LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) - A horse that didn't sell upstaged the ones
that did Monday at Keeneland's September yearling sale.
Although the bidding reached $7.7 million for Vallenzeri, an A.P. Indy colt and first foal out of former Breeders Cup Distaff champion Azeri, that amount wasn't enough to pry the horse from owner Michael Paulson.
It was the highest price refused for a horse at a Keeneland sale. Keeneland spokeswoman Amy Gregory said it was believed to also be the highest price not met at any North American sale.
The previous record at Keeneland was the $7.5 million Ralph C.
Wilson of Oxford Stable paid to keep a Northern Dancer colt in 1985.
Paulson left the sale after refusing the bid. Agent John Sikura, who offered the yearling on Paulson's behalf, declined to speak for him. Sikura also declined to disclose the price Paulson would have accepted.
Cot Campbell of Dogwood Stables said he was "flabbergasted"
Paulson didn't take the money.
"He's a smart man," Campbell said. "Smarter than me, I'm sure."
With Vallenzeri off the board, the highest price on the opening day of the sale was $3.1 million Sheikh Mohammad bin Rashid al Maktoum paid for a bay filly also by A.P. Indy.
The Dubai ruler attended the sale in person. His buyer, John Ferguson, said the sheikh and his wife, Princess Haya, fell in love with the filly by Chimichurri the moment they saw her earlier in the day. They called her an "absolute queen," Ferguson said.
"Chimichurri was a very, very fast mare herself by Elusive Quality, and she had a lot of quality as did this filly," Ferguson said. "She was a filly he was very keen to have."
Earlier, the sheikh paid $1.7 million - the first seven-figure price of the day - for a chestnut filly by Unbridled's Song.
Also notable was the sale of a by filly by Giant's Causeway, sold to John Warren's Highclere Thoroughbred Racing out of England for $850,000. That price was a bargain compared with last year's sale of the filly's dam, Playful Act, for a record $10.5 million.
Warren joked he doesn't consider any $850,000 purchase to be
"cheap." He plans to take the filly back to Europe.
Keeneland has catalogued a record 5,555 yearlings for the sale,
which concludes Sept. 23.
(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)