07/09/2007 11:00PM

One big spender in Japan


Riichi Kondo, owner of international Grade 1 winner Admire Moon, went back to the well again on Tuesday, buying a second half-brother to that runner at the Japan Racing Horse Association's July foal sale on Hokkaido.

Kondo paid a session-topping $2,429,150 on Tuesday for a gray Kurofune colt foal out of Admire Moon's dam, My Katies. On Monday at the July sale's yearling session, Kondo bought a French Deputy colt out of My Katies for $2,024,291, topping that session and setting a Japanese yearling record.

Admire Moon, a 4-year-old colt by End Sweep, won this year's Dubai Duty Free Stakes in the United Arab Emirates and Takarazuka Kinen in Japan, both Grade 1 races.

Like Admire Moon, both of the sale's session-toppers were bred by Katsumi Yoshida's Northern Farm, which consigned them to the auction. Tuesday's top-priced foal was one of a dozen horses that Kondo, a construction executive, purchased at the session. Northern Farm consigned all but two.

Despite Kondo's aggressive spending, the Tuesday session's overall figures declined compared with last year, when a world-record $5.2 million King Kamehameha foal buoyed the market. The 2007 session sold 132 foals for $40,145,749, down 11 percent from last year. The average price of $304,134 was off by 20 percent, and the $230,769 median represented a 5 percent decline from 2006. The buy-back rate fell, though, from 27 percent last year to 25 percent.

The three-day auction was to end Wednesday with the second and final foal session.