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Rachel Alexandra - Mother Goose Handicap - Belmont Park - Saturday June 27, 2009

Rachel Alexandra: a daughter of her sire, Medaglia d'Oro, topped a strong day's trading at the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga Sale when selling for $1.5m.

  PICTURE: Horsephotos/NYRA 

Opening day of Saratoga bucks downward trend

F-T SARATOGA YEARLING SALE - DAY ONE comparative figures
 Year  Off  Sold  % sold  Total  Average  Median  no $500 +
 2009  106  76  71  25,470,000  335,131  250,000  14
 2008  85  60  71  18,160,000  302,667  235,000  9

BOOSTED by active participation from the Maktoum family and European buyers, the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga Select Yearling Sale bucked the downward market trend in some style on Monday, registering increases across-the-board.

The first day of the boutique auction saw 76 yearlings sell for a total of $25,470,000, a massive increase of 40 per cent from the corresponding session last year when 60 yearlings totalled $18,160,000.

The average leapt 11 per cent to $335,132 while the median recorded a minimal increase of six per cent to$250,000.  Four yearlings broke the $1m barrier, compared to two in 2007.

Three of those $1m yearlings were purchased by Sheikh Mohammed's bloodstock advisor John Ferguson, whose total expenditure for the night was $5.5m for six yearlings. Richard O'Gorman, who regularly acts on behalf of the Darley operation, signed for two lots worth $1.75m in total while Rabbah Bloodstock purchased three for a total of $715,000.

The night's tradingwas topped by a daughter of the red hot Medaglia d'Oro from Taylor Made Sales Agency, who was knocked down to Ferguson for $1.5m. Bred by Richard and Audrey Haisfield, the filly is the second foal out of Cat Dancer, a winning sister to Grade 2 winner Magic Storm. Further back it is the Darby Dan family of Little Current and Chateaugay.


Second crop sire Medaglia d'Oro, who currently holds a top five position in the US leadingsires' list, will stand at Darley at Jonabell in Kentucky next season after Sheikh Mohammed purchased a controlling share in the stallion in June.

At the Fasig-Tipton Calder Sale earlier this year, Ferguson signed for a $1.6m two-year-old son of Medaglia d'Oro in Al Zir, who went on to creat a striking impression when breaking his maiden by four lengths at Newmarket on Friday. It was a success which helped influence this filly's purchase, as he explained:

"So you have one of those (Al Zir) in the stable, you have the stallion, and you walk in here and see a filly like her, and you stretch," Ferguson said. "And at $1.5m we were stretched."

Darley's first crop sire Bernardini provided the other three $1m yearlings led by a colt out of champion Bird Town, herself a half-sister to leading young sire Birdstone, who sold to Ferguson for $1.3m. Ferguson also went to $1.2m to secure a Bernardini colt out of stakes winner Storm Beautyfrom the family of Dayjur.

Later in the session, Kenny McPeek paid $1m for a Bernardini colt out of Fillies' Mile heroine Crystal Music. Offered by Lane's End on behalf of Watership Down Stud, the colt is half-brother to the Listed-placed Crystany.

One of the most anticipated lots of the evening, a Bernardini filly from the family of Rags To Riches who had cost the Chesapeake Partners $1.475m as a foal, was led out unsold when bidding stalled at $1.6m.

Excluding the Maktoum family, which also included two purchases made by Shadwell Estates, activity by European organisations accounted for just north of $3.4m. Among those present on the buyers' sheet were Anthony Stroud, BBA Ireland, Michael Bell, John Gosden, Andrew Balding, Gordian Troeller and Blandford Bloodstock.

The Coolmore group made a single purchase under their own name in a Giant's Causeway colt out of Saudia, who was knocked down to M. V. Magnier for $425,000. The colt had cost Stonestreet Thoroughbreds $825,000 as a foal.





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