07/17/2006 12:00AM

Forestry colt sells to Darley for $1.2M


LEXINGTON, Ky. - Forestry set the Thoroughbred auction market alight this spring at the Fasig-Tipton Calder select 2-year-old sale, where his son The Green Monkey set a world record auction price of $16 million. If Fasig-Tipton Kentucky's July select sale on Monday was any indication, Forestry will be hot in the 2006 yearling season, too.

Selling as Hip No. 217, a Forestry colt out of Alizea's Song brought $1.2 million to top the first of two sessions at the Lexington sale. Bought by Sheikh Mohammed al-Maktoum's Darley organization, he is the first Fasig-Tipton July yearling to bring $1 million since 1983. Taylor Made, agent, was the consignor.

A smaller catalog dropped opening-day gross by 4 percent this year, with 154 yearlings bringing $16,726,000 as compared with last year's total of $17,503,000 for 184 horses. Median dipped 6 percent, from $80,000 to $75,000 this year. But average rose 14 percent, from $95,125 last year to $108,610, and the buyback rate declined from 38 percent in 2005 to just 27 percent.

John Ferguson, Maktoum's agent, noted that the Forestry colt looked to have enough athleticism and pedigree to make a racehorse and stallion prospect.

"We saw him throughout the spring and summer and consistently liked him," Ferguson said. He said that Darley did not try to buy the colt privately but waited for him to come up at auction.

Darley was the underbidder for The Green Monkey, who ultimately went to Coolmore.

"We obviously all hold the horse in high regard," he said of Forestry. "We'll see by the end of the year."

The Forestry colt was bred by Aaron and Marie Jones, who bought his dam for $850,000 at the 2000 Keeneland July select yearling sale. The Unbridled's Song filly never raced, but if she initially looked like an expensive loss, she's making up for it as a broodmare.

Her first foal, Lucky Alizea, sold for $450,000 to Joyce Robsham and is in training with Stanley Hough. The Forestry colt is her second foal.

It's no surprise people are willing to take a chance on foals out of Alizea's Song. They may not have made any starts yet, but they have some runners in the family. Alizea's Song, by Unbridled's Song, is a full sister to Grade 1 winner Songandaprayer, who has lately turned out to be a nice young sire. She's also a half-sister to Grade 3-placed stakes winner Lifeisawhirl and stakes-winner Island Emperor, as well as to a pair of stakes-placed runners.

And her $1.2 million son at the Fasig-Tipton sale offered something that seems popular these days: the cross of Forestry with Unbridled's Song bloodlines.

"They're being mixed a lot lately," said Mark Taylor of the Taylor Made agency. "Unbridled Elaine has a Forestry yearling colt this year, and Extend has a beautiful Forestry filly. And we're selling a filly later at this sale, Hip No. 460, that's by Forestry out of Unbridled Spirit."

Why the sudden run on that cross?

"Storm Cat has gone well with Unbridled's Song, and I think it's an extension of that," Taylor said. Storm Cat is Forestry's sire. "Forestry is a fast horse, but he could go two turns, and Unbridled's Song has done really well with speed."

The $1.2 million sale was a hit all the way around for Taylor Made, which not only raised the session-topping colt but also stands both Forestry and Unbridled's Song.

The auction began with a 213-horse New Sire Showcase, featuring yearlings from this season's first- and second-crop sires. A number of debuting sires popped off prices of $300,000 or more. Those were Hip No. 118, a $375,000 Harlan's Holiday-My Sweet Country colt that Ahmed Zayat bought from Gainesway, agent; Hip No. 75, a $310,000 Hook and Ladder-Guilty Pleasure filly that Zayat purchased from Burleson Farm, agent; Hip No. 65, a $300,000 Posse-Ghost Storm filly that agent Buzz Chace bought from Legacy Bloodstock, agent; and Hip No. 77, a $300,000 Vindication-Heat Is On colt that Maurice Miller III bought from Eaton Sales, agent.

Fans of Empire Maker who were eager to see his progeny sell for big prices will have to wait a little longer. The sole entry by Empire Maker, a son of the stakes-winning Storm Cat mare Saturday's Song, was bought back by Domino Stud of Lexington after failing to sell at $395,000. Another sire with a single entry in the sale was 2002 Breeders' Cup Classic winner Volponi, whose daughter of the Pulpit mare Sermon brought $50,000 from Dapple Bloodstock. Hopewell Farm, which stood Volponi before selling him to Korean interests, was the consignor.

A horse usually has to make a big price to attract attention at a yearling auction. But Hip No. 41, who brought $40,000 from Dr. Naveed Chowhan, caught the spotlight for another reason: her color. The filly is registered as white, though she is sprinkled with chestnut hairs, mostly along her top line. The Trust N Luck filly is one of only 40 white Thoroughbreds registered with The Jockey Club since 1896. Darby Dan, agent, consigned her for breeders Mike and Nancy Mazzoni.

The sale was to continue through Tuesday at Fasig-Tipton's Newtown Paddocks in Lexington.