Cat Fighter didn't make as big a splash as some had expected. But at $1,350,000, the recent La Canada Stakes (gr. II) winner still topped The Thoroughbred Corp.'s dispersal Tuesday at Barretts in Southern California.
John Sikura, the owner of Hill 'n' Dale Farm in Kentucky, purchased the 4-year-old daughter of Storm Cat
out of the grade I winner Strategic Maneuver (by Cryptoclearance
). His partners in the filly will be Richard and Audrey Haisfield, who recently purchased Gaillardia, a farm near Versailles, Ky., that formerly was owned by E.K. Gaylord Jr.
Richard Mulhall, The Thoroughbred Corp.'s key adviser, had estimated prior to the sale that Cat Fighter would bring in the $2-million to $3-million range. Sikura also was anticipating a higher price.
"I thought she was a $2-million-plus filly, and I didn't expect to be able to buy her," Sikura said.
Cat Fighter will remain in training with Bob Baffert.
"She's a well-credentialed filly, and she's well-bred," Sikura said. "She had a great performance in her last start, and she's on top of her game."
Cat Fighter, who is half-sister to Irish group III winner Ishiguru (by Danzig), edged Fencelineneighbor by a head in the Feb. 14 La Canada. In January, she finished third in the El Encino Stakes (gr. II). Winner of three of her seven career starts, Cat Fighter has earned $209,800.
The second-highest-priced horse in the dispersal at $700,000 was multiple graded winner Atlantic Ocean, a 4-year-old daughter of Stormy Atlantic
out of the winning Seattle Slew mare Super Chef. Her buyers were the Haisfields, who were accompanied by Mike Akers of Kentucky-based Dapple Bloodstock.
The Haisfields live in California, where they are in the commercial real estate business and own vineyards. They plan to move to Kentucky soon. They have renamed Gaillardia, calling it NeverTell Farm. In addition to Atlantic Ocean and the interest in Cat Fighter, they bought the 4-year-old Tale of the Cat filly Honest Answer from The Thoroughbred Corp. dispersal. Later in the day, during the Barretts March juvenile auction that followed the dispersal, the Haisfields bought a Victory Gallop
-- Buck's Lady colt named Memories Made for $500,000. He will be trained by Baffert.
The Haisfields are putting together a commercial band of 10-12 quality mares. They own a majority interest in the stallion Doneraile Court
, who stands at Hill 'n' Dale.
Atlantic Ocean brought $1.9 million from The Thoroughbred Corp. at the 2002 Barretts March sale of 2-year-olds in training, setting what then was a world record for a juvenile filly sold at public auction. An earner of $678,210, she has won five of 19 career starts.
In all, 52 horses were sold in The Thoroughbred Corp.'s dispersal for a gross of $6,435,200, an average price of $124,100, and a median price of $43,500. The Thoroughbred Corp. was owned by Prince Ahmed Salman, who died in 2002.
"It all has to end sometime, but I'm happy because everybody sold well," said trainer Kristin Mulhall, who was the consignor for the dispersal. "They all sold for about what I thought they would."
Mulhall is the daughter of Richard Mulhall.