A colt by North America's leading first crop sire, Valid Expectations, brought the top price of $305,000 Monday during the select session of the Ocala Breeders' Sales Company's August yearling sale. Consigned by Kelli Mitchell for his breeders, Leland and Robert Ackerley, the colt was purchased by Satish and Anne Sanan's Padua Stables. The Sanans' daughter, Nadia, signed the ticket.
"He went for a little more than what we thought he would go for," Nadia Sanan said. "He's a very, very good-looking colt, a nice, big scopy colt."
Produced from the winning Timeless Native mare Dame's Rocket, the session topper is a half-brother to two stakes-placed runners, Valid Rocket and Rocky Appeal (both by Valid Expectations' sire, Valid Appeal). The session topper's 2-year-old half-brother, Rocket Wager, recently broke his maiden at Saratoga. Rocket Wager was sired by Valid Wager, who is by Valid Appeal.
New Jersey bloodstock agent Buzz Chace, representing William Lickle, was the immediate underbidder on the $305,000 colt.
The session's high-priced filly was a $230,000 daughter of Hennessy out of the graded stakes-placed Spanish Drums mare Spanish Dior. Consigned by Summerfield, as agent for her breeder, Hobeau Farm general manager Craig Wheeler, the filly was purchased over the telephone by Don Amos, the executive vice president and chief operating officer of Magna Entertainment.
Amos said he bought the filly for himself, not for his boss Frank Stronach.
In all, 131 yearlings were sold during select session. They grossed $5,774,000 and averaged $44,076. The gross and average were up by 15.3% and 5.6%, respectively, from last year when the 120 horses sold grossed $5,009,500 and averaged $41,746.
For the first time since 1990, the select session was not immediately followed by the annual consignment of yearlings from Mr. and Mrs. Harry T. Mangurian Jr.'s Mockingbird Farm. Last year, the 74 Mockingbird yearlings sold grossed $3,202,500 and averaged $43,277. Mockingbird is no longer in the commercial breeding business after dispersing its horses.
This year's buy-back rate was 34.2%, with 68 of the 199 yearlings offered failing to find new homes. Last year's rate was 31.8%.
Padua was the select session's leading buyer in terms of gross expenditures, paying $642,000 for five yearlings. Based on OBS records, this was the first time that Padua had ever bought horses at one of the company's auctions.
The OBS August yearling sale continues through Friday.