03/01/2005 1:00AM

Sale delivers $5.2M baby

The record colt, by Tale of the Cat, breezes at Calder before the sale. John Ferguson made the winning bid for Sheikh Mohammed's Darley Stud.

MIAMI - Another year, another world record.

Sheikh Mohammed's Darley Stud spent $5.2 million on a son of Tale of the Cat at Tuesday's Fasig-Tipton selected 2-year-olds in training sale at Calder Race Course. The price was a world record for a 2-year-old in training sale, eclipsing the $4.5 million a son of Fusaichi Pegasus brought at this same sale last year.

Later in the sale, Sheikh Mohammed spent $2.9 million for a son of Grand Slam. As of 6:30 p.m., that was the third-highest-priced 2-year-old at this sale. Darley also purchased a Cat Thief filly for $700,000 and a Seeking the Gold colt for $650,000.

Sheikh Mohammed, who was represented at the sale by Jim Bell and John Ferguson, outbid Coolmore Stud for the Tale of the Cat colt and Satish Sanan for the Grand Slam colt. Aaron and Marie Jones were also in the running for the Tale of the Cat colt, but dropped out around the $3 million mark.

Coolmore and the Jones's got into another bidding war, for a Forestry colt. Coolmore won that duel with a bid of $3 million. As of 6:30 that was the second-highest price of the sale and the fifth-highest ever for a 2-year-old in training. The colt, a half-brother to graded stakes winner Host, was consigned by Tony Bowling and Bobby Dodd.

Bell, president of Darley Stud in America, signed the tickets for both of the Darley colts. Ferguson, the bloodstock manager for Sheikh Mohammed, did the bidding while on the phone with Sheikh Mohammed.

"Obviously, the previous colt and this one were very, very high on everyone's list," Bell said after the hammer fell on the Grand Slam colt. "The horses certainly stepped up and showed their athleticism. Both horses have good temperaments, the things you're looking for."

Bobby Scanlon consigned the Tale of the Cat colt. Even though he called him "a standout" from day one, Scanlon was surprised he brought more than $5 million.

"I couldn't envision him bringing that kind of money," Scanlon said. "I thought if we got really lucky he'd bring $3 million."

Scanlon said the colt breezed a furlong in 10.20 seconds four days before the official breeze show, in which the horse breezed in 10.60 seconds. Scanlon said the track was too dry the day of the breeze show and his horse couldn't handle it.

Scanlon, who sold Lion Heart - another son of Tale of the Cat - for $1.4 million at this sale last year, said this Tale of the Cat colt "has shown more at this stage than Lion Heart did."

Bell said the Tale of the Cat colt would be shipped to Scanlon's farm in Ocala, Fla., until Sheikh Mohammed decides whether he will stay in America or ship to Europe.

Maurice Miller consigned the Grand Slam colt. He thought his colt had a chance to be the sales-topper, but was not displeased that he brought nearly $3 million. Miller purchased him for $450,000 at the Fasig-Tipton July yearling sale.

"We think he's one of the best horses we ever brought to the 2-year-old sale," Miller said. "When we bought him at Fasig-Tipton July, I really felt he was the best horse on the grounds."

Coolmore also purchased a Golden Missile colt later in the sale for $1 million. Demi O'Byrne, the bloodstock agent for Coolmore, said the colt's one-furlong workout in 10.40 seconds won him over.

"I thought he worked exceptionally well, one of the best works if not the best," O'Byrne said. "He looks very sound, very good looking."

O'Byrne also purchased a Saint Ballado colt for $950,000, a Tale of the Cat filly for $500,000, and a Boundary colt for $400,000.

Bob and Beverly Lewis were very active at the sale. Among the horses they purchased was a Gone West colt for $1 million. Trainer D. Wayne Lukas signed the ticket and said the colt would likely be sent to his New York stable at Belmont Park.

"We've had good luck with Gone Wests before and we're going to hope it repeats itself," Lukas said. "We thought he was just an outstanding individual. We got a short list and we're waiting for a few of these horses. We felt fortunate we got this one. It's a very good market, this is a very, very good sale. There's so much quality here it's amazing."

Earlier in the day, the Lewises purchased a Forestry filly for $725,000. She is out of the stakes-winning dam Broad Dynamite. They also purchased a colt by Cat Thief for $480,000 and a son of Lemon Drop Kid for $250,000.

John Moynihan, the bloodstock agent for the Lewises, said the Forestry filly was one he really wanted. "I think she'll run far; she's just a gorgeous filly," he said.

Trainer Eoin Harty made two large purchases for an unnamed client. He spent $975,000 on a High Yield colt and $650,000 on a Mr. Greely colt.

Of the High Yield colt, Harty said, "He's just a fantastic-looking horse; he's just an athlete, everything you look for in a racehorse."

Harty said both colts would join his stable in Southern California.

More than 20 percent of the 355 cataloged 2-year-olds were scratched from the sale for various reasons. One of those, a colt by Seeking the Gold out of the Grade 1-winning mare Jersey Girl, was sold before the sale for $2 million to the Jones's. That colt, whose name is Douglas Fir, is in the barn of Todd Pletcher.

The amount of buybacks was also high. As of 6:30 p.m. approximately 40 percent of the horses failed to reach their reserve price.

Top auction prices for 2-year-olds in training

In millions of dollars; sales through 6:30 p.m. Tuesday.

C. by Tale of the Cat-Carry AllFasig-Tipton Calder2005$5.2
C. by Fusaichi Pegasus-Hidden StormFasig-Tipton Calder20044.5
C. by Pulpit-In My CapKeeneland April20043.3
C. by Stephen Got Even-Blacktie BidFasig-Tipton Calder20043.1
C. by Forestry-Rapid SelectionFasig-Tipton Calder20053.0
C. by Grand Slam-DamaFasig-Tipton Calder20052.9