Azeri at the Keeneland January 2009 sale <br><a target="blank" href="">Order This Photo</a>

Azeri at the Keeneland January 2009 sale
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Anne M. Eberhardt

Azeri, For Now, Probably Won't Be Sold

Paulson to keep champion mare.

One day after buying back Azeri for $4.4 million at the Keeneland January horses of all ages sale, Michael Paulson indicated that the 2002 Horse of the Year would be remaining under the control of the Allen E. Paulson Living Trust even though he had expressed a desire to sell her privately. The 11-year-old daughter of Jade Hunteris in foal to 2004 Horse of the Year Ghostzapperand, based on fetal sexing, is carrying a filly.

“Right now we’re inclined to just keep Azeri in our inventory,” said Paulson Jan. 13. “She’s a four-time Eclipse Award champion (with three divisional titles in addition to her Horse of the Year honor), and we gave everybody an opportunity to buy a horse like that. It came real close, but it just didn’t happen. For some reason, it didn’t happen, so I see that as an omen that obviously we’re supposed to keep her. That’s pretty much it for right now. I’ll let you know if something comes up and someone makes an offer we can’t refuse.”

Azeri Slide Show

Azeri has been returned to John Sikura’s Hill ‘n’ Dale Farms near Lexington, according to Paulson. Sikura’s Hill ‘n’ Dale Sales Agency consigned her to the January sale. Hill ‘n’ Dale also was the consignor of Azeri’s first foal, Vallenzeri (by A.P. Indy), when Paulson bought back the colt back for a world Thoroughbred auction record price of $7.7 million during the 2008 Keeneland September yearling auction. Vallenzeri is being prepared by Florida horseman Eddie Woods for the Keeneland April sale of 2-year-olds in training.

Paulson is a son of the late Eclipse Award-winning breeder and owner Allen Paulson and manages his father’s trust.

“It was an opportunity for us to see where the market was,” said Paulson of Azeri’s January sale experience. “We set a very fair reserve, and the market and us were real close. We were just a hammer or two away from getting the deal done. She’s due to foal here in about three months, so we’ll see where it goes from there, but it can’t be too bad having a mare like that in your barn.”