A strapping A.P. Indy colt became one of the most expensive horses ever sold at the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Co.'s spring sale of 2-year-olds in training when he brought $675,000 April 20. Jimmy Bell, the president of Sheikh Mohammed’s Darley America operation, signed the sale ticket in the name of John Ferguson Bloodstock as the auction began its four-day run in Central Florida with increases in some of its key business figures.
Ferguson, who is Sheikh Mohammed's bloodstock manager, didn’t attend the sale, but “he was with us every step of the way on the phone (during the selection and bidding processes),” said Bell, who described the bay juvenile as “a very powerful individual.”
The colt’s price is the highest for a juvenile sold by OBS so far this year, and it equaled the second-highest amount brought by an individual horse in the spring auction’s history. Ultimate (formerly known as Collegiate Honor) sold for $675,000 during the 2004 edition of the sale. Also that year, Woodford Gale (formerly known as Princely Humor), established a record for the auction when Ferguson purchased him for $975,000.
“There was every indication that he would relish a distance of ground,” said Bell of the A.P. Indy colt. “He’s the type of horse that John Ferguson really likes to bring to Sheikh Mohammed’s attention. A.P. Indy has been really lucky for the boss."
Bred by Jess Jackson and Barbara Banke’s Stonestreet Thoroughbred Holdings in Kentucky, the $675,000 A.P. Indy colt is the second foal out of the 2002 La Brea Stakes (gr. I) winner Got Koko (by Signal Tap), who died of foaling complications following the birth of a Bernardini colt March 4.
Florida pinhookers Carl Bowling and Ricky Leppala purchased the A.P. Indy colt for $175,000 from Taylor Made Sales Agency, agent for Stonestreet, at the 2008 Keeneland September yearling auction. With their partner, Jill Julian, Bowling and Leppala planned to resell the colt at this year’s Fasig-Tipton Florida select sale of 2-year-olds in training in early March. But he had to be scratched from the auction because of an injury suffered right before he was going to be shipped from the Nelson Jones Training Center (where the training division of Bowling’s Straightaway Farm is located) to Calder Race Course.
“On the way to the track, his exercise rider decided to take a shortcut rather than following the sandy drive,” Bowling said. “They cut across the grass, and when the horse stepped off the grass, there was a 12- to 16-inch drop, and he stumbled. He lost the rider, ran back toward the barn, missed the gate going to the barn, and then hit a gate going up into an equipment area. It put a 16-inch slash in his left hip. The slash was so big that you could have stuck both of your fists up in it. It took an hour and a half to suture him up. We put him in the stall and didn’t touch him for a month. But the cut healed up great – the muscle wasn’t damaged – so we started him back in training.”
M. Neal Sims, who worked closely with Julian to prepare Bowling’s horses for this year’s juvenile sales, consigned the colt to the OBS spring auction. The well-bred 2-year-old worked an eighth of a mile in :10 2/5.
“It wasn’t a speed breeze, but it was a class breeze,” Bowling said. “He galloped out in :21 1/5, :34 2/5, and :46 1/5 for a half of a mile. That’s pretty awesome. The rider’s comment was that he just got better with every stride. He’s a big, classy horse that stands 16-something hands and probably weighs 1,300 pounds.”
The colt had a $399,000 reserve, but ended up not really needing the protection because “we had at least five different key people bidding on the horse,” Bowling said. “The bids were coming from everywhere. It (the price) was a blessing to me, and it was a blessing to my partners. We knew we would be blessed if we doubled our money in this economy.”
The colt’s price helped boost the spring auction’s first session results. OBS reported that 210 horses were sold for a gross of $5,477,500. The average price was $26,083, and the median price was $16,000.
Compared to a year ago, when 188 juveniles were sold, the gross rose 12.5% from $4,867,400. The average increased less than 1% from $25,890 while the median fell 11.1% from $18,000.
The buy-back rate dropped from 29.8% in 2008 to 23.9% this year, according to OBS.
Based on The Blood-Horse’s calculations, 209 horses were sold for a gross of $5,447,500, an average of $26,065, and a median of $16,000. The buy-back rate was 24%.
The differences between the OBS figures and The Blood-Horse’s statistics involved one 2-year-old that was offered twice during the first session. OBS included the prices brought both times in its results. The Blood-Horse included only the price brought the second time.
The OBS spring auction runs through April 23, with selling beginning each day at 10:30 a.m. (EDT).