08/14/2009 12:00AM

Maktoum buys another sale-topping Storm Cat


LEXINGTON, Ky. - The ink had hardly dried on the receipt for the Saratoga select sale topper, a $2.8 million Storm Cat half-brother to Aragorn, before his buyer was making big bids again at the world's next major boutique yearling sale. And as at Saratoga, those bids helped lift the auction's bottom line.

John Ferguson, representing Sheikh Mohammed al-Maktoum, attended Friday's opening session of the Arqana Deauville select sale in Deauville, France, where he purchased another session-topping Storm Cat colt. This one is a half-brother to Godolphin Stable's 2006 Dubai World Cup winner Electrocutionist and cost 900,000 euros, or about $1,278,000. Haras d'Etreham consigned the chestnut son of Elbaaha, by Arazi.

Ferguson bought five yearlings totaling about $3,933,400. Coolmore Stud, which signed for only one $425,000 Giant's Causeway yearling at Saratoga, was more active at Deauville, paying about $1,980,000 for five yearlings. The most expensive Coolmore purchase was a 750,000-euro colt by Coolmore stallion Montjeu that is a full brother to Group 1 winner Corre Caminos.

Deauville's opening session sold 84 horses for approximately $28,215,400, including five private purchases, for an average of about $335,898 and a median of about $255,600. Gross rose 12 percent, average gained 11 percent, and median climbed 6 percent versus last year's opening-day figures.

The auction was to continue through Aug. 17.

Smaller foal crop expected

The Jockey Club projects that North America's 2010 registered Thoroughbred foal crop will number 30,000 and also has lowered its earlier estimate for the 2009 foal crop from 35,400 to 34,000.

The projected crop for 2010 would make it the smallest North American foal crop since 1977, when 30,036 foals were registered. The downward trend in likely registered foals matches patterns seen by stallion owners, who have said that fewer mares generally have been bred in 2009 in the wake of economic recession and sharply lower prices for Thoroughbreds at auction in the last year.

"After remaining stable for more than a decade, the number of mares bred has declined annually beginning in 2006, and the rate of that decline has accelerated in each of the last two breeding seasons," said Matt Iuliano, The Jockey Club's vice president of registration services. "These declines will have an obvious impact on the business in the years ahead, most notably at the racetrack, where, on average, 70 percent of registered foals make at least one career start."

The Jockey Club bases its registered foal crop projections on the Reports of Mares Bred that the organization receives by Aug. 1 of each breeding year.

Several F-T horses sold privately

In February, Fasig-Tipton began a new policy of revising its sale statistics to include post-session private purchases, and that had an effect on some of the session results at the recent Saratoga select yearling sale.

Tuesday night's final results for the two-night sale included revised stats for the Monday session. Those revisions revealed a lively private trade for horses that had failed to reach their reserves in the auction ring Monday night.

Fasig-Tipton stops revising its figures after the close of an auction, but at least through Tuesday evening nine of Monday's buy-backs had been sold privately. Those sales increased Monday's figures to 85 yearlings sold for $26,789,500, for an average of $315,171 and a $230,000 median. Before those private transactions, the figures were 76 horses sold for $25,470,000 with a $335,132 average and $250,000 median.

The private sales reported by Tuesday night were led by Donald Dizney's $300,000 purchase of a Bernardini half-brother to Spain that had left the ring unsold Monday night at $350,000. The other private sales, with their original buy-back price in parentheses, were a Henny Hughes-Shappy filly that Lael Stable bought for $260,000 ($360,000); a Ghostzapper-Shine Again colt that Michael Sanger bought for $75,000 ($70,000); a Smart Strike-Southern Swing colt that IEAH Stable paid $200,000 for ($195,000); a Giant's Causeway-Star light Night colt that Barry Irwin bought for $100,000 ($90,000); a Hennessy-Yard Art colt that Maverick Racing paid $150,000 for ($175,000); a More Than Ready-Belles Lettres colt that Kirk and Judy Robison bought for $52,000 ($55,000); an Elusive Quality-Chartreuse colt that agent Jeff Hayslett bought for $70,000 ($70,000); and a Yes It's True-Code of Ethics colt that David McKathan bought for $112,500 ($160,000).

Monba to stand in Pennsylvania

Starlight Stables, Donald Lucarelli, and Paul Saylor have sold their Grade 1 winner Monba, who will now enter stud at Mike Jester's Penn Ridge Farm in Harrisburg, Pa. Davant Latham brokered the deal.

The 4-year-old Maria's Mon colt won the 2008 Blue Grass Stakes and placed twice in Grade 3 company for earnings of $669,034. He won 3 of 10 lifetime starts. Monba, a son of the Easy Goer winner Hamba, is a half-brother to stakes-placed Gijima.

Another big sale for Whitechurch

David and Ann Hanley's Whitechurch Farm, which pinhooked Fasig-Tipton July's $425,000 sale-topping Medaglia d'Oro filly from an $85,000 weanling purchase, struck again at Saratoga. They sold a Medaglia d'Oro-Ellensburg colt to Sheikh Mohammed al-Maktoum for $875,000 after buying the colt last year for $165,000.

Whitechurch's Tiznow-Positive Energy filly that IEAH Stables bought for $725,000 cost $240,000 last year as a weanling. Whitechurch turned a smaller profit on its $260,000 sale of an Awesome Again-Ellensburg colt they'd bought for $225,000.

Fasig-Tipton going after owners

Fasig-Tipton officially has entered the ownership-recruitment business. The company announced this week that it will launch the Fasig-Tipton Racing Club, through which the company plans to identify potential new racehorse owners and help them get into the game.

Ownership recruitment was one of the areas Fasig-Tipton said it would take up after its purchase by Dubai-based Synergy Investments in April 2008.