Sekiguchi confirmed as buyer of  Keeneland September sale topper.

Sekiguchi confirmed as buyer of Keeneland September sale topper.

Anne M. Eberhardt

Baffert Confirms Sekiguchi's Ownership of $8-Million Colt

Flamboyant Japanese horseman Fusao Sekiguchi is the owner of the $8-million Storm Cat colt, which was the highest-priced Thoroughbred sold at public auction last year. Trainer Bob Baffert on April 8 confirmed a published report that Sekiguchi recently had given him permission to talk about the chestnut colt's ownership. Previously, Sekiguchi and his associates had refused to comment about the matter or had given out conflicting information.

Hideyuki Mori, a top Japanese trainer, would not identify his client after purchasing the colt from William S. Farish's Lane's End, agent, at the Keeneland September yearling sale. Sekiguchi's arrival at the auction the day after the colt had sold resulted in widespread speculation that he was the yearling's new owner.

Bred in Kentucky by Farish and the family of the late W. S. Kilroy, the colt is the most expensive yearling ever sold at Keeneland in September. He is the first foal produced from 2000 Dogwood Stakes (gr. III) winner Welcome Surprise (by Seeking the Gold), who is from the family of 1992 Horse of the Year and leading sire A.P. Indy and 1990 Preakness Stakes (gr. I) winner and sire Summer Squall.

As of early April, the expensive colt had been at Baffert's barn at Santa Anita Park for approximately two weeks after being prepared for racing in Florida by J.B. and Kevin McKathan. The colt is scheduled to start breezing soon. "He'll run when he tells us he's ready," Baffert said, but added that the colt would not be making his career debut in the next 90 days.

"He looks great," Baffert said.

Welcome Surprise produced a full sister to the $8-million colt in February of this year, according to The Jockey Club's records.