A pair of regally-bred colts by Curlin and Bernardini garnered the most attention at the third session of Ocala Breeders' Sales Co.'s spring sale of 2-year-olds in training April 23 in Ocala, Fla. Each sold for $700,000 to top the day's proceedings.
J.B. McKathan signed the ticket on behalf of David Shimmon's Fog City Stable for Hip No. 630, a chestnut colt by Curlin out of the multiple graded stakes-winning Eskimo mare Silent Eskimo.
"I figured he was going to cost quite a bit of money," said McKathan. "He's really nice. To get colts like that all depends on who is standing in the end."
Bred in Kentucky by Ted Hoover, the colt, who worked an eighth of a mile in a swift :10 flat at the third under tack preview, was consigned by Old South Farm, agent.
Silent Eskimo, a homebred for the late John Franks, enjoyed a stellar racing career. She won nine of 31 career starts, notching her biggest wins in the 1998 Fantasy Stakes (gr. II) and the following year's Louisville Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. II) en route to lifetime earnings of $1,039,485.
As a broodmare, Silent Eskimo is the dam of six winners from seven foals to race, including stakes-placed runners Silent Fusaichi and Capercaillie.
Northwest Stud, consignors of the $1.6 million Giant's Causeway colt that was the co-sale topper at the OBS March sale, led over Hip No. 741, a Bernardini colt produced from the grade I-winning mare Tarlow, by Stormin Fever.
Donato Lanni, agent for an undisclosed client, signed the ticket for the dark bay or brown colt who breezed a smart quarter in :21 flat at the under tack preview.
Bred in Kentucky by Mr. and Mrs. Jerome S. Moss, the colt was purchased as a yearling by Off the Hook out of the Mill Ridge Sales consignment at last year's Keeneland September sale.
"We try to buy two-turn horses that can run on the first Saturday in May," said Lanni, who indicated Bob Baffert will train the colt. "He's a beautiful horse out of a great mare. He's a May baby and is still a little immature, but he worked great.
"Northwest Stud does a great job," Lanni added. "They get a good horse and take care of them. All of their horses carry flesh and they're sound. They know what they are doing."
Northwest Stud's Alfredo Lichoa thought the Bernardini colt was something special all along.
"We're very happy with the sale," said a smiling Lichoa moments after the colt departed the auction ring. "He's a special horse. He has so much class and has always been straight forward. You're going to hear a lot from this horse."
Mark Casse, agent, went to $525,000 to secure the bid on Hip No. 779, a Super Saver colt consigned by Crupi's New Castle Farm, agent.
Bred in Kentucky by Machmer Hall, the colt, out of the unraced Tiznow mare Tiz Fate, sold to Crupi's New Castle Farm as a yearling for $180,000 at the Keeneland September sale where he was consigned by St. George Sales.
The colt worked an eighth of a mile in :10 1/5 at the under tack preview.
"He's beautiful," said Casse. "I know everyone is looking at these Super Saver's. Hopefully, he doesn't disappoint us all. We're always looking for Derby-type horses and he looks like that to us."
Another Super Saver that commanded a high price during the third session was Hip No. 749, a colt purchased out of the Wavertree Stables consignment for $400,000 by D P Racing LLC.
Out of the Tale of the Cat mare Tell Some Fibs, a half sister to grade I winner My Trusty Cat, the colt breezed a quarter mile in :21 1/5 at the under tack preview.
Also selling for $400,000 was Hip No. 844, a colt by Indian Charlie--Viva La Viva, by Crafty Prospector, who sold to Cam Allard. Consigned by de Meric Sales, agent, the Kentucky-bred colt, from the immediate family of graded stakes winner Itsmyluckyday , worked a quarter in :21 3/5.
A total of 190 horses sold in the session for gross receipts of $15,666,000, compared with 213 horses sold in last year's third session for $13,644,000. The average was $82,453, a 28.7% increase above last year's average of $64,056. Median price soared 30% to $52,000 from $40,000 in 2013.
Buy-back percentage was 20.5%; it was 11.3% a year ago. Fifty-four horses sold for $100,000 or more compared with 42 a year ago.
"It was another strong day," said Tom Ventura, OBS president. "The sale has performed above our expectations so far. We still have one more quarter to go and we aren't heading into it with a four-corner approach. We want to go out with a flourish. I hope we can finish with another session as strong as today's."
For the second straight day, de Meric Sales topped all other consignors, selling 20 head for $1,808,000. Old South Farm was next, generating gross sales of $905,000 for three youngsters sold.
The spring sale concludes with the fourth and final session on April 24 and will be streamed live beginning at 10:30 a.m. at www.bloodhorse.com/OBS.