Siberian Summer to be Sold Through Special Auction

Special T Thoroughbreds is being forced to auction off the promising stallion Siberian Summer along with nine mares and four foals because the horses' owner hasn't paid his bills. The sale will be held Sept. 26 at 1 p.m. PDT at the farm.

Owner Mike Power allegedly hasn't paid anything to the Temecula, Calif., stallion station since he moved Siberian Summer there in the summer of 2000, according to Rick Taylor, who owns and manages Special T Thoroughbreds. Taylor said he had to cover Power's expenses for the first year with stallion fees from the 2001 breeding season. Then in 2001, Power began shipping mares to the farm and drastically increased his expenses. Power's bills now average $6,000 per month.

"He always says to take money out of stud fees, but he sent a bunch of mares here and now the stud fees won't cover the expenses this year," Taylor said. "This is not an easy process. Believe me. I have one of the biggest stallion stations in California right now and I don't really need this."

Power disputed the claims he hasn't paid his bills. He said the arrangement he had with Special T had been to apply the stud fees toward expenses. Power also said he doesn't expect the sale to occur.

"There is not going to be a sale," he said. "We are very close to a settlement. I believe Special T is on the verge of its own financial trouble and he's playing hardball with me because he's scared."

Taylor said Power had arranged to apply stud fees to expenses associated with Siberian Summer, but did not make any arrangements for the mares and foals that arrived later. Taylor also said the only financial trouble he is having is with Power.

"He has never satisfied one thing on the contract," Taylor said. "He said he would put money in a reserve account for the board and never did. As far as I'm concerned, the contract is null and void. I have a boarding agreement that says I will go to a sale if he did not meet the letter of demand. He got that letter. He had normal time to respond and did not."

Taylor said Power did make an offer Friday but the settlement wasn't near what he needs to cover the debt and the cost of having to advertise and arrange the sale, a total that could exceed $60,000.

The unpaid bills aside, Taylor said the sale is unfortunate because it may sully the reputation of an otherwise promising stallion. He bred some of his mares to Siberian Summer and said the resulting foals are gorgeous, but Taylor said he won't try to keep the stallion on his farm.

"I want to wash my hands of the whole thing, and that's too bad because he is getting hot," Taylor said.

Siberian Summer has produced two stakes winners and a stakes-place runner out of two crops of racing age. His top runner is Russian Olive who won the San Juan Juvenile Stakes at Sunray Park and earned more than $80,000.

Among the mares being sold is the stakes-placed mare Ebony's Fast Play who produced Bang (by Ballistic Billy), who placed in two stakes and has earned nearly $57,000. Ebony's Fast Play is in foal to Siberian Summer. Other mares include Candi's Star, a daughter of Candi's Gold, who raced until she was 5 and earned $81,570, and Breech, an 18-year-old daughter of Relaunch who has produced seven winners out of eight starters.

Power previously stood Siberian Summer at Jack Liebau's Valley Creek Farm until the 2000 breeding season was over. He moved the horse after alleging that Valley Creek's farm manager Leigh Ann Howard was using artificial insemination. Power complained to The Jockey Club, which conducted an investigation and found nothing.

Power could stop the sale with a court order, however, he was notified when Taylor applied for his own court order to sell the horses and Power did not oppose the application, according to attorney Kevin Carey who represents Taylor.

"He retained an attorney after the court issued its order," Carey said. The Superior Court of San Diego County issued the order Aug. 28. Carey added that he is still negotiating with Power's attorney but they have not been able to reach an agreement.

The horses will be sold in the order of their assessed value with the most expensive horse--Siberian Summer--selling first. Once the sale generates enough money to cover the debt to Special T, the sale costs, and attorney fees, then Power will have the option of continuing the sale or taking the remaining horses, according to Carey.