ever, a $900,000 son of Irish River. But the market was down in several key
areas from a year ago at the select sale of 2-year-olds in training at Calder
Race Course on Tuesday (Feb. 6).The number sold, gross revenue, and average price experienced
moderate downturns, declining by 4.2%, 9.5%, and 5.5%, respectively. In
addition, the median plunged by 21.1%. Nevertheless, Tom Ventura, the
OBS director of sales, was encouraged by the results. Besides the record-
priced colt, he cited the decline in the buy-back rate -- from 37.4% last year
to 28.0% this year -- as a positive sign."Overall, I thought it was a very good sale," Ventura said.
"Obviously, I was extremely pleased with the record horse, which sold for
50% higher than the previous 2-year-old record (the $600,000 brought by
D'wildcat at last year's OBS March sale). I also think the fact that more
horses got sold on a percentage basis is important. That's a positive sign."With the economy being a little bit of a question mark" he continued,
"you don't know how it's going to impact the horse business. I don't think it
affected this sale at all. The average wasn't down enough to be concerned.
Going in with the horses that we had, with a little lower pinhooking price,
that wasn't unexpected."The 136 horses sold grossed $14,124,000 and averaged $103,853. The
median was $75,000. In 2000, the 142 horses sold brought a gross of
$15,599,000, an average of $109,852, and a median of $95,000. The average
and median that year were all-time highs for the Calder auction.The 2001 edition of the sale started off slowly. Auctioneer Ryan
Mahan had to push hard for bids, often using phrases like "he's worth more"
and "there's a lot of value left in this filly" in an effort to pump up
enthusiasm.But as the sale approached the midway point, the momentum picked
up significantly. When Hip No. 88 stepped into the ring, buyers didn't
hesitate to make big offers for the racy looking Irish River colt. The bidding
opened at $200,000 and climbed quickly. New Jersey bloodstock agent Buzz
Chace, who was representing television syndication mogul Roger King,
outlasted Richard Mulhall of The Thoroughbred Corp."I thought he was the best horse in the sale," said Chace, who talked
to King on a cell phone during the bidding. "He moved so gracefully on the
track, and he had a great demeanor and presence back at the barn."Said Mulhall: "That's a lot of money for an Irish River. What will he
bring if he is ever syndicated as a stallion? I have to think about those kinds
of things."The colt was produced from the winning Forty Niner mare Exposed.
His third dam, the graded winner Tuerta, produced champion and two-time
classic winner Swale.Mark Casse consigned the record-setting colt on the behalf of the
Century Ventures pinhooking partnership that he and Harry T. Mangurian Jr.
operate. In the name of Century Ventures, Casse purchased the son of Irish
River for $60,000 at the 2000 Keeneland September yearling sale.The second-highest price of the auction, $400,000, was brought by a
muscle-bound daughter of Marquetry out of the stakes-winning Clever Trick
mare Lip Sing. Consigned by Carl Bowling's Straightaway Farm, as agent,
the chestnut filly was purchased by Chester Broman of New York. He was
accompanied by trainer John Kimmel.