Menifee colt, brought top price at Keeneland sale.

Menifee colt, brought top price at Keeneland sale.

Anne M. Eberhardt

Gross Rises at Keeneland Juvenile Sale; Menifee Colt Brings Top Price

Topped by a colt from the first crop of millionaire Menifee, Keeneland's April sale of 2-year-olds in training produced a record gross and second-highest average in the sale's history on Tuesday.

The sales company in Lexington, Ky. reported 128 horses were sold for a gross of $21,440,000 and an average price of $167,500. The median price was $98,500. The 70 horses that did not meet their reserve prices represented 35.3% of those through the sales ring.

At the same sale one year ago, 102 horses were sold for a total of $17,749,500 and an average price of $174,015. The 2002 sale median price was $127,500 median as the 76 RNAs, represented 42.7% of those offered.

"We knew that with more horses offered that the gross would be up, but for the average to be as close as it was to last year, I am very happy," said Keeneland sales director Geoffrey Russell. "When the inspectors came back from Florida, we felt we had a good group of horses. Then they performed well (in the pre-sale workouts) and they sold well."

Russell noted that the international virus and world political situation meant some of the sale's regular Japanese buyers were not present, but that their absence was made up for by other buyers.

Texan James McIngvale purchased the Menifee colt for $950,000 to top the one-day auction. Consigned by Murray Smith, the April 29, 2001 foal was purchased by M&M Racing, with agent J. B. McKathan signing the ticket on behalf of McIngvale. John Oxley was the underbidder.

"He's awesome," McKathan said. "He is the kind of colt that can justify that kind of price."

Consignor Smith had purchased the colt produced from the Carson City mare Pacific City for $42,000 from the Taylor Made Sales Agency consignment to the 2002 Fasig-Tipton July yearling sale. "He was an ugly duckling who turned into a swan," Smith said.

During the April 7 under-tack preview show the colt worked a quarter mile in 21 2/5 seconds.

Bob and Beverly Lewis paid the sale's second-highest price of $875,000 for an Unbridled's Song colt that some thought would be the sale-topper. In fact, bidding on the colt, also an April 29, 2001 foal, opened at $500,000 and quickly rose to the final bid. The colt, a half-brother to stakes winner and sire Belong to Me and produced from the stakes winning mare Belonging (by Exclusive Native), was consigned by Becky Thomas' Sequel Bloodstock. During Monday's under-tack show, the colt posted a time of 21 1/5 for a quarter of a mile.

The Lewises, who purchased four of the 10 offerings that brought final bids of more than $500,000, were represented at the sale by Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas and agent John Moynihan.

Earlier in the session partners J. Roger Jones and Bobby McIntyre hit a pinhooking home run with an El Prado colt produced from the grade I winning Lord at War mare La Gueriere. Jones and McIntyre had paid a surprisingly low sum of $67,000 for the colt at the July 2002 dispersal of horses owned by Wimborne Farm, only to learn later that their purchase had previously sustained a fractured sesamoid in his right hind ankle. Based on the advice of Dr. Paul Thorpe and adviser Helen Alexander, Jones and McIntire did not have the colt operated on for the ankle injury and he was sent to Jane Dunn of Holly Hill Farm in South Carolina.

On Tuesday, the colt was purchased by Stanley Fulton for $850,000 from the consignment of Kirkwood Stables. Fleetwood/N. W, Management agency, with Tim McMurry signing the ticket, purchased the colt on Fulton's behalf. "I think he is magnificent," said Fulton, who plans to have the colt's ankle operated on.

Top Prices ($500,000 and above)
Price--Hip No./Sex, Sire -- dam/Consignor/Buyer

$950,000 -- 58/colt, Menifee -- Pacific City/Murray Smith/M&M Racing

$875,000 -- 168/colt, Unbridled's Song -- Belonging/Sequel Bloodstock/Robert and Beverly Lewis

$850,000 -- 8/colt, El Prado -- La Gueriere/Kirkwood Stables/Fleetwood-N.W. Mgt.

$700,000 -- 62/colt, Elusive Quality -- Pleas Write/Wavertree Stables/Wesley Ward & Robert King

$600,000 -- 104/colt, Forest Wildcat -- Starita/Niall Brennan Stables, agent/J. Paul Reddam

$600,000 -- 186/colt, Cape Town -- Charming Gal, by Slew's Royalty/Niall Brennan Stables, agent/Robert and Beverly Lewis

$525,000 -- 76/colt, Grand Slam -- Sandy's Storm/Niall Brennan Stables, agent/Wiinsong Farms

$500,000 -- 48/colt, Forestry -- Northern Sanction/Niall Brennan Stables, agent/Robert and Beverly Lewis

$500,000 -- 95/filly, Elusive Quality -- Dawn/Nick DeMeric, agent/Fleetwood-N.W. Mgt.

$500,000 -- 132/colt, Touch Gold -- Wild Seven/Robert N. Scanlon, agent/Robert and Beverly Lewis

Results, more information, from Keeneland