Anne M. Eberhardt

30 Years in 30 Days: Winners by Auction Price

The most expensive Breeders' Cup winners by auction price were sold as yearlings.

The Breeders' Cup World Championships provided a storybook ending for the racing careers of the two most expensive winners sold at public auction.

Royal Academy tops the list as the highest-priced yearling sold through the 1988 Keeneland July select yearling sale at $3.5 million. The son of Nijinski IICrimson Saint, by Crimson Satan, was purchased by Classic Thoroughbreds, a then-publicly traded Irish company controlled by legendary trainer Vincent O'Brien, eventual Coolmore Stud founder John Magnier, Robert Sangster, and Michael Smurfit. The colt had been bred in Kentucky by Tom Gentry and was sold by Barry Weisbord as agent.

Royal Academy would make only one start in a race that didn't possess group status. He broke his maiden in September of 2-year-old season at the Curragh and finished unplaced in the group I Three Chimneys Dewhurst Stakes at Newmarket.

He would resume racing in April of his sophomore year and never finish worse than second in five group stakes, four of them group I. Royal Academy finished second in the Airlie Coolmore Irish Two Thousand Guineas (Ire-I), won the Carroll Foundation July Cup (Eng-I), and finished second in the Ladbroke Sprint Cup (Eng-I) before starting in the 1990 Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. IT) at Belmont Park. The 5-2 favorite was ridden by Lester Piggott, who had retired from riding to become a trainer and returned to the saddle just two weeks prior to the championship at O'Brien's urging. Royal Academy would win by a neck over longshot Itsallgreektome, trained by Wally Dollase and ridden by Corey Nakatani.

Royal Academy entered stud the following year and went on to sire 172 stakes winners, including Val Royal, who won the 2001 Breeders' Cup Mile.

A. P. Indy
Photo: Blood-Horse Library
A.P. Indy brought $2.9 million as a yearling
Leading U.S. sire A.P. Indy is the other auction price leader, having sold for $2.9 million to Tomonori Tusurumaki at the 1990 Keeneland July select sale. Bred in partnership by William S. Farish and W.S. Kilroy and sold by Farish's Lane's End Farm, the son of Seattle SlewWeekend Surprise, by Secretariat, would also start exclusively in graded stakes at 3. He won the Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) by 1 3/4 lengths and appeared in good form heading into the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) but got sidetracked by a bruised left front foot. A.P. Indy would reinforce his place among the country's best runners by winning the Belmont Stakes (gr. I) and the Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I). He would also retire to stud at Lane's End Farm the following year.

Now pensioned, A.P. Indy has sired 150 stakes winners to date including champions Bernardini , Mineshaft  and Belmont Stakes-winning female Rags to Riches.

The auction prices of other Breeders' Cup winners can be found below.

Breeders' Cup Winners by Weanling Price
  Winner   Breeders' Cup Race   Last Sale
 Weanling Price
 George Vancouver  2012 Juvenile Turf  KEENOV10 $450,000
 Arazi  1991 Juvenile  KEENOV89 $350,000
 Unbridled Elaine  2001 Distaff  KEENOV98 $230,000
 Cajun Beat  2003 Sprint  KEENOV00 $145,000
 Artax  1999 Sprint  FTKNOV95 $82,000
 Unbridled  1990 Classic  TARTAN87 $70,000
 Lit de Justice  1996 Sprint  KEENOV90 $40,000
Breeders' Cup Winners by Yearling Price
  Winner   Breeders' Cup Race   Last Sale
Yearling Price
 Royal Academy  1990 Mile  KEEJUL88 $3,500,000
 A.P. Indy  1992 Classic  KEEJUL90 $2,900,000
 Speightstown  2004 Sprint  KEEJUL99 $2,000,000
 Cash Run  1999 Juvenile Fillies  KEEJUL98 $1,200,000
 Opening Verse  1991 Mile  FTSAUG87 $880,000
 Capote  1986 Juvenile S.  KEEJUL85 $800,000
 Pleasantly Perfect  2003 Classic  KEESEP99 $725,000
 Sacahuista  1987 Distaff  KEEJUL85 $670,000
 Drosselmeyer  2011 Classic  KEESEP08 $600,000
 Is It True  1988 Juvenile  KEEJUL87 $550,000
 Alysheba  1988 Classic  KEEJUL85 $500,000
 Timber Country  1994 Juvenile  KEEJUL93 $500,000
Breeders' Cup Winners by 2YO Price
  Winner   Breeders' Cup Race  Last Sale
2YO Price
 Unbridled's Song*  1995 Juvenile  BARMAR95 $1,400,000
 Beautiful Pleasure  1999 Distaff  KEEAPR97 $480,000
 Stardom Bound  2008 Juvenile Fillies  OBSMAR08 $375,000
 Hightail  2012 Juvenile Sprint  OBSMAR12 $345,000
 Brocco  1993 Juvenile  BARMAR93 $215,000
 Tasso  1985 Juvenile  FTFFEB85 $100,000
 Favorite Trick  1997 Juvenile  OBSFEB97 $100,000
 Cherokee Run  1994 Sprint  OBSFEB92 $85,000
 Gilded Time  1992 Juvenile  OBSFEB92 $80,000
 Dakota Phone  2010 Dirt Mile  BARMAY07 $67,000

*Unbridled's Song was hammered down as sold for a then-world-record price but turned back to the seller Ernie Paragallo when the buyer's veterinarian discovered a chip in his left front ankle. Paragallo raced him under Paraneck Stable.