Playing a less prominent role among shoppers this year was Kenny Troutt, who spent more money than anyone else at last year's sale. Through his wife, Lisa, he paid $14,845,000 for 20 head in 2000. WinStar Farm, in which Troutt is a partner, invested $632,000 in four horses last year and was active again in 2001. However, Troutt did not purchase any horses this year in either his or his wife's name after buying five mares for $1 million or more in 2000.
"We're trying to be a little bit more selective this year," Troutt said. "If we get them, fine; if we don't, fine. We already have the numbers. Our philosophy now is if one comes in, another has to go out. I'm bullish on horse racing, but I think the market is going to go down more because of mare reproductive loss syndrome and the economy. A lot of people will be forced to sell their good horses, and then I'll be a big buyer again."
Troutt's longtime friend, Texan Pete Wittmann, purchased 2000 Coaching Club American Oaks (gr. I) and Alabama Stakes (gr. I) winner Jostle (by Brocco) for $1.7 million through Kentucky farm owner and bloodstock agent Kim Nardelli. Troutt said he hoped Wittmann would agree to a foal-sharing arrangement with Jostle using the Storm Cat season that WinStar bought for $450,000 following the Keeneland sale's first session. W.T. Young's Overbrook Farm sold the season and donated the proceeds to the American Red Cross.
Wittmann is a partner in stakes winner Elite Mercedes, according to Troutt. Jostle's new owner also was an investor in Excel Communications, the company founded by Troutt.
Another major buyer who was not as active this year was John Ferguson, the bloodstock manager for Sheikh Mohammed of Dubai. Last year, Ferguson spent $11,625,000 for six head. This year, through Nov. 11, he had purchased only one horse, a weanling full sister to Tiznow who brought $950,000. Ferguson had left town by the time the daughter of Cee's Tizzy was offered on Nov. 10. He listened in on a cell phone while British bloodstock agent Dick O'Gorman handled the bidding. Earlier in the auction, Ferguson was the immediate underbidder on both Twenty Eight Carat and Phone Chatter.
"There weren't quite as many mares of the quality that we're looking for as there had been in previous years," Ferguson said. "And a lot of people held their best weanlings back for one reason or another. We also bought a number of mares privately in foal to Dubai Millennium."
A champion in Europe and Horse of the Year in the United Arab Emirates while racing for Godolphin, homebred Dubai Millennium was euthanized this past April in England because of complications caused by grass sickness. He was standing his first season at stud.
Last year, Prince Ahmed Salman's The Thoroughbred Corp. purchased 14 horses for $4,870,000. This year, through Nov. 11, The Thoroughbred Corp. had made no purchases.
The participation of Japanese buyers also decreased. Through Nov. 11, they had spent no less than $5,018,000 for no fewer than 24 horses. That was a dramatic cutback from last year, when they paid $12,289,000 for 53 head. The Japanese have not been affected directly by recent terrorist activities and war in Afghanistan. But the yen has lost strength against the dollar recently, and Japan has had long-term problems with its economy.