He was shut out on several big lots early at the second session of the Keeneland July sale Tuesday, but Reynolds Bell, bidding for Jayeff B Stable, got the one he really wanted, a Seeking the Gold filly named Scene Seeker. Bell actually dropped out of the bidding, but then jumped back in and secured the filly for $3.7 million.
Bell bid $3.4 million, then John Ferguson, representing the Maktoum family's Godolphin operation, went to $3.5 million. Eugene Melnyk, bidding by telephone, went to $3.6 million. Bell then got back in with the winning bid.
The bay miss is the first foal produced from the grand race mare Escena, a $2.9 million-earning champion older mare. She was sold by Denali Stud as agent for Falls Creek Farm. Jayeff B is owned by parnters Richard Santulli and George Prussin. She was Bell's only purchase.
The second of the sale's two sessions got off to a flying start Tuesday night in Lexington when just the third horse into the ring, a Mr. Prospector colt, sold for $3.6 million.
In the end, it was Ferguson who secured the colt out of the Nureyev mare Nuryette and thus a half-brother to three stakes winners.
"I thought he was a lovely colt with an outstanding pedigree," said Ferguson. "He is the kind of horse who can go either way, either race in Europe or the U.S. That will be up to Sheikh Mohammed."
The colt was sold by Three Chimneys Farm as agent for Warner L. Jones Farm.
Ferguson was the most active buyer Tuesday night, as he also went to $3-million for a Storm Cat filly produced from the Saratoga Six mare Inca Legacy. "She was truly an exceptional filly and I am delighted to have her," Ferguson said of the filly consigned by Gainesway as agent for Marylou Whitney Stables.
Over the two days, Ferguson purchased nine yearlings for $16,325,000. Thus he accounted for 26% of the gross because there were 89 yearlings sold for $63,212,000, a record average of $710,247.
In a market most thought was down, the average increased 14.4%. The gross was down by virtue of fewer horses being offered this year. A year ago, 130 horses were sold for $80,732,000, an average of $621,015.
There were 43 horses over the two days bought back by their consignors.
"We were very pleased overall," Keeneland sales director Geoffrey Russell said. "This should encourage some consignors to return to the July sale."
There was a high-priced RNA on Tuesday, when a Mr. Prospector filly out of Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I) winner Desert Stormer was taken home on a bid of $1,950,000. She was consigned by Eaton Sales.