There were no dramatic changes in the statistics for the Ocala Breeders' Sales Company's March select juvenile auction, which ended its two-day run on Wednesday. But the average price of $73,610 was an all-time high for the sale, representing a 4.8% increase over the previous mark of $70,213 that was established in 2001. The 200 horses sold grossed $14,722,000, which was down by 2.9% from 2001's total of $15,166,000 for 216 head. The median of $53,500 was the auction's second-highest ever and was up by 4.9% from last year's figure of $51,000. The buy-back rate was 37.9% this year compared to 37.0% last year.
"It went as expected," said Tom Ventura, the OBS general manager and director of sales. "We hoped to remain on par with last year or maybe increase the average a little bit, and that's where we ended up. Based on what the country has had to deal with in the last six or seven months, we didn't really anticipate anything skyrocketing even with some positive news recently on the national financial front."
For the third year in a row, Randy Hartley and Dean De Renzo sold the March sale topper. Their latest success came with a muscular bay Phone Trick colt that brought $400,000 after turning in one of the fastest pre-sale works for an eighth of a mile. :10 1/5. Robert McMartin, a Canadian veterinarian, signed the ticket for pharmaceutical executive Eugene Melnyk. The immediate underbidder was Bob Hess Sr., representing David Shimmon's Fog City Stable.
"I think they got a great buy," De Renzo said. "This is very, very athletic colt at this stage of his life. He was a May foal, and I think he will mature up and be that much better. We haven't actually seen his potential just yet."
The colt was purchased for $90,000 by Alli-Kat Enterprises at the 2001 Keeneland September yearling sale. Produced from the graded stakes-placed Mount Hagen mare Chattahoochee, he is a half-brother to stakes winner and stakes producer Chatta Code (by Lost Code).
In 2001, Hartley and De Renzo sold the Dehere colt Warners to Melnyk for $1,050,000. Warners is the most expensive juvenile ever sold at an OBS auction, and his price also was the highest for a 2-year-old sold at public auction in 2001. In 2000, Hartley and De Renzo sold the D'wildcat, a son of Forest Wildcat, to Hess (who was representing Shimmon) for $600,000.