04/09/2008 12:00AM

Storm Cat colt tops 2-year-old sale


LEXINGTON, Ky. – The only Storm Cat in the sale proved the most popular lot of all Wednesday night at Keeneland’s April 2-year-old sale, which ended a two-night run.

The bay colt, Hip No. 123, fetched a sale-topping bid of $800,000 from Hanzly Albina, who was acting as agent for new player Mammed Mirza Gusseynov, the owner of a racetrack in Baku, Azerbaijan. Gusseynov has purchased horses in the States before, his advisor Guy Khoury said, but the Storm Cat colt was his first buy at Keeneland.

Randy Hartley and Dean De Renzo consigned the colt on behalf of his breeders, Tom VanMeter, Michael Lowenbaum, and Dr. Rand E. Dankner. The colt is out of Here I Go, a Mr. Prospector mare, and is a three-quarters brother to Kentucky Oaks winner Summerly.

“Unfortunately, he couldn’t come, but he was interested in the horse when he saw his pedigree,” Khoury said of Gusseynov. Khoury said the colt would likely remain in the United States for some time but probably would ship overseas, possibly to campaign at his new owner’s racetrack.

The session ended with 77 juveniles sold for $16,299,000, slightly off last year’s total of $16,637,000 for 82 horses. The average price was up 4 percent, from $202,890 last year to $211,675, but median price fell 3 percent, from $155,000 to $150,000. The buyback rate for the two-night auction was 38 percent, compared with 47 percent last season.

The 2008 auction marked a format change for the sale, which previously has been held in a single daylong session rather than in two night sessions