By Michael Compton
The confidence expressed by auction officials and consignors heading into the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Co.’s March select sale of 2-year-olds in training in Ocala, Fla., translated to an opening session March 12 that featured brisk bidding and, at the end of the day, across-the-board increases in all key economic indicators.
All told, 97 horses sold during the first of two sessions for a gross of $13,544,000 compared to 94 head changing hands during the corresponding session last year for $12,019,500. The average was $139,629, up 9.2% from last year’s first day average of $127,867. The median price came in at $120,000, an increase of 23.1% compared to $97,500 a year ago. The buy-back rate was 20.2% as 25 head were listed as “not sold”; it was 24.2% a year ago.
A total of 61 horses sold for $100,000 or more compared to 47 through the first session last year. Fifty juveniles were listed as “outs” at the session.
“We’re excited with the results of the opening session,” said Tod Wojciechowski, OBS director of sales. “Gross was up, average and median showed increases, and buy-backs were down. We have been cautiously optimistic since the breeze show. We had excellent traffic in the barn area all weekend and we were hopeful that everything would translate to a strong sale. There are still a lot of good horses to be sold, so we’re looking for a strong finish tomorrow.”
Topping the opening session at $480,000 was Hip No. 143, a Flatter colt out of the Well Decorated mare Well, consigned by Niall Brennan Stables, agent. Bloodstock agent David Ingordo signed the ticket for the half brother to graded stakes winner Well Spelled, by Spellbinder. The gray/roan colt, bred in Kentucky by Joanne Mummert, sold to Sitak Stable for $60,000 at last year’s Fasig-Tipton October sale from Susan M. Forrester’s consignment. He worked an eighth of a mile in :10 1/5 during last week’s under tack preview.
“The colt has so much poise and presence,” said Brennan moments after the hammer fell. “He has the presence of a good horse. All the parts fit. He performed beautifully at the under tack show and he did it without pressure. He is impressive on the track and in the barn. I wish the owners all the best with him. I expect he will be on our stakes board next year.”
The second-highest-priced juvenile was Hip No. 120, a Malibu Moon colt out of the multiple stakes-winning A. P. Jet mare Travelator, who went to Polo Green Stable, agent, for $370,000. Consigned by Woodford Thoroughbreds, agent, the colt worked an eighth in :10 2/5 at the under tack preview and he is headed to Japan for an undisclosed owner.
“He is a very balanced individual,” trainer Mizuki Takayanagi said through an interpreter. “He looks to have a lot of power. We’re excited about him.”
The colt was bred in Kentucky by CloverLeaf Farm II, who acquired the dam, Travelator, for $400,000 at the 2005 Fasig-Tipton November sale from the consignment of Kelli Mitchell. Travelator was a multiple stakes winner of $647,672 during her racing career. The colt failed to meet his reserve during the second session of last year’s Keeneland September sale and was bought back for $190,000.
“We’ve always liked this colt,” said Matt Lyons, general manager of Woodford Thoroughbreds. “With this being the first 2-year-old sale for Woodford Thoroughbreds, we’re very pleased to get off to a good start. We didn’t get what we wanted for him at Keeneland September, so we held on to him.”
The top-priced filly of the day was Hip No. 148, a daughter of first-year sire Pioneerof the Nile who sold to Stonestreet Stables for $350,000. Consigned by Sequel Bloodstock (Becky Thomas), agent, the filly worked a co-bullet eighth in :09 4/5 at the preview. She was purchased by Thomas for $52,000 out of the Taylor Made Sales Agency consignment at last year’s Keeneland September Sale. Bred in Kentucky by Super Fine Farm, the filly is out of the stakes-winning Forest Wildcat mare Wild Catseye.
Trainer Peter Miller, agent, signed the $340,000 ticket on behalf of Pelican for Hip No. 98, a New York-bred High Cotton filly. Consigned by SGV Thoroughbreds (Steven Venosa), agent, the filly breezed an eighth in :10 1/5 at the preview. She is a half sister to graded stakes winner Den's Legacy (by Medaglia d'Oro ), winner of the Generous Stakes (gr. IIIT). The filly was bred by Stephanie Brennan, Marette Farrel, and Gaye Swartz.
Hip No. 132, a Speightstown colt, went to John McCormack Bloodstock for $330,000. Consigned by Wavertree Stables (Ciaran Dunne), agent, the colt worked an eighth in :10 at the under tack preview. Bred in Virginia by the late Edward P. Evans, the dark bay or brown colt was bought by Westrock Stables for $120,000 out of the Evans’ dispersal at last year’s Keeneland September sale.
Barry and Shari Eisaman’s Eisaman Equine led all consignors on the day, selling 11 for $1,465,000. Niall Brennan was next with 10 head sold for $1,425,000.
“The market is strong for a good horse,” said Barry Eisaman. “There are plenty of buyers in attendance. We have had extremely busy days showing horses. We have 14 more to sell and are anxiously awaiting the next session.”
L E B topped all buyers during the opening session, spending $830,000 for three juveniles. Barry Berkelhammer, agent, bought four for $755,000.
The sale continues March 13 (Hips 173-345) beginning at 11 a.m. The sale can be viewed live at www.bloodhorse.com/obs