A powerful-looking Medaglia d'Oro colt grabbed the spotlight in the middle of the afternoon at the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky fall yearling sale in Lexington.
He became the auction’s highest-priced horse so far when he commanded $380,000 during the third and final session Oct. 26. The previous high was the $270,000 brought by a Smart Strike –Yaqeen colt earlier in the day.
The Adena Springs operation of multiple Eclipse Award-winning breeder and owner Frank Stronach purchased the $380,000 bay yearling, with Adena buying team member Mark Roberts fighting off Canada-based trainer Mark Casse in a spirited bidding battle.
Roberts, who is the general manager of Adena Springs South in Florida, made his offers from the balcony of the Fasig-Tipton sale pavilion. Casse, talking on a cell phone, crouched underneath the balcony near the pavilion’s window-filled back wall.
“We just thought he was a really nice colt,” Roberts said. “He’s a half (brother) to a grade I winner and has a great, great family. Frank has had some success out of that family before. He just was a big, strong colt and we really liked him a lot. He brought maybe a touch higher than what we first thought he would, but it wasn’t much more.”
Produced from the winning Diesis mare Catumbella, the colt is a half brother to Honor in War (by Lord At War), who captured the 2003 Woodford Reserve Turf Classic Stakes (gr. IT) and was a group II winner in Australia. The yearling also is a half brother to the winner Dynamoor (by Dynaformer), who finished second in the Fort Marcy Stakes (gr. IIIT) and third in the Monmouth Stakes (gr. IIIT) in 2010.
Mill Ridge Farm in Lexington bred the colt in partnership with Audrey “Tolie” Otto of JAMM and the nursery's auction consignment division, Mill Ridge Sales, offered him at the Fasig-TIpton Kentucky fall sale. He was scheduled to be sold at the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga select yearling auction in August, but didn’t make it to that sale.
“Unfortunately, the day he was scheduled to ship, he came up with some swelling, so we had to scratch him,” said Mill Ridge’s Headley Bell. “Thankfully, Fasig-Tipton and Bayne Welker (the company’s vice president of sales) worked with us, supported us, and gave us confidence that people would be here to support this sale. They did a heck of job.
"Then two of the top buyers wanted the horse. We were fortunate that it all came together. He brought what he was worth.”