09/11/2006 11:00PM

Maktoum buys sale record $11.7M colt


Sheikh Mohammed al Maktoum spent $11.7 million at the Keeneland September yearling sale late on Tuesday afternoon for a yearling colt by Kingmambo, breaking the record for a yearling purchased at the sale.

The colt, who is out of the stakes-winning Seattle Slew mare Crown of Crimson, is a full brother to Ashaawes, a winner in England who is also owned by Maktoum. The bidding war for the colt, which took place behind the sales arena and matched Maktoum with his familiar adversary, Coolmore Stud, attracted a huge crowd that watched as the two sides rhythmically nodded out bids in $200,000 and $300,000 increments.

John Ferguson, Maktoum's agent, said after the purchase that Maktoum considered the colt the finest horse in the sale.

"He was always going to be, in Sheikh Mohammed's eyes, the number one horse in the sale," Ferguson said.

The colt was consigned by Burleson Farm. Richard Santulli, who races and breeds under the name Jayeff B Stables, owns the mare.

"I'm pretty overwhelmed," Santulli said. "We knew he'd sell well, but obviously, you don't think they'll ever sell that well." The reserve on the colt was $2 million, Santulli said.

Santulli said that representatives of Maktoum and Coolmore had visited his farm in the spring and summer to see the Kingmambo colt. The colt's mare, Crown of Crimson, died this year when foaling a Storm Cat colt, Santulli said.

The previous record for a yearling at the September sale was set last year, when Maktoum spent $9.7 million on a Storm Cat colt out of Tranquility Lake. The all-time record for a yearling sold at auction was set in 1985, when Robert Sangster spent $13.1 million for a horse that was eventually named Seattle Dancer. The yearling was bought at the Keeneland July sale, which has been discontinued.

Earlier in the sale, Maktoum purchased a Danzig colt for $9.2 million, which was the sales topper prior to the $11.7 million Kingmambo colt. The Danzig colt, out of the Deputy Minister mare Sharp Minister, is from the last crop of Danzig, the highly successful sire who died last year. Monticule Farm bred and consigned the colt.

Part of the ruling family of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed spent $29.6 million - one-third of the total gross - at the sale on Monday, including the session's highest-priced yearling, an $8.2 million Storm Cat colt.

The underbidder on both the Kingmambo colt and the Danzig colt was Coolmore Farm, the international breeding and racing operation. Coolmore has been the underbidder on nearly every one of Sheikh Mohammed's high-priced purchases at the sale. The two groups typically bid within yards of each other in the back of the sales arena, and the bidding on the sales topper was no exception.

Coolmore broke through later that afternoon by spending $5.2 million for a colt by Danzig out of the Roberto mare Al Theraab, the dam of Irish stakes winner Albert Hall. Demi O'Byrne, a representative of Coolmore, made the bids on behalf of Coolmore from the back of the sales arena. The underbidder could not be identified, though it was believed to be Sheikh Hamdan al Maktoum's Shadwell Farm, whose representatives have been bidding from a private location at Keeneland.

Five hips after the sale-topper, Ahmed Zayat, the Egyptian-born non-alcoholic beverage manufacturer, spent $4.6 million on a colt by Vindication out of the Silver Deputy mare Silvery Swan, who is the dam of stakes winners Roman Ruler and El Corredor. Zayat was seated next to Bob Baffert, who trains Zayat's Grade 1 winner Point Ashley. Baffert trained Vindication, Roman Ruler, and El Corredor.

"I trained the family, and I was really impressed by the way he moved," Baffert said. "He's really classy, moves like a cat, and that's what we're looking for, an athlete."

"Without sounding arrogant, he was the best-looking horse in the sale," said Zayat.

The underbidder on the colt was Sheikh Mohammed.

The sales-topping filly as of early Tuesday afternoon was a daughter of Storm Cat out of the Seeking the Gold mare Welcome Surprise. John Sikura of Hill 'n' Dale Farm in Kentucky paid $3 million for the filly on behalf of a racing and breeding partnership, Southern Equine Stables.

Welcome Surprise is a daughter of the blue-hen mare Weekend Surprise, the dam of A.P. Indy and Summer Squall, two classic winners who are now fashionable stallions. Sikura said he bought the filly as much for her potential as a broodmare as her potential as a runner.

"She was unique in the book, as far as the depth and significance of the family," Sikura said.

Earlier in the session, a Storm Cat colt out of the Pleasant Colony mare Probable Colony sold for $2.3 million. The colt, who is a half brother to the Grade 1 winner Summer Colony, was purchased by Shadwell Farm.

Yesterday, at the opening session of the sale, three of the highest-priced yearlings, including the $8.2 million session topper, were sired by Storm Cat, who stands for a fee of $500,000.

On Monday, the opening session of the 13-day sale, 163 horses sold for gross receipts of $87.9 million. Average was $539,264, up 14.3 percent compared to average during the first session of last year, and median was $310,000, up 3.3 percent compared to last year's first session median.