As recently as 2008 at Keeneland September, the Russian entity Raut LLC was a bottom feeder. Raut, for instance, purchased the following Russian Group winners two years ago at this sale: Bushwood Belle (by Yonaguska) for $2,500; Bariton (by Purge) for $9,000; Hemera (by Maria’s Mon) for $10,000; and North Stream (by Giant’s Causeway) for $45,000. The latter, however, won the 2010 Russian Derby (Keeneland September grads finished in the top three), and for none other than Chechen president Ramzan Kadyrov, who races a stable with Herman Brown in Dubai (and with Gary Moore in Britain during the summer months).
Mr. Kadyrov, politically controversial, is known for spending money on made horses. He purchased US classic contender Racecar Rhapsody from the US for the Russian Derby in 2008, and this year he bought the Galileo colt Mikhail Glinka, the Group 3 Queen’s Vase winner, for the same race. Last year, he purchased the 2009 Argentine Derby winner Storm Chispazo for Dubai, and he also bought the European Group winner Bronze Cannon for the President’s Cup, a race established in Russia only a few years ago but one that has quickly become its most important fixture, ahead of the Derby. This year, Mr. Kadyrov won both races, taking the President’s Cup with an Irish-bred son of Hawk Wing named Khoresm.
Mr. Kadyrov may have been behind Raut’s “splurge” Tuesday. But perhaps the bragging rights of picking this year’s Derby winner alone was enough for the entity to come armed with bigger bucks, because Raut paid more for a single horse yesterday than I’ve seen any Russian buyer spend before at public auction in the US.
Raut’s big-ticket buy was Hip No. 382, a Mr. Greeley filly from the family of champion Ashado, for $250,000. To put this in perspective, the most expensive purchase by a Russian at this sale last year was the $80,000 Vladimir Kazakov gave for a Dynaformer half-brother to Dunkirk.
All told, Raut purchased six head for $552,000 yesterday. Aside from the Mr. Greeley, they were: Hip No. 293, a filly by Broken Vow, for $22,000; Hip No. 364, a colt by More Than Ready, for $80,000; Hip No. 445, a colt by Lemon Drop Kid, for $55,000; Hip No. 506, a colt by Gone West, for $105,000; and Hip No. 507, a colt by Gulch, for $40,000.
Click here to read about Russian buying at last year’s Keeneland September select sessions from an article I wrote for Racing Post.