OBS Mixed Sale Suffers Major Losses
Photo: Joe DiOrio
Hip 328; weanling filly, Exchange Rate - Passionate Bird, by Birdonthewire, was highest-priced horse of the Ocala Breeders' Sales Co.'s fall mixed auction, selling for $105,000 on the opening day.

The results were grim for the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Co.’s fall mixed auction, which ended its three-day run in Central Florida Oct. 8. The buy-back/no bid rate rose significantly while the other key business figures suffered huge setbacks during a week when the American stock market is plunging and economic turmoil is increasing worldwide.

“We didn’t have high expectations going in based on what was happening at the other horse sales,” said Tom Ventura, the OBS general manager and director of sales. “The financial picture also was worsening as time went on, and the wild fluctuations on Wall Street caused concern going in. We felt that we would be impacted by that, and we certainly did feel the pain, that’s for sure.”

The 384 horses sold grossed $3,457,800 and averaged $9,005 during the one consignor-preferred and two open sessions. The median price was $4,500. Compared to 2007, the number sold dropped 42.6% from 669 while the gross plummeted 64.9% from $9,841,600. The average fell 38.8% from $14,711, and the median declined 40% from $7,500.

The buyback/no bid rate increased from 40.5% last year to $46.4% this year.

(The above figures do not include a share in the stallion City Place, which sold for $8,000 in 2008).

For complete results from this sale, including Hip-by-Hips and cumulative sale results, click here.

“The spots where things were bright were much fewer, but I do think there were some bright spots,” Ventura said. “The quality, physical weanlings that were by stallions which have commercial appeal were still in demand. That type of horse did just fine, and actually there were some comments that those horses were still hard to buy, but it was a very narrow group. I think the buyers, if they are going to pay top dollar -- especially for weanlings – they’re demanding those horses to be just what they want.

"The only other way to look at the sale from the positive side is that some of the younger mares, with some pedigree behind them, did OK. The buyers were able to take advantage of the situation and get them at a price lower than what they would have had to pay in years past. The people with the long-term view who were trying to buy quality bloodlines benefited.”

The results for the sale’s final session were 126 horses sold for a gross of $654,100 and an average of $5,191. The median was $3,000, and the buy-back/no bid rate was 47.3%.

New Real Deal, a group I winner in Argentina, topped the auction’s third day, bringing $55,000 from Vicente Portaro, agent. Consigned by Charlotte Weber’s Live Oak Stud, agent, the 10-year-old daughter of Roy is in foal to High Fly. New Real Deal is out of the winning Dixieland Bandmare Newhall Road.

Elora, an 8-year-old winning daughter of Souvenir Copy, was the second-highest-priced horse sold Oct. 8. Woodland Farm purchased the mare, which is in foal to Put It Back, from Beth Bayer, agent, for $52,000. Elora is out of the winning Miswaki mare Miss Waki Club, who is a half-sister to grade III winner Dr. Bobby A. and three other added-money winners, including Worldly Possession, the dam of grade I winner Collect the Cash.

“The horse sales in general have been pretty resilient through some of the ups and downs of the financial markets over the last couple of years,” Ventura said. “This is a lot to swallow over the last month or so. Psychologically, it (the global financial meltdown) has got to affect everybody, not just people at the horse sales. There are probably some people who might be interested in buying horses, but maybe now they’re just sitting on the sidelines waiting to see what direction we’re going to go, how fast we can bounce back from it, and where the bottom is. The outs for the sale were up higher than normal, partly because of those same concerns.”

The highest-priced horse of the entire auction was an Exchange Rate  – Passionate Bird weanling filly that sold for $105,000 on the opening day. Twin Peeks Racing purchased her from Horses of Course.

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