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No bids for Curlin qualified

The minority share of Curlin is still up for grabs.

None of the sealed bids, which were due by 3 p.m. Wednesday, qualified and so the court-appointed receivers will pursue a private sale with some of the interested bidders, according to attorney Sylvius von Saucken, who works with receiver Matthew L. Garretson.

Von Saucken said no reserve had been set.

Von Saucken said they hope to complete a sale this month but that public auction remains an option to maximize the value of the 20 percent share in Curlin presently owned by attorneys Shirley Allen Cunningham and William Gallion, through Midnight Cry Stables.

Cunningham and Gallion may have to liquidate Midnight Cry's assets, which include the share of Horse of the Year and record money-earner Curlin as well as 38 other horses, to satisfy a $42 million judgment to 440 defendants they represented in fen-phen litigation.

Von Saucken said the receiver got more than one bid but he could not say how many bids were made, who bid, or what the range of the bids was.

"Through this process we've identified that the market loves Curlin," he said.

However, the situation was complicated because of the depressed economic and horse market, as well as the legal entanglements surrounding the share and uncertainty regarding the horse's future.

The majority 80 percent interest is owned by winemaker and horse breeder Jess Jackson, who has not said whether Curlin will compete next year or stand at stud.

Jackson was not involved in the bidding process, von Saucken said, but the receiver was in contact with Jackson's counsel.

"This probably is not the best time to try to sell something like this," von Saucken said, but he said they were pleased with the amount of interest.

The sealed bid process was the first step in establishing a market value without hurting that value, von Saucken said.

Price was not the sole factor determining a bid's qualifications, he said. Bidders also had to show they were legally able to make the bid and had to provide financial information about how they could pay.