07/13/2004 12:00AM

Japanese have record sale


Aided by Fusao Sekiguchi's extravagant bidding, the Japan Racing Horse Association's July foal sale achieved a world-record top price of $4.5 million and a sale-record gross of more than $71 million by its close Tuesday.

Sekiguchi, who campaigned 2000 Kentucky Derby winner Fusaichi Pegasus, bought the world-record $4.5 million Dance in the Dark-Air Groove colt from Northern Farm at Monday's opening session on the island of Hokkaido. He returned at Tuesday's final session to acquire the day's most expensive lot, another offering from Northern Farm. This time it was a $2.5 million Gone West colt out of Seattle Sunset. The mare is an unraced daughter of Belong to Me, and the Gone West colt is her first foal, but the family has some rich history. Seattle Sunset is a daughter of Grade 1-placed Weekend in Seattle, herself a daughter of the great broodmare Weekend Surprise. Weekend Surprise is the dam of former Horse of the Year A.P. Indy and Preakness winner Summer Squall, among others.

The two-day auction sold 234 lots for a sale-record $71,129,630, up 19 percent from last year's total in U.S. dollars. The average price rose 7 percent to $303,973, and the median rose 26 percent to $224,537. The buy-back rate held nearly level with last year at 24 percent.