Cup o' Joe brings $1.6 million at auction of 2-year-olds in training

Cup o' Joe, a bay son by Medaglia d'Oro, was the highest-priced horse sold at the Fasig-Tipton Calder select sale of 2-year-olds in training when he elicited a final bid of $1.6 million from John Ferguson at Calder Race Course in Florida on Tuesday.

Ferguson, bidding on behalf of Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum, also purchased the day's other two seven-figure horses: a colt by Unbridled's Song out of Amazing Buy for $1.1 million, and another son of Unbridled's Song, out of Rubywood, for $1 million.

Consigned by Ciaran Dunn's Wavertree Stable, Cup o' Joe is a half-brother to Grade I winner Midas Eyes and multiple graded-stakes winner Bayou's Lassie. In his pre-sale workout, the bay colt — who is out of the stakes-winning mare Bayou Plans — covered an eighth of a mile in :103⁄5.

"Obviously, this horse really performed well on the racetrack, just like he had to do to make that kind of money," Ferguson told "He's a brother to a very, very fast horse in Midas Eyes and by an exciting young horse."

The economic struggles that have plagued the Thoroughbred marketplace in recent months once again reared their head at the boutique auction.

The Fasig-Tipton Calder sale suffered across-the-board declines as the overall gross of $26,151,000 was down 25 percent from last year's total of $35,100,000. The average ($235,595) and the median ($150,000) fell off by 31 percent and 34 percent, respectively.

The rate of horses not sold improved slightly, as 61 horses failed to meet their reserve this year, compared to 69 in 2008.