment gets him a piece of five stallions in 2004, not just one. "Even if there turned out to be a risk, it's going to be pretty small," Weissgerber said. "Those guys in the horse business really seem to enjoy what they do, and it seemed like a fun thing to diversify into, with the right people."

* Shadwell Stud has sent its stallion Bahri from the Bluegrass to Ireland, where he will stand at his owner's Derrinstown Stud in Ireland. Both stud farms are owned by Bahri's owner, Sheikh Hamdan al Maktoum. Bahri, an 11-year-old Riverman stallion with five crops to race, is the sire of European champion and 2001 Arc winner Sakhee.

* John Oxley's Holiday Thunder, a 5-year-old Thunder Gulch horse out of Magical Holiday (Slew o' Gold), has relocated from Signature Stallions at Dunhill Stud in Reddick, Fla., to Jubilee Farm in Citra, Fla. He will stand for $2,500. Jubilee also will stand Scottish Halo for a fee of $3,500.