By Ryan Conley
Led by a $145,000 purchase of a Tale of the Cat weanling filly Tuesday, the Ocala Breeders' Sales Co. fall mixed sale in Florida closed the second of two preferred consignor sessions with double-digit increases in both average and median sale figures.
Agent Buzz Chace outlasted a bidding group that included William Heiligbrodt's Heiligbrodt Racing Stable and agent Murray Smith, who was working on behalf of a Kentucky buying partnership called Take One Bloodstock at the sale.
Chace said the filly, which is out of the stakes-producing mare On With the Music, by Play On, was purchased for Bill Poston of Atlanta, and would likely be pinhooked next year as yearling, probably at Saratoga.
The Tale of the Cat filly was bought from Lou Gurino and Sandy Oroski's Celebrity Farm consignment, which also boasted the top-selling broodmare Tuesday--an 8-year-old Ogygian mare in foal to Hennessy named Lori's Luck, which was purchased by Marion Montanari of Marion Hills Farm in Ocala.
Celebrity Farm has found a niche in the Ocala market in the last year or so, producing sale-toppers last year at both the OBS August yearling and OBS October fall mixed sale.
"Lou Gurino has tried some different kind of horses for this market and has done pretty well," said Tom Ventura, director of sales for OBS.
Take One Bloodstock purchased the only other horse sold in the six-figure range Tuesday--a Yes It's True weanling filly out of the Summerfield sales agency consignment that brought $110,000.
Take One Bloodstock was the leading buyer through the first two sessions, purchasing four horses for $223,500.
A total of 138 horses were sold Tuesday for $2,442,700, producing an average of $17,701 and a median of $10,000--increases of 31.3% and 19.7% over last year's second preferred session.
With $5,130,000 realized from 343 horses sold in the first two sessions, the combined average and mean also increased over last year--the average up 23.3% to $16,710 and the mean up 17.6% to $10,000. The buy-back rate dropped from 30% in 2002 to 27.2% this year.
Ventura touted the strong performance by weanlings as the driving force behind the improved numbers.
"Anyone with a good looking weanling was in good shape, because they sold well," said Ventura.
Following the end of the preferred session, 36 yearlings were auctioned for a total of $135,100, averaging $3,753 with a $2,700 median.
The sale continues today and Thursday with open sessions each day.