The $8-million colt, training in Florida.

The $8-million colt, training in Florida.

Anne M. Eberhardt

McKathans Preparing $8-Million Yearling for Racing

The $8-million Storm Cat colt, which was the highest-priced Thoroughbred sold at public auction this year, is in Florida being prepared for racing by brothers J.B. and Kevin McKathan. The chestnut yearling arrived on Dec. 7 at the McKathans' training center near Citra. The most expensive horse ever sold at the Keeneland September yearling sale, the colt had been at Arthur B. Hancock III's Stone Farm near Paris, Ky., where he was broken.

"I talked to Kevin, who has seen him, and he says he looks good; he's grown quite a bit," said J.B. McKathan, the day after the colt arrived in Florida. "Arthur (Hancock) said he has a very good mind, and that's good news for us. He's not one of the real 'hot' Storm Cats that can really be tough."

A large percentage of the young horses that the McKathans work with wind up in the stable of California-based trainer Bob Baffert, but J.B. McKathan declined to say whether Baffert would get the colt.

"Our job is just to get him (the colt) ready," McKathan said. "We were told that he was just beginning to go the track at Arthur's, so we'll be putting some miles under him now. He'll probably start doing a little speed work toward the end of January."

Bred in Kentucky by William S. Farish of Lane's End Farm and the family of the late W.S. Kilroy, the colt is the first foal out of 2000 Dogwood Stakes (gr. III) winner Welcome Surprise (by Seeking the Gold). He 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.

Hideyuki Mori, a top Japanese trainer, purchased the colt from Lane's End at Keeneland in September, but declined to identify who would own the yearling. However, sources in the racing industry have indicated that the trainer's client was Fusao Sekiguchi, who showed up at Keeneland the day after the expensive colt was sold. Sekiguchi and his associates have refused to comment or have given conflicting answers to reporters' questions about the yearling's ownership.

Sekiguchi raced 2000 Kentucky Derby (gr. I) winner Fusaichi Pegasus . Mori also purchased two other yearlings at Keeneland in September -- a $3.4-million Storm Cat -- Bless colt and a $1.8-million Seeking the Gold -- Angel Fever colt -- that are closely related to Fusaichi Pegasus.