The Ocala Breeders’ Sales Co. spring sale of 2-year-olds in training, which is the largest auction of the juvenile selling season, opens April 20 in Central Florida. There are 1,389 horses cataloged for the sale’s four-day run.
In 2008, the OBS spring auction generated statistics that didn't change much from the previous year’s figures, even though the nation’s economy was in a recession. The 771 horses that sold grossed $22,571,000, which represented a decline of less than 1%. The average price of $29,275 was up 1.4%, and the median price rose 5.9% to $18,000. The buy-back rate of 28.1% was about the same as it was in 2008.
Similar results in 2009 would represent a major victory, but since last April, the recession has deteriorated into the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression while spreading around the world. The results for this year’s five major select juvenile auctions combined, which were conducted by OBS, Fasig-Tipton, and Barretts, all dropped significantly. The gross fell 37.1% while the average declined 24.8%. The median was down 16.7%.
The OBS spring sale is an open auction, which means many of its horses will sell for mid- and lower-level prices. The people who buy that kind of stock tend to be affected worse by an economic downturn than the wealthy shoppers who seek select horses.
The results of the recent Fasig-Tipton Texas juvenile sale, which had 2-year-olds much like those that will be offered at the OBS spring auction, provided a glimmer of hope. The average price of $17,201 was down less than 1% from 2008’s comparable figure, and the buy-back rate declined. But the Texas sale was helped by the lucrative state-bred program in nearby Louisiana and a big-spending new Dubai-based buyer, trainer Dityan Selvaratnam, who paid $701,000 for 15 2-year-olds.
Each session of the OBS spring auction will start at 10:30 a.m. (EDT).