Distorted Humor Filly Tops Adena Springs Auction

The Adena Springs juvenile auction established a sale record for gross revenue Monday night in Central Florida while reducing its buy back rate significantly. However, the average and median both lost a lot of ground from a year ago.

One horse that could have made a big difference in the statistics, a handsome, light gray El Prado -- Indy Queen colt from the family of Free House, brought a final bid of $675,000, but failed to meet his reserve. The last live money was at $650,000, with the offer coming from Centennial Farms.

Don Little Jr. and Dr. Steve Carr of Centennial said afterward that they planned to discuss the possibility of a private sale with Adena Springs owner and racetrack magnate Frank Stronach. Following the auction, Stronach reported that two parties had expressed an interest in the colt and that he would consider taking on partners, but was not interested in selling him outright. He wanted to retain the colt's stallion rights. Stronach had told the auctioneers that his target price for the muscular 2-year-old was $750,000, but said he gave them "a 5% leeway."

Said Randy Bradshaw, Adena Springs' farm trainer: "That colt is a very special horse. I've been around a lot of good horses in my life, and I'll tell you what, he's got the right mind, and he's got the pedigree. He's the kind that makes a Kentucky Derby (gr. I) horse. That's what everybody's dream is."

Without the El Prado colt in the mix, the final figures for the fifth edition of the auction, which was held at Adena Springs South, were 65 horses sold for $4,397,000, up 12.3% from the former sale mark of $3,916,000 that had been set last year. The average of $67,646 was down 20.5% from 2005's all-time auction high of $85,130. The median declined 25%, from the sale record of $60,000 last year to $45,000 this year. The buy back rate fell from 58.6% to 37.5%.

"It's like the old saying, when you sell you always expect a little more, and when you buy, you always think you paid a little too much," Stronach said, adding that he was the most pleased with the buy back rate's reduction.

The sale-topper was a $400,000 daughter of Distorted Humor  out of the 10-year-old Kris S. mare Kris Is It, who won once and finished second in the 1999 Vielle Vigne Stakes on turf at Del Mar. A chestnut, the filly is a half-sister to the winner Wise Investor (by Belong to Me), who was third in the Hidden Light Stakes on grass at Santa Anita. Kentucky-based bloodstock agent and pinhooker Mike Ryan purchased the filly for a client whose name he declined to reveal.

"I told my man I thought she was the best Distorted Humor filly I had ever seen, or one of the best," Ryan said. "She has good size, and she's very correct. They (Distorted Humor offspring) come in all shapes and sizes, but they run. It doesn't matter what sort of mare they're out of, they run. This was an exceptional filly. She has plenty of natural speed, but being out of a Kris S. mare, there's no reason to think she couldn't go two turns."

Ryan also bought a $280,000 El Prado -- Blue Begonia filly for the same client and a $330,000 Touch Gold -- Tina Dynamite colt for another client, whose name he also wouldn't disclose. Last year, Ryan shopped at the sale for the first time and purchased a Golden Missile -- Blazing Hot colt for $500,000, a sale record. Named Benedict, the colt finished unplaced last year in his only race for owner William Warren Jr.

"So many champions and good horses have come from this program; it's proven ground," Ryan said. "These horses are on the come; they have so much upside to them."

Ryan also likes the Adena Springs policy of not marketing its horses using timed works.

"They're not overused any amount," he said. "They're not going down there very, very fast in :10 1/5 or :10 2/5, or :21 1/5 or :21 2/5. We all know that the fast times are what sells horses. But most of these horses look like they're two-turn horses, so they're not going to necessarily go in :10 1/5 anyway. They've got a program where they're not going to push them just for today. They're not going to abuse them just for today. If he (Stronach) doesn't sell them, he's got a plan for them. He'll go on with them and race."

Centennial bought a Golden Missile -- Bag Lady Jane colt for $75,000 and an Awesome Again  -- Reggae Queen colt for $300,000.

"This is the first time we've come to this sale," said Little, Centennial's president. "What we like about it is they haven't done a lot of their early breezes with their horses. There are a lot of nice horses here."