The Ocala Breeders’ Sales Co.’s August yearling sale broke slowly from the starting gate Aug. 24 in Central Florida, suffering downturns of more than 30% from 2008 in its gross revenue, average price, and median price. But a powerful-looking Medaglia d'Oro filly topped the select session by attracting a $275,000 final bid from Charlotte Weber’s Live Oak Plantation that surpassed last year’s peak price for an individual horse of $200,000.
“She’s got a solid pedigree, and physically, she ticked off all the boxes; it all just lined up,” said Bruce Hill, the general manager for Weber’s Live Oak Stud near Ocala, of the bay yearling. “She’s a big, ‘scopey,’ strong filly by a sire that has a high probability of getting a good runner. We thought she was going to be in the $300,000 range, and she brought a little less. We’re very, very happy.”
The Florida-bred filly is a half-sister to the winners Ingenuous (by Deputy Commander), Lovely R R (by Carson City), and Talent Agent (by Buddha). Their dam, the 14-year-old Phone Trick mare Lolabell, scored in the Minaret Stakes and finished third in the Manatee Stakes in 1999 at Tampa Bay Downs.
Live Oak’s Weber was the immediate underbidder to Sheikh Mohammed’s bloodstock manager, John Ferguson, on the $1.5-million Medaglia d’Oro–Cat Dancer filly at the recent Fasig-Tipton Saratoga select yearling auction, so finally getting a daughter of the hot stallion, which sired BlackBerry Preakness Stakes (gr. I) winner Rachel Alexandra, helped make up for that loss, according to Hill.
“She’s has the same class as most of the other fillies by Medaglia d’Oro, we’re very comfortable with her and very confident,” he said.
Francis and Barbara Vanlangendonck’s Summerfield sales agency consigned the filly for her breeders, Rick and Deirdre McDonald. The McDonalds, who live in Dade City, Fla., bought Lolabell for $25,000 from Sequel Stallions, agent, at the 2007 OBS fall mixed sale while she was carrying the filly. The couple then offered the filly as a weanling through Brent and Crystal Fernung’s Journeyman Bloodstock at the 2008 OBS fall mixed auction. Made to Support Sales purchased her $67,000, but later turned her back, according to Francis Vanlangendonck.
“The people who bought her saw something they didn’t like,” Vanlangendonck said. “It wasn’t covered by a condition of sale, but the people who bred her said, ‘If you don’t want her, we’ll take her back.’ It worked out beautifully for them.”
The filly is “absolutely lovely,” Vanlangendonck said. “If she had not been by Medaglia d’Oro, she still would have sold for a lot of money. She’s a big, tall filly, and she has a head a lot like Rachel’s; that was something that was commented on quite a bit. She has a big girth on her and a tremendous walk. There was such a wide range of what she could have brought, but the McDonalds were very realistic, saying, ‘We don’t have a lot in her, and we’re going to have fun.’ They were really happy with the price.”
The final figures for the select session included a gross $3,708,500 for the 113 horses that sold. The average was $32,819, and the median was $25,000. Compared to 2008, when 113 select yearlings also were sold, the gross plunged 34.2% from $5,663,000. The average dropped 34.2% from $49,850 while the median fell 37.5% from $40,000.
The buy-back rate declined from 43.5% last year to 38.3% this year.
“Some of our horses didn’t bring near what we thought they would bring, but we got them sold, and some sold for more than we thought,” Vanlangendonck said. “But the market was thin. There weren’t nearly as many people here as there have been in the past. The numbers were certainly down. But the people who were here, when they liked one, they were bidding on it.”
The sale continues through Aug. 27, with three open sessions that will begin each day at 10:30 a.m. (EDT).