When reviewing the action during the 2007 Ocala Breeders' Sales Co.'s fall mixed sale Oct. 8-12 in Central Florida, Tom Ventura, OBS general manager and director of sales, said it is difficult to compare the results with those of last year. This year, the sale saw one less consignor-preferred session and one additional open session.
"The quality horses brought good prices and there was demand for the upper-end horse," Ventura said. "Below the top level, it is a little more difficult. The supply of those kind of horses is greater than the demand."
For the two-day consignor-preferred sessions, 256 horses sold for $6,848,700. The average was $26,753 and the median $20,000. The buy-back rate, however, was 49.3%.
Compared with the figures from 2006--for three preferred sessions compared with the two this year--the average increased 24.1% from $21,564. Last year's buy-back rate was 33.1%.
For the two days, the average weanling price was $29,809, while the average price for a mare was $22,497.
Under a change in sale format in for the consignor-referred sessions in 2007, if a horse fails to sell for more than $10,000, the commission paid to the sale company by the consignor is doubled to $2,000.
”The reasoning behind the change was the quality wasn't consistent and there were horses being entered that really were not justifying the $1,000 minimum commission," Ventura said. "In an effort to force the consignors to be careful about entries, we set up the new standard. We were trying to improve the quality by doing this."
The three-day open session saw 413 horses sell for $2,992,900. The average was $7,247 and the median $4,200.
Last year, in two open sessions, 236 horses sold for $1,108,800. The average was $4,698, with a $2,700 median .
The sale topper came during the second consignor-preferred session, when a son of first-crop stallion Closing Argument was purchased for $185,000 by bloodstock agent Buzz Chace on behalf of the pinhooking partnership of Terry Finley's West Point Stables and Lewis Lakin. The colt was consigned by Beth Bayer, agent.
Tanourin Stables bred the dark bay or brown colt in Florida from the Unbridled's Song mare Autumn Music, whom they purchased carrying the sale-topping colt for $65,000 from the consignment of Burleson Farms at the 2006 OBS October sale.
The colt, a January foal, is a half-brother to Puerto Rican group winner and champion Vivaldi Girl (by Forest Camp) and is from the family of Wild Desert.
Chace said the colt would likely be resold as a yearling or 2-year-old.
"He was just a very nice horse with a lot of presence," he said. "I like the way he was bred, and I think Closing Argument has a real good chance (to be a good sire). He was a good horse on the racetrack, and the horses I have seen of his at this sale have really impressed me."
Closing Argument stands at Becky Thomas' Sequel Stallions near Orange Lake, Fla. His 2007 fee was $10,000.
The top-priced mare of the auction was Maid Guinevere (Guilded Time-Dear Guinievere, by Fearless Knight) who was purchased in foal to Empire Maker carrying her first foal, for $175,000 by Jim Scott, representing George Steinbrenner's Kinsman Stud. Brent Fernung's Journeyman Bloodstock consigned the mare, who is a half-sister to grade III stakes winner Mass Market as well as two stakes-placed winners.
"The market is soft here because we have about 6,000 horses coming up in November (for the Keeneland mixed sale)," said Scott. "I think a lot of people are waiting until next month. We were going to wait.
"This is the only horse I have bought here. I didn't even have this horse marked in my catalog because I was looking at horses that would cross with (2-year-old) Majestic Warrior down the road. We are looking for mares that cross well with Majestic Warrior, and that has a lot to do with what we do in the future."
Scott called the mare the whole package— in foal to the right stallion (Empire Maker), with size and conformation. "The mare was a decent racehorse and was an athletic mare and proved that she could run," he said. "She is the kind of mare that I can sell babies out of for three or four years."
Breeding plans for Maid Guievere in 2008 have yet to be decided.