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Keeneland Day-2: US$9.7m Storm Cat Colt
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum out-bid Coolmore representatives & paid US$9.7 million (a record price for the Keeneland September Yearling Sale) for a Storm Cat colt out of Tranquility Lake during this morning's action (Australian time) on Day-2 at the marathon 14-session Kentucky sale (5,110-lots & the world's biggest yearling sale) reported thoroughbredtimes.com. The colt (consigned by Mill Ridge Sales as agent for Martin & Pam Wygod) is the 1st foal out of the multiple Gr1-winning Rahy mare Tranquility Lake (who won graded stakes on turf & dirt, including grass wins in the 1999 Gr1 Gamely Breeders' Cup Handicap at Hollywood Park & Gr1 Yellow Ribbon Stakes at Santa Anita & is also a half-sister to Gr2 winner & California sire Benchmark). The colt topped the previous September sale record of US$8 million set last year by Fusao Sekiguchi for a Storm Cat colt out of Welcome Surprise; he is also the 3rd most expensive yearling of all time, behind Seattle Dancer (a son of Nijinsky II) who sold for US$13.1 million at the 1985 Keeneland July selected yearling sale & Snaafi Dancer (a son of Northern Dancer) who sold for US$10.2-million at the 1983 Keeneland July sale. Sheikh Mohammed's chief bloodstock advisor John Ferguson commented: "It's a horse that Sheikh Mohammed felt was the best Storm Cat he had seen. He's an outstanding athlete, from a very good farm. It's the same cross as Giant's Causeway: Storm Cat-Rahy. He's out of an outstanding mare. Very rarely do you have a horse where there is very little to criticise. This is one of the very special colts." Mill Ridge owner Alice Chandler (embracing her sales director Bayne Welker after the hammer fell) referred to the colt as a "once in a lifetime horse" & declared: "I didn't expect him to bring that much, but I knew he was a nice colt & I expected him to sell well. I don't think anyone could have imagined that. It's wonderful." Martin Wygod said: "Honestly, we thought we were going to be buying him back at a much lower price & racing him ourselves. We were surprised by the outcome. It's a thrill." And Pam Wygod admitted she thought she "might have to leave the room when the bidding war continued to escalate. I wasn't sure if I was dreaming or not!" Ferguson said the colt would join the Maktoum family's Godolphin Racing operation, most likely in Europe: "He is an example of a horse that could do it on either side of the Atlantic. And let's hope he does that. He may come back here in a couple of years. He was a very powerful athlete, great limbs, so he had pedigree, physique, quality & class. Sheikh Mohammed obviously felt he was a horse that he very much wanted."