Yankee Million got the Ocala Breeders' Sales Co.'s March select juvenile auction off to a record-setting start Tuesday. Her $575,000 price made her the most expensive 2-year-old filly ever sold by the Florida-based auction firm. Narvick International's Emmanuel de Seroux bought the racy-looking daughter of Yankee Victor
for Kendall-Jackson winery founder Jess Jackson. Their rivals in the bidding battle included Nadia Sanan of Padua Stables.
"She's a beauty," said Jackson of his purchase.
A member of her sire's first crop, Yankee Million is out of the stakes-placed Bet Twice mare Betamillion Bock. Other members of the family include grade III winner and stakes producer Noranc (by Northern Prospect).
"She's a perfectly made filly," said California trainer Bruce Headley, who was with Jackson and de Seroux at the auction. "She's a real fluid mover with a lot of size and long legs. She has the look of a champion."
Prior to the auction, Yankee Million worked an eighth of a mile in :10 3/5 and a quarter in :21 2/5.
Florida pinhooker Niall Brennan was the filly's consigner. He purchased her in the name of C & K Stable for only $32,000 at last year's Keeneland September yearling sale. Brennan owned her in partnership with his brother, Ian, and Vance Fillingame. Ian is an assistant to his brother and runs the sale operation. Fillingame is also an assistant to Niall Brennan and manages the pinhooker's farm.
The previous OBS record for a juvenile filly was held by Trackofthecat (Forest Wildcat--Epistolary), who sold for $550,000 at the company's 2000 February select sale of 2-year-olds in training at Calder Race Course.
Tuesday's highest-priced colt, at $450,000, was Pete's Chief, a son of first-crop sire Chief Seattle
. Produced from the unraced Ruthie's Native mare Helen's Pick, Pete's Chief is a half-brother to Peruvian group III winner Blue Marlin (by Strawberry Road). J.B. and Kevin MacKathan bought the colt for James McIngvale of Texas. Pete's Chief worked a quarter mile in :21 4/5 on March 6, sharing the honors with a Gilded Time
-- Halcyon Bird colt for the fastest work at that distance.
"He's our kind of horse," J.B. McKathan said. "He's a big, lanky, long-necked, long-bodied, fast horse. I loved the way he moved on the track. He worked :21 ¼ on what was a brutal day. The wind was blowing 20 miles an hour into his head when he did it. It was a really big move."
In all, 127 horses were sold for a gross of $11,028,000, an average price of $86,835, and a median price of $60,000. Compared to a year ago, the number sold fell 7.3%, but the gross rose 14.5%. The average and median increased 23.5% and 20.0%, respectively. The buy-back rate fell from 34.4% last year to 32.1% this year.
"It's not just strong at the top; it's solid all the way through," said Tom Ventura, the OBS general manager and director of sales.
Said consignor Carl Bowling of Straightaway Farm: "It's like it was down there (in South Florida); if you've got what the buyers want, they've got the money. I think it's the best sale we've had here in three years. I've gotten a fair profit for the horses that I've sold."
The sale's second and final session is scheduled for Wednesday, beginning at 11 a.m. (EST).