A muscular bay son of first-crop sire and champion Bernardini became the first horse to command seven figures Aug. 10 during the opening session of the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga select yearling auction, bringing $1.2 million from Sheikh Mohammed.
Dubai’s ruler, who bred and raced Bernardini, and his buying team made their offers from the outdoor bidding area behind the sale pavilion. After the colt was hammered down, Sheikh Mohammed walked away quickly toward the back walking ring, His bloodstock manager, John Ferguson, signed the sale ticket and answered questions from reporters.
"He’s a lovely horse and a beautiful mover,” Ferguson said. “His sire was a phenomenal racehorse; we all know that. He (the yearling) is from such a great family, and he was bred by Brushwood Stable’s Betty Moran, who has bred so many champions. He really was one of the horses that just fit the bill. Obviously, we’re going to say this because he (Bernardini) is a Darley stallion, but you have to be really impressed by the Bernardinis. I think the horse has a great chance, and what I’m really impressed by with him is they (his offspring) have got such lovely balance and movement. You always ask me the question is this one going to Europe, is this one going to America? Now, with an A.P. Indy (the sire of Bernardini), you know 95% of the time what the answer is going be (America). But with Bernardini – and I may be wrong -- I can really see him being the kind of horse who can go to both sides of the Atlantic. From a stallion’s point of view, that’s a great thing to have, that flexibiliy.”
Cataloged as Hip No. 34 and bred in Pennsylvania, the yearling is out of the 14-year-old Storm Catmare Storm Beauty, who scored in the Miss Preakness Stakes at Pimlico and the Wilma C. Kennedy Stakes at Ellis Park in 1998. The colt is a half-brother to Stormy West (by Gone West) , who captured this year's Marie G. Krantz Memorial Handicap at Fair Grounds. Stormy West also won the Caress Stakes at Belmont Park and the Blushing K. D. and Furl Sail Handicaps at Fair Grounds in 2008. Other family members include champion Gold Beauty and European Horse of the Year Dayjur.
"We saw this horse first in March and then we saw him again in July," Ferguson said, "and what we liked about him is that every time we saw him, he improved. We're delighted to have him and excited."
Eaton Sales, agent, consigned the colt.
"We thought bringing him in here he was a seven-figure horse, and we're very pleased with the price," said Eaton's Reiley McDonald. "He's a lovely horse."