05/01/2008 11:00PM

Sharp Cat euthanized at age 14


LEXINGTON, Ky. - Sharp Cat, who won seven Grade 1 races between 1996 and 1998, died April 21 after complications from foaling an A.P. Indy colt.

The 14-year-old Storm Cat mare was euthanized at Hagyard Equine Medical Institute, according to Dan Pride of Darley, which had owned the mare since 2003. Darley, the global Thoroughbred breeding and racing operation owned by Sheikh Mohammed al-Maktoum, purchased Sharp Cat for $3.1 million in 2003 at the Keeneland November sale.

Bred by the late John Franks's Franks Farm, Sharp Cat joined the racing stable of the late Ahmed bin Salman when he bought her in 1996 for $900,000 at the Barretts March select juvenile sale.

Trained by D. Wayne Lukas for her first 18 starts and Wally Dollase for her last four, Sharp Cat raced for Salman's The Thoroughbred Corp. Sharp Cat finished sixth in her 1996 debut at Hollywood Park but then reeled off three wins in a row. Those included victories in the Grade 2 Debutante and the Grade 1 Matron. She would go on to win 12 more races in her career, and by the time she retired in 1998, her Grade 1 tally also included scores in the 1996 Hollywood Starlet, the 1997 Las Virgenes, Santa Anita Oaks, and Acorn Stakes, and the 1998 Ruffian and Beldame. In the last of those, she earned a 119 Beyer Speed Figure, one of only a handful of fillies to earn a figure so high. One of her Grade 2 wins, in the 1997 Bayakoa Handicap, came in a walkover.

She won 14 stakes races overall and earned $2,032,575 from 22 lifetime starts. Salman died in July 2002, resulting in the sale of many of his horses, including Sharp Cat. By the time she went through the ring in 2003, where Darley bought her, she already had produced a pair of fillies: Saywaan, by Fusaichi Pegasus, a winner in England, and a Point Given daughter named Think Sharp who is unraced.

For Darley, she produced the 2004 Gone West filly La Dolce, a winner in France; Impressive Attire, a 2005 Seeking the Gold filly who is unraced; and an unnamed 2006 Cherokee Run filly, also unraced to date.

"She was a wonderful mare," Pride, Darley's chief operating officer, said. "We didn't race her, but she made a huge impression. Seven Grade 1 wins is a great legacy. We were fortunate to have her while we did, and we have several foals out of her. We're confident her legacy will live on."

Sharp Cat was to be buried at Darley's Jonabell Farm in Lexington.

Tattersalls sale posts gains

Tattersalls chalked up good returns Friday at its Guineas breeze-up auction in Newmarket, England, raising the bar for gross, average, and median in the one-day sale's second year.

The day's top-priced lot was Hip No. 134, an Exceed and Excel-Bois de Citron filly that brought a final bid of 470,000 guineas, or about $972,195. Bloodstock agent Dick O'Gorman made the purchase from John Hassett's The Bloodstock Connection consignment. Hip No. 134 had cost just 20,000 guineas as a yearling.

The session sold 80 horses for a total of approximately $7,928,560, for an average of about $99,107. The median was about $62,055. The gross was up 80 percent, the average 71 percent, and median 30 percent from last season's debut auction, which sold 76 juveniles. The 2008 figures established new marks in each category. In the local auction currency of guineas, the gross record is now 3,833,000 guineas; average is 47,913 guineas; and median is 30,000 guineas.

Despite those dramatic upswings, the buyback rate remained high at 39 percent, level with last year's figure.

The day's most expensive colt was Hip No. 95, a Johar-Dippers son also bought by O'Gorman for about $765,345. Willie Browne's Mocklershill Stables sold the colt, previously a $40,000 weanling purchase from the 2006 Keeneland November mixed sale.

* Three Chimneys Farm in Midway, Ky., has appointed two new members to its board of directors. They are Paul Varga, chairman and chief executive officer of the Brown-Forman Corp. wine and spirits company, and Matthew Barzun, president and founder of the BrickPath Internet media investment firm.

* Old Friends, the equine retirement haven in Georgetown, Ky., will host its annual fundraiser at 5 p.m. Sunday at Dream Chase Farm, 1841 Paynes Depot Road in Georgetown. The day also will mark the official welcome for new resident Danthebluegrassman, who joins more than 25 other retired Thoroughbred stars at the farm. Tickets are $50, and event information is at www.oldfriendsequine.org.

* A Kentucky Derby glass signed by 2004 winner Smarty Jones's connections has brought a final bid of $400 on eBay. All proceeds go to the Kentucky Equine Humane Center.