Steady and solid was the theme of the 2008 selected session of the Woodbine yearling sale on Sept. 2, hosted by the Ontario division of the Canadian Thoroughbred Horse Society.

The sale of 149 yearlings resulted in dips in average, gross and the median but consignors and buyers alike seemed satisfied.

In all, the gross sales for the 149 yearlings sold dropped from $6,374,000 (for 159 yearlings in 2007) to $5,830,500. The average price of $39,131 was down just 2% from $40,088 last year. The median price, which jumped up to $32,000 in 2007 from $27,000, fell back down to $27,000.

“It was a solid sale,” said consignor and agent Richard Hogan, who sold one of the night’s 11 six-figure yearlings. “I thought I might get a little more for a couple but there was fair value for the current economic climate.”

Glenn Sikura, who wears two hats as president of the CTHS (Ontario division) and as consignor through  Hill ‘n’ Dale Sales Agency, said there were “a lot of good people” looking at horses but that only the exceptional yearlings attracted the money.

“If you had a really good (yearling) you did OK. It was a bit disappointing,” said Sikura. “Only because the money there did not seem to be enough for some 230 horses (cataloged).”

Topping the sale was the buzz horse of the session, a sizey colt  by Tale of the Cat  and the first foal of the winning Unbridled mare Remsheg.

The colt, bred by Robert Krembil’s Chiefswood Farm, was sold by Gail Wood’s Woodlands  Farm, agent for $195,000 to Jim and Alice Sapara’s Winsong Farm. The sales topper’s price tag matched the high price for last year’s selected session, a Peace Rules colt also bought by the Saparas, who reside in Alberta.

Listed as the second highest price was a $185,000 filly from the only crop of Horse of the Year Saint Liam. The filly, a daughter of the stakes winning Smart Strike mare Noble Strike was consigned by Hill ‘n’ Dale Farms Sales Agency, agent, and sold to Arosa Farms, which bred the filly.

Gardiner Farms Limited as agent sold the second highest priced colt to the session’s leading buyer, Danny Dion’s Bear Stables. Dion paid $165,000 for a colt by Peaks and Valleys out of the stakes producing Numerous mare Gold Lined.

Dion also signed the ticket for a $150,000 Congaree  colt out of the stakes-placed mare Shannon River, by Let’s Bo Blue, consigned by Windfields Farm, agent. Donver Stables of Alberta bid $135,000 for a flashy chestnut colt by Smart Strike out of stakes winner Orangeberry, sold by Windfields Farm agent and Dave Sepiashvili’s Goldmart Farms also paid $135,000, for a Bold Executive –Chelsea Anne filly, a half sister to multiple stakes winner Barbeau Ruckus consigned by Hadwendale Farms, agent.

Other notable yearlings included a Gold Case filly out of Honolulu Gold, consigned by Richard Hogan, agent that brought $130,000 from Patrick Lawley -Wakelin on behalf of Sam-Son Farms and a Storm Boot colt out of stakes producer Raphael Rose consigned by Shannondoe Farms, agent. that was bought for $125,000 by Brian Cullen.

Dion’s Bear Stables led all buyers with seven purchases for a total of $687,000.

“We think we bought the cream of the crop,”  said Dion’s main trainer, Reade Baker, who is based at Woodbine. “We paid in the range of what we thought we would have to.”

Hall of Fame trainer Robert Tiller bought seven yearlings, for himself or in partnership, for $208,000 and said he was satisfied with what he paid for his purchases.

“They were all in the range of what I expected,” said Tiller. “The good boned yearlings with a decent family sold well, in the $60,000-$100,000 range. The Ontario sired program is simply a great program for buyers.”

One of the new faces to buying for the Ontario-sired program was Steve Asmussen, North America's leading money-winning trainer.

Asmussen attended the sale from start to finish and bought five yearlings for a total of $130,000 with his most expensive being a $31,000 Perigee Moon filly sold by Michael C. Byrne’s Park Stud.

The preferred session of the sale is on Sept. 6 beginning at 3 p.m. at the Woodbine sales pavilion.

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