08/15/2009 12:00AM

Sheikh spends freely in France


Sheikh Mohammed al-Maktoum continued his yearling-buying spree at Deauville, France, on Saturday, with another session-topping purchase at Arqana's Deauville select yearling auction. The session ended with a drop in gross receipts and average price.

Maktoum's agent, John Ferguson, purchased Saturday's 300,000-euro session-topper, a chestnut Pivotal filly. She was the third yearling through the ring Saturday night and brought the equivalent of $426,000. She is out of the stakes-winning Rainbow Quest mare Relais d'Aumale and is the mare's first foal. Haras des Capucines was the consignor.

Maktoum also paid about $369,200 for an Invincible-Priere colt from Haras de la Louviere.

Saturday's session sold 77 yearlings publicly and seven privately, as compared with 78 publicly and two privately last season, for about $14,013,270, down 5 percent. The average of about $166,824 was down 10 percent. Calculations for gross and average include private sales.

The median held level with last year at about $142,000. Buy-backs increased, from 24 percent last year to 27 percent.

Maktoum's rivals at Coolmore Stud continued their buying, spending about $610,600 for three yearlings. Their most expensive purchase was a $255,600 colt by Coolmore stallion Galileo out of the Hernando mare and Group 2 winner Hanami. Haras de Fresnay-le-Buffard consigned the colt.

Maktoum's brother, Shadwell Estate Co. owner Sheikh Hamdan al-Maktoum, also spent freely. He bought six horses for about $1,647,200, including a pair for $397,600 each.

The auction was to continue through Monday in Deauville, France.