The sheik and Ireland's Coolmore conglomerate engaged in a record-setting bidding war Tuesday that drew gasps from the crowd at Keeneland's September yearling sale in Lexington, Ky.
The $9.7 million for the chocolate colt is the highest price ever paid at Keeneland -- and the third-highest in U.S. public-auction history. Seattle Dancer sold for $13.1 million in 1985 and Snaafi Dancer went for $10.2 million in 1983.
"Sheik Mohammed, from the first moment he laid eyes on this horse, he felt that this was very, very important that this horse race for" Godolphin, his family's racing stable, bloodstock adviser John Ferguson told the Lexington (Ky.) Herald-Leader.
Everything is special about the horse, said Alice Chandler, whose Mill Ridge Farm sold the yearling for owners Marty and Pam Wygod: "Pedigree, the way he moves, the attitude. Everything."
The Wygods plan to donate some of the proceeds from the sale to help Hurricane Katrina victims.