Buyers of 2-year-olds in training continued to demonstrate an appetite for race-ready youngsters during the opening session of Ocala Breeders' Sales Co.'s June sale of 2-year-olds in training and horses of racing age in Ocala, Fla. June 18.
The sale's first session showed gains in all key economic indicators. A total of 220 head sold for gross sales of $6,695,500 compared to 221 head sold during last year's opening session for a gross amount of $5,087,800.
The $30,434 average was 32.2% over the 2012 first session average of $23,022. The median price was $20,000, a gain of 33.3% compared with $15,000 last year. A total of 73 horses were listed as not sold, representing a 25.4% buyback rate; it was 17.5% a year ago. For the session, 43 horses sold for $50,000 or more compared with 24 at the corresponding session in 2012.
"It appears the momentum in the market is continuing," said OBS director of sales Tod Wojciechowski. "It was a good day. The numbers were moving in the right direction. We would have liked for the buy-backs to have been closer to last year's number, but we're looking forward to another good day tomorrow."
Hip No. 266, a Florida-bred colt named Cheers of Thunder, topped the opening session on a final bid of $275,000 from Jerry McClenin, agent for Paul Pompa Jr. Consigned by Blue River Bloodstock, the colt should be familiar with the auction ring at OBS. The son of Circular Quay—Trail of Cheers, by Indian Charlie sold to K.K. Eishindo for $300,000 at the OBS spring sale of 2-year-olds in training, but was ultimately returned to the consignor.
"We were one of the underbidders last time," said McClenin. "We knew he was turned back with a vet issue, but our vet loved him. The horse is doing really good. We liked the breeze. It looks like the work didn't take anything out of him. We went a little higher than expected, but he looks like a ready-made horse. He'll go to Saratoga."
McClenin didn't indicate who will train the colt, but said Bill Mott, Chad Brown, and Dale Romans are currently training runners for Pompa.
Sergio Centeno of Blue River Bloodstock was pleased with the sale of the colt the second time around.
"He's a nice horse," Centeno said of the colt who worked three furlongs in :33 1/5 at the under tack preview.
"He's been working like a champion. I hope he wins a stakes race for his new connections. The last buyer had an issue with the horse so I took him back. I was a little nervous, but it was a good sale. Good horses bring good prices."
Bred by Quarter Pole Enterprises, Cheers of Thunder was purchased by Dewey Price and Blue River Bloodstock for $12,000 as a yearling at OBS last August out of the TdM Sales consignment.
Hip No. 180, a colt by Smart Strike consigned by All In Line Stables, agent, brought the second-highest price of the session, selling for $200,000 to Steve Young, agent, for Dogwood Stable. The bay colt, who is out of the Giant's Causeway mare Silk Road and from the family of millionaire Summer Colony, worked an eighth of a mile in :10 3/5 at the under tack preview. Todd Pletcher will train the colt for Dogwood Stable.
"He's a super nice horse, possibly the best bred horse in the sale," said Young. "He trains great and has great mechanics. This is the first horse I have bought for Cot (Campbell) and Dogwood Stable. It is a pleasure to buy horses for such a class outfit."
Bluegrass Thoroughbred Services paid $130,000 for the Virginia-bred colt at the 2011 Keeneland November mixed sale from Lane's End, agent for the Dispersal of the Estate of Edward P. Evans.
Hip No. 336, a filly by Dixie Union consigned by Niall Brennan Stables, agent, topped all fillies in the first session, attracting a final bid of $150,000 from Gary Young, agent. Bred in Kentucky by Equine Equity Partners, the filly is produced from the Tale of the Cat mare African Sunrise. She breezed a quarter of a mile in :21 2/5 at the under tack preview, and was a $70,000 RNA in the Hartwell Farm consignment at last year's Keeneland September yearling sale.
Wavertree Stables led all consignors in the first session, selling 13 head for $584,500. A contingent of South Korean horsemen, purchasing under the banner of SROA (KOID), led all buyers at the session, spending $306,000 for 14 juveniles.
The final session of the sale gets underway June 19 at 10:30 a.m. The sale will be streamed live at bloodhorse.com/obs.