A son of Dehere bought last fall for $50,000 was purchased Wednesday by Eugene and Laura Melnyk for $1,050,000 to top the Ocala Breeders' Sales Company's March 2-year-olds in training sale in Ocala, Fla. The price not only represented a healthy return on the price paid by consignor Hartley-DeRenzo Thoroughbreds at last year's Keeneland September yearling sale, but it was a record paid for any 2-year-old sold by OBSC. The colt was sold as a ridgling, having had an undescended testicle removed after Hartley/DeRenzo purchased him.
Trainer Todd Pletcher, who represented the Melnyks, noted that they had previous success with another son of Dehere, stakes winner Graeme Hall. "We like the pedigree and we liked everything else about him," Pletcher said. "He's an exceptional looking individual. He had a great, laid-back attitude and yet he performed very well on the track."
The immediate underbidders were California owners Bob and Beverly Lewis, who were represented by, and in telephone contact with, John Moynihan and J. B. McKathan.
Wednesday's closing session proceeded without any unusual incidents, in stark comparison to what occurred during Tuesday's opening session when a man claiming to represent President George W. Bush tried to buy the session-topping horse. At the request of OBS officials, the Ocala Police Department issued a trespass warning, and a patrolman escorted the man to his car and ordered him to leave the sale grounds.
"One thing about it, it makes a good story," said Mark Casse, who consigned the horse involved in the incident--an Alphabet Soup colt--to the auction.
Bidding on the colt stopped at $260,000. The sale ticket was signed by a man who said he was Roger Julien Barbe, a bloodstock agent from Martinique. He wrote on the ticket that his client was "President Georges Bush Jr." He also put the address of the White House on the ticket.
Perched atop a wood partition in the back of the sale pavilion, the man wore an outfit that included a silky red scarf and a red jacket with "Breeders' Cup" embroidered on it. He first told reporters that he bought the colt for Bush. Then he said the purchase was for the "president of France." Finally, he claimed the colt was for the "mayor of Lyon" in France.
OBS director of sales Tom Ventura interrupted the interview and asked the man to come to the OBS office, where he was questioned by sale company officials behind closed doors. The man, according to Ventura, had not established credit with OBS prior to bidding.
Ventura said OBS had not asked the police to issue a trespass warrant in three or four years. Such an action, he said is "very unusual." The warrant prevents the man from returning to the sale grounds until it is rescinded, according to OBS president Tom Chiota.
"This one takes the cake," Chiota said.
Casse and Mangurian had the option of putting the colt back through the auction ring, according to Ventura, but they decided to sell the son of Alphabet Soup to the immediate underbidder, Richard Cross of Narvick International, for $250,000. Cross said he purchased the colt for Machikane Farm in Japan.
Produced from the winning Geiger Counter mare Play Date, the colt was bought by Casse for $62,000 at the 2000 Keeneland September yearling sale. The colt was owned by Casse and Harry T. Mangurian Jr.'s Century Ventures pinhooking partnership. The son of Alphabet Soup turned in the co-fastest workout time for a quarter-mile during the March 11 under tack show, covering the distance in :21 4/5.
In all on Tuesday, 108 juveniles sold for a gross of $6,876,500, an
average of $63,671, and a median of $54,000. Compared to last year's first session figures, the gross and average were down by 21.6% and 6.4%, respectively. The median rose by 8.0%. In 2000, the 129 horses sold in the first session grossed $8,771,000 and averaged $67,992. The median was $50,000.
"There was not really a lot of significant swing one way or another,"
said Ventura of this year's average and median. "We sold less horses, but we catalogued less horses. The sale kind of seemed to hold its own."
The buy-back rate for the session topped 30%.
The second and final session of the sale was scheduled to start at 11 a.m (EST) on Wednesday.Sale Results, catalog, other information