Round Pond became the highest-priced horse sold by Fasig-Tipton in more than 20 years when she brought $5.75 million Sunday at the company's Kentucky November select auction in Lexington. Sheikh Mohammed's bloodstock manager, John Ferguson, was the winning bidder for the 5-year-old daughter of Awesome Again out of the Trempolino mare Gift of Dance.
Consigned by Taylor Made Sales Agency, acting on behalf of Rick Porter's Fox Hill Farms, Round Pond scored in last year's Emirates Airline Breeders' Cup Distaff (gr. I), and she won four other added-money events, including the 2005 Acorn Stakes (gr. I).
"Any mare that wins a Breeders' Cup is very special," Ferguson said, "and a mare by a top stallion out of a half-sister to three group (or grade) I winners is obviously a really top prospect. Obviously, it's a lot of money to pay, but if you want to buy the best mares you have to bid more than everybody else thinks they're worth."
The build-up of Sheikh Mohammed's stallion ranks in this country was a factor in purchasing Round Pond, according to Ferguson.
"We are collecting an array of really exciting young horses at Jonabell -- Street Sense, Hard Spun, and Discreet Cat -- and obviously, Street Cry has had a great start," he said. "Sheikh Mohammed is very committed to the American program. In years gone by, maybe we were concentrating more on mares that performed on the turf. But now, Darley and Jonabell are a very, very important part of our future. Sheikh Mohammed feels very strongly that we should support our American breeding operation, which you can see from the stud fees that he's set that give everybody an opportunity. In return, he's buying top quality bloodstock for those stallions. Mares like this will help in the long run."
Round Pond earned $1,998,700 while winning seven of her 13 career races.
"She's the real McCoy," Porter said. "Her price wasn't a long way from my reserve, which was under $5 million."
Round Pond's price was the highest for Fasig-Tipton since grade I winner Miss Oceana (in foal to Northern Dancer) sold for $7 million in 1985 as part of the Newstead Farm dispersal.
More recently, grade I winner Riskaverse and I'll Get Along, the dam of champion and dual classic winner Smarty Jones , each brought $5-million at Fasig-Tipton November sales. Riskaverse sold in 2005, and I'll Get Along sold in 2004 while in foal to Smarty Jones' sire, Elusive Quality.