The Ocala Breeders' Sales Company winter mixed sale ended its four-day run in Florida Thursday with big increases in business. OBS reported that 690 horses were sold for a gross of $7,864,000 and an average price of $11,397. Compared to a year ago, the gross was up 57.6% and the average rose 32.0%. The figures were the highest since 1984's total of $12,699,500 and average of 14,497. In 2003, according to The Blood-Horse's calculations, the 578 horses sold grossed $4,991,000 and averaged $8,635.
"It went well," said Tom Ventura, the OBS general manager and director of sales. "There as plenty of action at the upper end. I think we rode along with the wave (of upswings) at the yearling sales and the mixed sales at the end of last year. But I also thought we had some better offerings in our catalogue this year. The local stallions have improved a lot in recent years, and we've benefited from that. There was a lot of competition for this year for the better yearlings. The Kentucky buyers were here in pretty good numbers -- more than we've had here in the past."
During Thursday's final session, 181 horses were sold for a gross of $898,600 and an average of $4,965.
A Family Calling yearling filly brought the final session's top price of $55,000. The Magnolia Partnership purchased her from Summerfield, agent. Produced from the winning Baldski mare Orchid Corsage, the filly is a half-sister to two stakes-placed runners, Bianco Appeal (by Valid Appeal) and Auto Corsage (by Dodge).
The most expensive mare sold was Heart of the Bull, who brought $50,000 while in foal to High Yield. Stephanie Amato purchased the 8-year-old daughter of Holy Bull from Majestic Farm. Produced from the unraced Pass the Glass mare Passing My Way, Heart of the Bull is a half-sister to champion Phone Chatter (by Phone Trick). Phone Chatter is the dam of grade II winner Cat Chat (by Storm Cat)/