Will Vallenzeri find a new home this time around?
It won’t take long to find out because the chestnut colt is Hip No. 22 in the Keeneland sale of 2-year-olds in training. He probably will go through the sale ring during the first hour of the auction’s April 6 opening session, which begins at 7 p.m. (EDT).
Vallenzeri is back at Keeneland after setting a world Thoroughbred auction record as a $7.7-million buy-back at the September yearling sale. He is by 1992 Horse of the Year A. P. Indy and is the first foal out of 2002 Horse of the Year Azeri, who was a $4.4-million buy-back at this year’s Keeneland January horses of all ages sale while in foal to 2004 Horse of the Year Ghostzapper.
John Sikura’s Hill ‘n’ Dale Sales Agency, as agent for the Allen E. Paulson Living Trust, consigned Vallenzeri last September and Azeri this past January. This time, Florida pinhooker Eddie Woods is Vallenzeri’s consignor. The chestnut colt turned in a solid work at an eighth of a mile during the April 2 under tack show for the Keeneland juvenile auction, covering the distance in :10 1/5.
“He’s a star, he really is, and I don’t talk to just talk,” Woods said. “He is actually bordering on a special horse. It’s his whole demeanor, his whole class and style. He’s got a little bit of an aura about him that just comes with the kind that’s a better kind of horse. Nothing fazes him. If you watched him in the chute (during the under tack show), he just stood there. He could have been a pony. And then, when he needed to go, it was like OK, here we go.
“He’s a really nice mover that stays low to the ground,” Woods added. “He’s got that kind of springy stride to him, and he seems to get around the track quicker than most of the other horses just because he’s so athletic. There’s no wasted movement to him at all.”
A Superior Court judge in California ruled recently that Michael Paulson, who is a son of the late legendary Thoroughbred breeder and owner Allen Paulson, should be removed as the trustee of his father’s living trust. In his decision, the judge wrote that Michael Paulson “put his own personal interests ahead of the interests of the trust beneficiaries and misused trust assets for his own personal benefit.” Michael Paulson called the ruling “totally without merit” and said he would appeal the decision.
“There’s been a little bit of changing of the guard, I think, with the legalities of the whole thing,” Woods said. “I wasn’t involved in that earlier stuff, and I’m not sure how it all came to be. There’s been a correction in the market since the yearling sales, and we’re selling in a different economic climate now. I think he (Vallenzeri) is here to sell, but there will probably be a pretty good reserve on him, and I think he quite deserves it. But I think it (the reserved) will be based more on the real world now.”