Sheikh Mohammed bids big at Saratoga sale

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. — John Ferguson, acting on behalf of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum of Dubai, purchased the three highest price yearlings offered at the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga Sale of Select Yearlings for a total of $4 million Monday.

Ferguson made the final bid, $1.5 million, on a filly by Medaglia d'Oro from the Storm Cat mare Cat Dancer, the most expensive of 109 yearlings offered during the first night of the two-session sale. Medaglia d'Oro is also the sire of super filly Rachel Alexandra

Ferguson also purchased a colt by 2006 Preakness winner Bernardini from the mare Bird Town, who is from the family of this year's Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird and Belmont Stakes winner Summer Bird, for $1.3 million, and another son of Bernardini from the Storm Cat mare Storm Beauty for $1.2 million.

The high final bid of the night, $1.6 million for a filly by Bernardini from a female family that has produced Belmont Stakes winners Rags to Riches and Jazil, failed to meet the reserve price.

The sale is the first at Saratoga since Fasig-Tipton, the nation's largest Thoroughbred sales company, was acquired by a Dubai corporation controlled by Sheikh Mohammed last year.