A horse that didn't sell overshadowed the ones that did Monday, the first day of Keeneland's Breeding Stock Sale.
Through the afternoon auction, Fleet Indian drew the day's highest bid of $3.9 million, but that didn't quite meet the reserve to pry her away from Taylor Made Sales Agency.
"She was the best mare in the sale," said Duncan Taylor, one of the owners. "I think they'll look back and say, 'That was an opportunity I should have taken."'
The lower than expected price for the 6-year-old champion stakes winner, currently pregnant to top sire Storm Cat, reflected a somewhat sluggish market for the top breeding prospects.
Taylor insisted it wasn't an indication Storm Cat's stock was falling.
"I think Storm Cat's a great sire," he said. "I don't think anybody's cold on Storm Cat. They're just like anything in this business. People would rather buy a dream than reality."
Fleet Indian, by former Santa Anita Derby champion Indian Charlie and out of Hustleeta, had won 13 of 19 starts in her racing career.
With Fleet Indian taken off the market, the highest price of the day was the $2.7 million Sheik Mohammed bind Rashid al Maktoum, the crown prince of Dubai, paid for chestnut mare Evil, currently pregnant to 2006 Preakness winner Bernardini.
Evil has already produced Tiz Wonderful, who won three times in four starts as a 2-year-old.
"She was one of the most attractive mares here today," said John Ferguson, the sheik's buyer.
The other horse selling for more than $2 million was French-bred Amorama, who went for $2.1 million to 6C Bloodstock. She is by English stakes winner Sri Pekan and out of Tanzania and believed to
Buyer Andreas Putsch, who owns 15 mares at his farm in France,
says he liked everything about the horse and that she was his primary target.
"The form, the looks, the pedigree - it's a lovely family," Putsch said.
Keeneland has catalogued a record 5,415 horses for the 15-day sale - the largest thoroughbred auction of its kind in the world.