King Kamehameha Filly Smashes World Auction Record for Foal in Japan

A strapping filly from the first crop of the Kingmambo stallion King Kamehameha smashed the world record for a foal or weanling sold at public auction Tuesday in Japan.

Her price soared to 600 million yen ($5,217,391) during the opening session of the Japan Racing Horse Association select foal sale at the Northern Horse Park. Nobutaka Tada of Globe Equine Management Co. was the buyer, fighting off strong challenges from Dr. Riki Takahashi of Sheikh Mohammed's Darley Japan and Fusao Sekiguchi, who raced Kentucky Derby (gr. I) winner Fusaichi Pegasus.

The previous record was the 490 million yen ($4,537,037) for a Dance in the Dark -- Air Groove colt purchased by Sekiguchi two years ago at this auction.

Tada said the King Kamehameha filly would have multiple Japanese owners, denying the rumor swirling around the sale grounds that Coolmore Stud was involved. According to the Tokyo-based bloodstock agent, the goal of the filly's new owners is to one day win the Prix de Diane (French Oaks, Fr-I) with their purchase. Tada declined to name his clients.

"She is beautiful," said Tada of the bay filly. "I liked everything -- her pedigree, conformation, eyes, face. I can't express how beautiful she is."

Tada added that he wasn't surprised by the price because "if you see her, you fall in love. Many people wanted her," he continued. "There were a couple of other groups that we were bidding against, people who are professionals. I wasn't excited, but I was hoping that we would get her. I am completely in love with her. It is like when you are young. There's a pretty girl looking at you and (she's thinking) maybe."

Consigned by Northern Farm, the record-priced filly is out of the 10-year-old Sunday Silence mare To the Victory, a champion and group I winner in Japan and the runner-up in the 2001 Emirates Airlines Dubai World Cup (UAE-I). Among the other members of the filly's family are 1989 Monmouth Oaks (gr. I) winner Dream Deal, whose offspring include multiple grade I winner Clear Mandate.

"It's amazing," said Shunsuke Yoshida, whose father, Katsumi, owns Northern Farm. "My heart was beating so fast. She's gorgeous, but it was surprising, of course."

The flamboyant, pony-tailed Sekiguchi bid from a center seat inside sale pavilion while Takahasi and Tada made their offers from behind the auction stand near the area where horses wait before entering go the auction ring. As the price rose, spectators oohed and aahed. The bidding was interrupted by applause more than once.

The record-breaking filly's sire, King Kamehameha, is five years old. He captured the Tokyo Yushun (Japanese Derby, Jpn-I) in 2004.

The JRHA reported that the 118 foals sold on Tuesday grossed 5,160,500,000 yen ($44,873,913) and averaged 43,730,000 yen ($380,260). Compared to the comparable figures of a year ago, the gross increased 16.9%, and the average rose 26.8%. During 2005's first session, the 128 foals that sold grossed 4,416,000,000 yen and averaged 34,500,000 yen.

This year's buy-back rate was 26.7%, with 43 of the 161 horses offered failing to find new homes.

The auction's second and final session is Wednesday.