Desert Party and Dunkirk were sale ring superstars and now they’ve both got a shot May 2 at winning what many consider to be the world’s most famous horse race, the Kentucky Derby Presented By Yum! Brands (gr. I).
Desert Party’s $2.1-million price was the highest for a 2-year-old in training sold at public auction in 2008. John Ferguson, Sheikh Mohammed’s bloodstock manager, purchased the Street Cry colt from Scanlon Training Center, agent, at the Fasig-Tipton Florida select juvenile auction at Calder Race Course. The immediate underbidder was trainer Steve Klesaris.
“He was a very good-looking yearling, and he went to David Scanlon, and he trained very well,” said Ferguson after signing the sale ticket. “Then he came here, and he moved beautifully on the racetrack. Now his half-sister (Elliecat) is a stakes winner, and Street Cry has done so well as a stallion that you know you’ve got a chance of great things with this horse.”
Hidden Brook, agent for Paul Pompa Jr., bought Desert Party for $425,000 from Hunter Valley Farm, agent, at the 2007 Keeneland September yearling auction in Lexington.
“We thought he was one of our top prospects coming into the sale,” David Scanlon said. “He’s by the right sire, and he has the size and the scope. He’s a great physical specimen, and after we got going on the track with him, we knew he really had some talent. Another great thing about him is he has no quirks. He is the most laid-back horse, cool and calm. He’s been a joy to work around.”
Racing for Sheikh Mohammed in the names of Darley Stable and Godolpin, Desert Party won the Sanford Stakes (gr. II) in 2008 and the U.A.E. Two Thousand Guineas Sponsored by Gulf News (UAE-III) this year. He also finished second in the March 28 UAE Derby Sponsored by Saeed & Mohammed Al Naboodah Group (UAE-II).
Produced from the Tabasco Cat mare Sage Cat, Desert Party has earned $688,467. David Smith and Steven Sinatra bred the colt in Kentucky.
Dunkirk was the most expensive yearling sold in 2007, bringing $3.7 million at the Keeneland September auction. He is out of the A.P. Indy mare Secret Status, who scored in the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) and the Mother Goose Stakes (gr. I) in 2000.
Irish agent Demi O’Byrne, who represents Coolmore Stud and its associates, bought Dunkirk, fighting off Clarence Scharbauer of Valor Farm in Texas. Will Farish’s Lane’s End, agent, was the colt’s consignor. O’Byrne’s September purchases that year also included another Unbridled’s Song colt that brought $2.6 million and was later named Europe.
“It was hard to separate them, I thought,” said O’Byrne of Dunkirk and Europe. “They are two very good Unbridled’s Songs. When I bought one very good one, I thought, ‘I’ve got to get the second one.’ We’ve only had one Unbridled’s Song before, I think. We had a filly (by Unbridled’s Song), Marylebone, who won the Matron Stakes (gr. I). Danzig is gone, and Nureyev is gone, and there are new stallions in action. I’m trying to buy the yearlings by the best stallions around in this market.”
The $2.6-million Unbridled Song’s colt, named Europe, is winless in two career races. Dunkirk, who is owned by Mrs. John Magnier, Michael Tabor, and Derrick Smith, has won twice and finished second once in three starts. His runner-up finish came in the March 28 Blackberry Presents the 58th Running of the Florida Derby (gr. I).
Farish, James Elkins and W.T. Webber Jr. bred Dunkirk in Kentucky.
Following are the sale histories of the other horses entered in this year’s Kentucky Derby:
Advice – Bought back for $37,000 at the 2006 Ocala Breeders’ Sales Co. fall mixed sale; sold for $68,000 at the 2007 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky July select yearling sale; sold for $170,000 at the 2008 Ocala Breeders’ Sales Co. February select sale of 2-year-olds in training.
Atomic Rain – Sold for $170,000 at the 2007 Keeneland September yearling sale; scratched from the 2008 Ocala Breeders’ Sales Co. March select sale of 2-year-olds in training.
Chocolate Candy – Never offered at public auction.
Flying Private – Sold for $700,000 at the 2007 Keeneland September yearling sale.
Friesan Fire – Bought back for $725,000 at the 2007 Keeneland September yearling sale.
General Quarters – Sold for $20,000 at the 2007 Keeneland September yearling sale.
Hold Me Back – Sold for $400,000 at the 2007 Keeneland September yearling sale.
I Want Revenge – Bought back for $95,000 at the Barretts May sale of 2-year-olds in training.
Join in the Dance – Bought back for $130,000 at the 2007 Keeneland September yearling sale; bought back for $90,000 at the 2008 Fasig-Tipton Florida select sale of 2-year-olds in training.
Mine That Bird – Scratched from the 2007 Keeneland September yearling sale; sold for $9,500 at the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky October yearling sale.
Mr. Hot Stuff – Sold for $200,000 at the 2007 Keeneland September yearling sale.
Musket Man – Sold for $15,000 at the 2007 Keeneland September yearling sale; bought back for $35,000 at the 2008 Fasig-Tipton Midlantic sale of 2-year-olds in training.
Nowhere to Hide-- Sold for $200,000 at the 2006 Keeneland November breeding stock sale; sold for $250,000 at the 2007 Keeneland September yearling sale.
Papa Clem – Never offered at public auction.
Pioneerof the Nile – Scratched from the 2006 Keeneland November breeding stock sale; sold for $290,000 at the 2007 Keeneland September yearling sale.
Regal Ransom – Sold for $675,000 at the Fasig-Tipton Florida select sale of 2-year-olds in training.
Summer Bird – Never offered at public auction.
West Side Bernie – Sold for $62,000 at the 2007 Keeneland January horses of all ages sale; sold for $50,000 at the 2007 Keeneland September yearling sale.