08/08/2001 11:00PM

Storm Cat colt sold for $3.3 million


SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Topped by a $3.3 million Storm Cat colt, the second session of Fasig-Tipton's Saratoga selected yearling sale continued the auction's bullish pace Wednesday night, prompting thoughts that the auction could break last year's record average of $305,847.

The second-session average shot up by 57 percent to $398,000, and gross revenue for 50 yearlings was up 70 percent to $19,900,000. Last year's gross was $11,699,000 for 46 lots sold. The buyback rate - the percentage of horses that did not reach their reserve prices and were bought back by their

consignors - rose to 24 percent, a significant jump from the opening session's 16 percent.

Through the auction's first two sessions, Fasig-Tipton had sold 108 yearlings for $37,625,000 for a cumulative average of $348,380, up 37 percent from last year, when 91 lots sold.

The Storm Cat colt, a nearly black full brother to the Grade 2-winning filly Saudi Poetry, went to Sheikh Mohammed al Maktoum's agent, John Ferguson, after a lengthy battle with Canadian owner Eugene Melnyk, represented by agent

Dr. Robert McMartin.

The colt, out of the Gone West mare Gone to Venus, was

one of three seven-figure horses sold Wednesday night. Charlotte Weber of Live Oak Plantation paid $2.4 million for another Storm Cat colt, this one out of the Grade 3-winning Caerleon mare Miss Caerleona (Fr), and Melnyk purchased the session's top filly, a $2 million A.P. Indy filly out of

Canadian champion Larkwhistle.

Taylor Made Sales Agency sold the session-topping colt, and Anderson Farms, agent, sold the top filly. Lane's End, acting as agent for Robert and Janice MacNair's Stonerside Stable, sold the $2.4 million Storm Cat-Miss Caerleona colt.

The auction's third and final session starts at 7:30 p.m. Eastern at the Humphrey S. Finney Pavilion in Saratoga Springs.