A colt from the final crop of North American Horse of the Year and Japan's perennial leading sire Sunday Silence brought the top price of 330 million yen ($2,791,878) Monday during the first session of the Japan Racing Horse Association's foal sale. The price, which helped the auction get off to a strong start, just missed the sale's all-time high of 335 million yen that was recorded last year. Fusao Sekiguchi, who raced Kentucky Derby (gr. I) winner Fusaichi Pegasus, purchased the colt from Teruya Yoshida's Shadai Farm.
The colt is a full brother to Tiger Cafe, who finished second in the Satsuki Sho (Japanese two Thousand Guineas, Jpn-1) and third in the Yayoi Sho (Jpn-II). Their dam, the 13-year-old Bellotto mare Seto Flowerian, was a group III winner in Australia and finished second in the AJC Oaks (Aust-I).
In all, 109 foals were sold for a gross of 3,792,000,000 yen ($32,081,218), an average of 34,788,991 yen ($294,323), and a median of 22 million yen ($186,125). The gross was up 28.8% from a year ago while the average and median were up 17.0% and 7.3%, respectively. During last year's first session, 99 horses were sold for a gross of 2,944,000,000 yen, an average of 29,737,374 yen, and a median of 20,500,000 yen.
The buy-back rate was 26.8%, with 40 of the 149 foals offered failing to find new homes. The comparable figure in 2002 was 33.1%, when 49 of the 148 offered did not sell.
Another Sunday Silence colt, produced from the Japanese group III winner Elizabeth Rose, sold for the second-highest price of 128 million yen ($1,082,910). Broodmare Co. Ltd. purchased him from Shadai Farm. He is a full brother to Japanese group III winners Fusaichi Zenon and Agnes Gold.
A Sunday Silence--Hishi Vital colt sold for 100 million yen ($846,024) to Keishiro Kanamori. The consignor was Yano Bokujo.
The sale continues Tuesday at the Northern Horse Park on the Japanese island of Hokkaido.