01/06/2005 12:00AM

Storm Cat awaits Azeri


LEXINGTON, Ky. - Former Horse of the Year Azeri, North America's all-time female earnings leader and a candidate for the 2004 older female championship, probably will be bred to Storm Cat this season.

That's the word from Michael Paulson, son of Azeri's late breeder Allen Paulson and manager of the Allen Paulson Living Trust. The trust campaigned Azeri until her retirement in late December at age 6 with $4,079,820 in earnings.

"That's our plan," Paulson said. "The ink on the contract isn't dry or anything, but we do have a season in reserve for her. Our current plans are to breed her in March or April and go from there."

Paulson said the trust hadn't decided whether to keep or sell Azeri's first foal, or whether to put Azeri herself on the market. But he did say that the Jade Hunter mare is "like part of the family."

Paulson said that Azeri already is at a Kentucky farm, but he declined to identify her location at the farm's request.

"She's surrounded by other broodmares and has settled in nicely," he said. "The farm didn't want to be bombarded with calls from people wanting to see her, so I've honored their requests to keep her location confidential."

Paulson said that there were plenty of options for Azeri's first mating, but Storm Cat had a special allure.

"He's one of the top stallions of all time, the value of his foals is so high, and the list of reasons to go to him is long," Paulson said. "There were lots of other good ones, like A. P. Indy, Mineshaft, and Giant's Causeway. But Storm Cat is going to be 22 this year, and I wanted the opportunity to get a foal from him. I saw him last year, and he looks fabulous."

Mayo on the Side to Speightstown

Grade 1-winning mare Mayo on the Side has retired from racing and will be sent to 2004 Breeders' Cup Sprint winner Speightstown this season.

Robert Lothenbach bred and raced Mayo on the Side, a 6-year-old daughter of French Deputy and the winning Slew o' Gold mare Slewveau.

In four seasons at the races, Mayo on the Side won 7 of 28 starts, including the Humana Distaff Handicap, in which she beat Azeri by a head, and the Doubledogdare Stakes in 2004. She earned $642,366.

A $47,000 Keeneland September yearling, she is a three-quarter sister to stakes-placed Bring Home Thegold.

Danehill filly sales topper in Australia

It's summer Down Under, and that means they're selling yearlings in Australia. The Magic Millions kicked off its seven-session run on Thursday with a $500,000 Danehill filly leading the day's results.

That Australian price, which converts to about $380,400 American, was one of 25 above $200,000 Australian. The session-topping Danehill filly was a member of the globally successful Coolmore stallion's final crop; Danehill, Australia's dominant sire in recent years, died in May of 2003 at age 17 in a paddock accident.

The filly is out of the Artaius mare Eljazzi, making her a half-sister to French Group 1 winner Rafha and Irish champion Chiang Mai as well as to stakes-placed Fayfa, Franky Furbo, and Chamela Bay. Australian bloodstock agent Tim Stakemire bought the filly on behalf of Dubai's Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa al Maktoum.

Riversela Farm, agent, sold the session-topper.

The session sold 157 yearlings for about $13,201,615, producing an average price of about $84,087. When considered in the local currency of Australian dollars, the opening session's gross fell by 6 percent, and average price slipped by 2 percent.