Awesome Action, a colt by Awesome Again, brought the top price of $80,000 during the inaugural Adena Springs sale of 2-year-olds in training Thursday afternoon. The auction was a festive affair, conducted at the Florida division of Frank Stronach's Thoroughbred operation. The auction took place under a huge white tent, where the buyers ate barbecue and sat on bales of straw. A country western band entertained before the bidding began.
Forty horses sold in all, grossing $945,500 and averaging $23,638. The median was $20,000. Fifty-eight of the 68 horses offered had minimum bid requirements that ranged from $10,000 to $95,000. Twenty-eight (48%) of the 58 failed to sell. When the horses that had no minimum bid were included, the buy-back rate dropped to 41%.
The Adena horses galloped, but did not breeze, before they went through the ring.
"I was very pleased," said Mark Roberts, the manager of Adena Springs South. "It looks like the buy-back rate is just about like any 2-year-old sale has been in the country so far this year. There were some real pleasant surprises, but a few disappointments. I thought there were an awful lot of legitimate buyers here who were serious about buying horses. I expect that we'll continue the sale and that we'll finetune it. We might piddle around with the reserve process somehow to help the bidding get into a little bit better flow."
The sale-topping Awesome Again colt was produced from the winning Known Fact mare Opinionated Lady, who is a half-sister to Jersey Derby (gr. II) winner Zuno Star and another added-money winner, Pastourelles. Sue Leslie, bidding by telephone, purchased the colt. She also bought Awesome Punch, an Awesome Again -- Joustabout filly, for $30,000. Officials of the Ocala Breeders' Sales Company, which conducted the auction for Stronach, said Leslie was in Canada.
Pinhookers Tony Bowling and Bobby Dodd bought four horses, which they plan to resell at auction later this year or at the racetrack.
"All I'm doing is bargain hunting," Bowling said. "I'm taking advantage of them not breezing them and them not being any further along. The food was great. The band was great. The whole thing was first class."
Juvenal Diaz, another pinhooker, also was active, paying $40,000 for a Wild Rush -- Astas Foxy Lady filly named Don'trushthelady. He said he would like to resell her during the OBS June juvenile auction.
Francis McDonnell, owner of Cimarron Farm near Ocala, purchased an Alphabet Soup -- Dial a Song colt named Ringing Rock for $75,000 and a Lucky Lionel -- Tomoza colt for $50,000.
"I like it," said McDonnell of the minimum bid policy for most of the horses. "It lets you know where you stand."
Said Diaz: "If you always tell the truth about what's going on, it makes it easy for both the buyer and the seller. I believe this is as good as it can be. You know the guy and what he thinks the horse is worth. And if you don't think so, you don't have to bid on it. It's very simple."