04/21/2004 11:00PM

Record $975K colt sparks big gains

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LEXINGTON, Ky. - Bolstered by a sale-record $975,000 Distorted Humor colt, Wednesday's third session of the Ocala Breeders' Sales Company's April juvenile sale triggered dramatic financial increases.

Early selling remained strong at the sale's fourth and final session Thursday. A $675,000 Double Honor colt was the early leader. Consigned by Farnsworth Farms, agent, the colt is out of Camptown Miss, by Carr de Naskra, and is a half-brother to three winners, most notably the stakes winner College Honor. William Condren bought the colt.

Wednesday's session sold 200 lots for $6,501,000, almost double last year's session total of $3,337,700 for 172 juveniles. The 2004 session average also made enormous gains, rising 68 percent from $19,405 to $32,505. Median increased even more, leaping 74 percent from $11,500 to $20,000. Not surprisingly, given the much stronger market this year, the third-session buyback rate fell from 30 percent last year to 17 percent.

Wednesday's $975,000 Distorted Humor colt crushed the auction's previous record of $550,000, set when Etbauer sold in 1998 and equaled in 2001 for a Grindstone filly. John Ferguson, agent for Sheikh Mohammed al Maktoum, bought the Distorted Humor colt from Niall Brennan, who consigned the colt on behalf of the John Franks estate. The colt is out of graded winner Zuppardo Ardo, by Zuppardo's Prince. During the auction's under-tack sessions, he worked an eighth of a mile in 10.00 seconds, the fastest time for the distance.

One other horse, a Straight Man-Brandy Shine colt who sold Thursday for $100,000, also posted a 10.00 workout time for an eighth-mile.

Selling was still under way at 5 p.m. Eastern on Thursday.

Miss Snowflake dies at 26

Miss Snowflake, dam of 1986 Preakness winner Snow Chief, died on April 2 of a uterine hemorrhage, co-owner Jim FitzGerald confirmed this week.

The 26-year-old Miss Snowflake died at FitzGerald's Knockgriffin Farm in Paris, Ky., one day after foaling a healthy Talk is Money colt. The colt is on a nurse mare and will likely be sold eventually, FitzGerald said. FitzGerald and partners purchased Miss Snowflake in 1996 at the Tattersalls December mixed sale, where they paid about $70,000 for her.

Miss Snowflake is out of Bold Jewel, by Any Time Now. A winner in one of five starts, she became an immediate success as a broodmare with her first foal, Snow Chief. He won 12 stakes races in his career, including six as a 3-year-old in 1986. His wins that year in the Preakness, Florida Derby, Santa Anita Derby, and Jersey Derby helped him earn an Eclipse Award as the season's 3-year-old champion.

Snow Chief was Miss Snowflake's best runner, although she also produced Group 2 winner Mujaazif.

First winner for Fusaichi Pegasus

Fusaichi Pegasus, the 2000 Kentucky Derby winner who was syndicated that year for a record total value of $60 million, got his first winner Thursday when the 2-year-old colt In Excelsis won the Irish Stallion Farms E.B.F. Maiden race at Tipperary, Ireland. In Excelsis beat Globalized and three others in the five-furlong race, which was run over heavy turf.

In Excelsis was making his first start for owner Sue Magnier and trainer Aidan O'Brien. Mike Rutherford Sr. bred In Excelsis in Kentucky. Sold as a yearling at the 2003 Keeneland September auction, In Excelsis brought a final bid of $950,000 from agent Demi O'Byrne, who represents the partnership of Sue Magnier and Michael Tabor. Magnier is the wife of John Magnier, whose Coolmore Stud bought Fusaichi Pegasus and stands him.