Hip No. 924, a colt by Indian Charlie consigned by de Meric Sales, agent, sold for $625,000 to top the last session.

Hip No. 924, a colt by Indian Charlie consigned by de Meric Sales, agent, sold for $625,000 to top the last session.

Joseph DiOrio

Records Fall at 'Phenomenal' OBS Spring Sale

Four-day Florida juvenile auction ends April 24 with marks in all major categories.

Ocala Breeders' Sales Co. closed out its spring sale of 2-year-olds in training with gusto April 24, establishing sale records for gross, average, and median price for the second straight year.

The marathon four-day auction concluded with yet another robust session that featured across-the-board gains in all economic categories.

A total of 178 juveniles sold during the fourth and final session, generating gross receipts of $13,167,000, compared with 187 horses selling for $10,208,500 at the corresponding session a year ago. The average price was $73,972, an increase of 35.5% from $54,591 in 2013. Median price rose 45% to $43,500 from $30,000 last year. The buy-back percentage was 24.3%; it was 19.4% last year.

"To come off of last year's record-breaking sale and do what we did this week is just phenomenal," said Tom Ventura, OBS president.

For the entire sale, 767 horses changed hands for a record gross of $57,032,000, eclipsing the previous sale mark of $48,757,000 achieved in 2013 on 815 head sold. Average price was $74,357, an increase of 24.3% over last year's record average of $59,825. The median figure of $47,000 soared 34.3% above the previous record of $35,000 recorded in 2013.

"The spring sale has grown by leaps and bounds," Ventura said. "Buyers and consignors both feel comfortable that they can buy and sell horses here to meet any criteria and any budget. This sale was great from start to finish. You can almost pick any superlative you want to describe it."

Hip No. 924, a colt by Indian Charlie consigned by de Meric Sales, agent, sold to Ashford Stud for $625,000 to top the last session.

"He had a very good breeze. We liked everything about him," said Andre Lynch, who signed the ticket for Ashford Stud. "He's a nice horse."

Nick de Meric acquired the colt for $75,000 out of the Taylor Made Sales Agency consignment at last year's Keeneland September sale.

Bred in Kentucky by Fred Hertrich III and John Fielding, the bay colt is out of the unraced Distorted Humor  mare Agatha, a half sister to Japanese champion Hishi Akebono, Japanese stakes winner Agnes World, and stakes winner My Sea Castles.

The colt breezed a quarter mile in :20 4/5 at the under tack preview.

"He's a fabulous colt," said de Meric. "We couldn't be happier with where he is going. He's a colt that checked all the proverbial boxes. It was a pleasure to watch the way he handled this whole experience. He's been such a cool horse from day one. He turned in a breeze like that and then walked back to the barn flat-footed. He just takes everything in stride."

Bidding on Hip No. 1093, a colt by More Than Ready  came down to two parties, each stationed at opposite ends of the sales pavilion. In the end, Mark Casse, agent, delivered the decisive bid when the colt was hammered down at $550,000.

With a phone to his ear during the active exchange, Casse didn't hesitate in firing back each time that the price on the colt inched north.

"I just wanted to tell them that I meant business," Casse explained with a smile after signing the ticket. "We really liked him. We're always looking for Derby prospects, and I felt like he was one.

"We've been lucky, "Casse added. "We have great people like the Oxleys and Conquest Stable. I remember 20 years ago I'd have to get three people to put up $5,000 each to buy one horse. Now to be able to compete up at the top, for me it's a dream.

"I feel like we've been producing, and when you produce, people believe in you. I don't take it lightly. These people put their money in my hands and I try to do my very best. We didn't make the Derby this year, maybe the Preakness, but they won't deny us for long."

Consigned by Northwest Stud, agent for Inversiones Fl, LLC, the colt, who breezed a quarter mile in :21 at the under tack preview, is out of the stakes-winning Deputy Minister mare Coya.

Bred in Kentucky by Highfield Farm, the dark bay or brown colt was purchased for $50,000 by Northwest Stud at the Keeneland September sale where he was consigned by Lantern Hill Farm, agent for Highfield Farm.

Martin Schwartz went to $350,000 to purchase the top filly of the session, Hip No. 1143, a daughter of Quality Road  consigned by Eddie Woods, agent. The bay filly, a half sister to graded stakes winner Senor Rojo, is out of Detect, by Devil's Bag.

The sale topper over the four days was Hip No. 514, a son of Tapit  consigned by de Meric Sales, agent, sold to Mike Repole for $725,000.  The bay colt, out of stakes winner Ready for Fortune, by More Than Ready, worked an eighth in :10 1/5 at the under tack preview.

Next on the OBS calendar is the June sale of 2-year-olds and horses of racing age. Dates for the sale and under tack shows are to be determined.