Owner Michael Paulson said he bought back Azeri's first yearling in the hopes of retaining a portion of the A.P. Indy colt to race. Paulson bought back the yearling for $7.7 million during the opening session of the Keeneland September yearling sale Sept. 8. It marked the most expensive RNA in Keeneland sale history. The colt was consigned by Hill 'n' Dale Sales Agency, agent.
Paulson, who raced Horse of the Year and three-time champion Azeri in the name of the Allen Paulson Living Trust, has strong emotional ties to Azeri, the last great horse bred by his late father.
"We picked the breeding, picked his name (Vellenzeri), were there at his birth, and have watched this yearling grow up to be an exceptional horse," Paulson said. "We're working with some people who have expressed interest in him, and hopefully we can strike a deal here where we keep part of him, perhaps even in the next day or two.
"He's exceptional. He's never taken one step backwards since he was born. He vets absolutely perfect, and he has that Azeri walk--you have to almost trot to keep up with his walk. We know he's going to be a real racehorse. Everybody who sees him thinks he's exceptional."
Paulson did not wish to reveal where he set the reserve on the colt, but noted that his understanding was the last live bid was at $7.5 million.
"They were getting very close to the reserve," Paulson noted. "Based on the history of sales at Keeneland, we thought he was worth north of the final live bid we got. But this gives us a better opportunity to perhaps keep part of the horse. It would be very exciting to race him."