07/12/2007 11:00PM

Seattle Dancer, $13.1M yearling, dead at 23


Seattle Dancer, who set a world record auction price when he sold for $13.1 million as a yearling, died last month at age 23 at a German stud farm.

His record stood until 2006, when The Green Monkey brought $16 million at the Fasig-Tipton Calder select 2-year-old sale in Miami.

Seattle Dancer died on June 2 of a heart attack, according to a report in The Blood-Horse. He had stood at Gestut Auenquelle in Rodinghausen, Germany, since 2003 after stints at Ashford Stud in Kentucky, Coolmore Stud in Ireland, and East Stud in Japan.

Seattle Dancer, by Nijinsky II out of the Poker mare My Charmer, was a half-brother to 1977 Triple Crown winner Seattle Slew. Bred by William S. Farish, W. S. Kilroy, and Warner Jones Jr., he sold at the 1985 Keeneland July yearling sale through Jones's Hermitage Farm agency. A syndicate including the late Robert Sangster, Coolmore Stud, Stavros Niarchos, and Danny Schwartz made the winning bid of $13.1 million after a long, tense bidding duel with another syndicate, consisting of D. Wayne Lukas, Eugene Klein, L. R. French, and Mel Hatley.

Lukas told Daily Racing Form several weeks after the auction that when the bidding went above the then-record $10.2 million, "Gene Klein says, 'That's it, no more for me.' But French whispers to keep going.

"Hatley isn't there, and I've got my whole net worth tied up in my 25 percent. I am on my own. Gene is a bit hard of hearing, but I couldn't raise my voice. It would have given away our intentions. I made my last bid at $13 million, and they came back at $13.1 million. Money was no object to them. But it had become to us."

Seattle Dancer went on to win a pair of Group 2 races in Ireland in 1987 and finished second that year in France's Groupo1 Grand Prix de Paris. He ultimately earned $152,413.

Seattle Dancer's best runners are the 1996 Kentucky Oaks winner, Pike Place Dancer; Grade 1 or Group 1 winners Caffe Latte and Seattle Rhyme; and graded winners Via Borghese, Keene Dancer, Clamorosa, and Miss Huff n' Puff. He also is the sire of German champion Que Belle, Italian champions Seattle Jey and Happy Dancer, and a host of Japanese stakes winners.

At his death, Seattle Dancer had progeny earnings of $29,244,732.