Deirdre B. Biles

El Prado Colt Sells for $450,000 at OBS

El Prado Colt Sells for $450,000 at OBS

Saying he had found the equine equivalent of Cleveland Cavaliers basketball star LeBron James, trainer Eddie Plesa paid $450,000 for an El Prado colt March 18 during the second and final session of the Ocala Breeders' Sales Co. March select sale of 2-year-olds in training in Central Florida. As of early afternoon, the price was the highest of the auction, topping the $425,000 Indian Charlieâ€"Hollywood and Wine filly that sold March 17

Mulligan Conscious; Talks to Wife

Leprechaun Racing's Mike Mulligan, who suffered a fractured skull in a fall following the March 3 Fasig-Tipton Florida March select sale of 2-year-olds in training, is fully conscious and spoke to his wife on the phone March 18 during the second and final session of the Ocala Breeders' Sales Co. March select sale of 2-year-olds in training.

Consignors Pitch In to Help Mulligans

Consignors Pitch In to Help Mulligans

As Leprechaun Racing's Mike Mulligan recuperated from a fractured skull in a South Florida hospital, his friends and associates in the Thoroughbred business reached out to offer support. Participants in the Ocala Breeders' Sales Co. March select sale of 2-year-olds in training wore green rubber bracelets decorated with shamrocks and pitched in to help Mulligan's wife, Britt, at the Leprechaun consignment. They also held a prayer service prior to the March 17 opening session of the auction.

Average Falls 32.6% at OBS

Average Falls 32.6% at OBS

Still reeling from the effects of the worldwide financial crisis, buyers approached the Ocala Breeders' Sales Co. March select sale of 2-year-olds in training cautiously, and their reluctance to spend the really big bucks was a major factor in the opening session's setbacks. Compared to a year ago, when the auction enjoyed a record-setting run, the gross revenue dropped 29.6% while the average price fell 32.6%,and the median price declined 22.2% March 17 in Central Florida.

Frankly Speaking: Stronach on Magna

Frankly Speaking: Stronach on Magna

Frank Stronach is chairman of Magna Entertainment Corp., a major racetrack operator that filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection March 5. He also is the owner of Adena Springs, which won its fifth consecutive Eclipse Award as outstanding breeder in 2008 while Stronach picked up his fourth Eclipse as outstanding owner. Stronach discussed the MEC bankruptcy with The Blood-Horse following the Adena Springs sale of 2-year-olds in training.

Adena Springs Sale Median Rises 28.6%

Adena Springs Sale Median Rises 28.6%

The Adena Springs sale of 2-year-olds in training bucked the downward trend in the Thoroughbred marketplace in one important statistical category. The median price rose 28.6% from a year ago during the eighth edition of the auction, which was held March 16 at Adena Springs South near Williston, Fla.

Adena Springs Sale Full of Quality

The catalog for the Adena Springs sale of 2-year-olds in training is smaller this year when compared to 2008. But the auction is "full of quality," according to Mark Roberts, the manager of Adena Springs South in Williston, Fla., where the sale will be held March 16, beginning at 4:30 p.m. (EDT).

Inglis Sale Clearance Rate Is 91%

The William Inglis & Son Melbourne March mixed sale ended at Oaklands in Australia March 13 with a clearance rate of 91%. The 329 horses that sold grossed Aust$1,369,600 (approximately $887,487 in U.S. funds). The average price was Aust$4,163 ($2,698), and the median price was Aust$2,200 ($1,426).

Pinhookers Will Be More Cautious

Pinhookers Will Be More Cautious

With prices tumbling at the early select sales of 2-year-olds in training, pinhookers, who provide most of the stock for the auctions, already are thinking about how they are going to approach their next buying-and-selling cycle. It's not good news for yearling consignors because, in general, pinhookers plan to be much less aggressive when buying young horses later this year.

Gross Up at MM Adelaide Sale

The Magic Millions Adelaide yearling sale ended its three-session run March 12 in Australia with a gross of Aust$5,291,250 (approximately $3,422,433 in U.S. funds) that was up from last year's total of Aust$5,258,000. The clearance rose from 76% compared to 72% in 2008.

Mulligan Update: Stable and Progressing

Mulligan Update: Stable and Progressing

Mike Mulligan, a leading consignor at sales of 2-year-olds in training, was in stable condition, with a head injury, at Memorial Regional Hospital in Hollywood, Fla., March 9. Fasig-Tipton director of marketing Terence Collier reported March 10 that "they (doctors) are changing his medication levels today to raise him to the next level (of consciousness). All vital signs continue to be progressing."

F-T Chatter: The Market at Calder

F-T Chatter: The Market at Calder

The Fasig-Tipton Florida select sale of 2-year-olds in training, held March 3 at Calder Race Course, suffered downturns of 25.5% in gross revenue, 31.5% in average price, and 34.8% in median price. The number of horses sold rose 8.8% while the buy-back rate dropped to 35.5% from 40.4% a year ago. Read what people at the auction had to say about the market:

Buybacks Down at F-T Sale; Average Drops

Buybacks Down at F-T Sale; Average Drops

Tackling the biggest financial crisis since the Great Depression, Fasig-Tipton's Florida select sale of 2-year-olds in training suffered some bumps and bruises, but also scored a couple of minor victories. The number of horses sold rose from a year ago while the buy-back rate declined. Meanwhile, the gross revenue fell 25.5% and the average price dropped 31.5%. The median price was down 34.8%.

Unbridled's Song Colt Brings $1.1M

Unbridled's Song Colt Brings $1.1M

A strapping Unbridled's Song colt named Cornerstone broke through the seven-figure price barrier a little more than two hours into the Fasig-Tipton Florida select sale of 2-year-olds in training March 3 at Calder Race Course. Sheikh Mohammed's bloodstock manager John Ferguson paid $1.1 million for the gray or roan juvenile.

Fasig-Tipton to Report Private Sales

Fasig-Tipton will report private sales in addition to horses sold in the auction ring during its Florida select sale of 2-year-olds in training March 3 at Calder Race Course. The juveniles sold privately will be designated on the sale summary sheet as (PS), which stands for private sale. The private sales will be included in the auction's final statistics.

Fasig-Tipton: Puttin' on the Ritz

Fasig-Tipton: Puttin' on the Ritz

When Dubai-based Synergy Investments purchased Fasig-Tipton last year, Sheikh Mohammed's bloodstock manager, John Ferguson, vowed the Kentucky-based auction firm would strive to offer higher levels of customer service. According to shoppers at Fasig-Tipton's Florida select sale of 2-year-olds in training, the company is fulfilling that promise.

Times Are Tough for Pinhookers

If the recent Ocala Breeders' Sales Co. (OBS) February select sale of 2-year-olds in training was any indication, it's going to be a tough year for yearling-to-juvenile pinhookers. The rate of return (ROR) on their investment, 30.7%, ranked among their worst ever based on figures that date back to 1990. It was the weakest since the ROR dropped to its lowest point during the 20-year period of 17.1% in 1993.

OBS Reports Five Riding Crop Violations

The set of uniform policies developed by four major auction firms Barretts, Fasig-Tipton, Keeneland, and the Ocala Breeders' Sales Co. took effect beginning with the OBS February select sale of 2-year-olds in training Feb. 17 in Central Florida. The policies address medication, prohibited practices, riding crops, and horseshoes. "As the first sale under these new guidelines, I thought it went tremendously well," said Tom Ventura, the OBS general manager and director of sales.

OBS February Sale Gross Falls 29.3%

OBS February Sale Gross Falls 29.3%

The selling season for select 2-year-olds in training staggered out of the starting gate in Central Florida Feb. 17. The year's first major juvenile auction, the Ocala Breeders' Sales Co. February sale, suffered sobering setbacks of 29.3% in gross revenue, 33.7% in average price, and 28% in median price from a year ago. Another discouraging result was the buy-back rate, which soared from 28.2% in 2008 to 38.3%.

Chace at OBS: It's Time to Buy

Prices were down significantly at the first major auction of the selling season for 2-year-olds in training Feb. 17 in Central Florida. Read what one buyer and several consignors had to say about the market at the Ocala Breeders' Sales Co. February auction.

OBS 2YO Sellers Hoping for Better Market

After generating a grim series of results for breeding stock and weanlings, the Thoroughbred marketplace switches its focus to racing prospects beginning with the Ocala Breeders' Sales Co. February select sale of 2-year-olds in training in Central Florida. Auction firm officials and consignors are hoping buyers will be more enthusiastic about acquiring young horses nearly ready for competition even though the global economy continues to struggle.

Downward Trends Continue at F-T Sale

Downward Trends Continue at F-T Sale

Prices tumbled at the the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky winter mixed sale Feb. 9 in Lexington, following the downward trends that have been seen at other recent auctions. The average price dropped 42.8% while the median price fell 28.6%. A much smaller sale catalog than in 2008 contributed to the 62.9% decline in the gross revenue.

Bushnell's 'Berner' Best of Breed

Fara Bushnell, a longtime equine insurance agent in Lexington and a familiar face at many Thoroughbred auctions, is the co-owner of a Bernese Mountain Dog that won Best of Breed at the Westminster Kennel Club dog show in New York Feb. 10.

F-T Faces Tough Market With Mixed Sale

F-T Faces Tough Market With Mixed Sale

The 2008 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky winter mixed auction posted an 18.9% gain in average price. The gross revenue rose 1.9% while the median price remained the same as in 2007. But this year's edition of the sale, scheduled for Feb. 9 in Lexington, isn't expected to perform as strongly.

Inside Track: Special Collection

Inside Track: Special Collection

Even though Ted Watkins is only a casual fan of Thoroughbred racing, he might know more about the breed's early history than some of the sport's most enthusiastic admirers. He owns a copy of the first edition of An Introduction to a General Stud-Book, which was printed in England in 1791.

Arazi's Breeder in Pro Football HOF

Longtime Buffalo Bills owner Ralph C. Wilson Jr., who formerly was prominent in Thoroughbred breeding and racing, has been elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. At age 90, Wilson will be the oldest person ever inducted when ceremonies are held Aug. 8 in Canton, Ohio.

Eclipse 3-Year-Old Filly: Proud Spell

Eclipse 3-Year-Old Filly: Proud Spell

Don't tell Proud Spell's owner and breeder, Brereton C. Jones, that his bay filly isn't tough. Even though the daughter of Proud Citizen lacks size, Jones has seen plenty of evidence that she's one of the grittiest runners on the track today.

Legends Racing Ready to Roll in 2009

Legends Racing Ready to Roll in 2009

Legends Racing, which was 2008's biggest-spending new shopper at Thoroughbred yearling sales, is preparing for its inaugural season at the racetrack. According to Olin Gentry, one of the venture's founders, the stable's 39 horses have been divided equally among Legends' three trainers--Bob Baffert, D. Wayne Lukas, and Nick Zito--and are in Florida being prepared for competition.

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