Hip 264, by Lion Heart, brought $70,000 dollars at the OBS Fall mixed sale.

Hip 264, by Lion Heart, brought $70,000 dollars at the OBS Fall mixed sale.

Joe DiOrio

Lion Heart Mare Tops Open OBS Mixed Session

Because I Like It, in foal to High Cotton, brings $70,000 in Florida sale Oct. 16.

Because I Like It, a mare by Lion Heart in foal to High Cotton, and a weanling filly by Wilburn  each brought $70,000 to share top honors at the open session of Ocala Breeders' Sales Co.'s Fall mixed sale Oct. 16 in Ocala, Fla.

Consigned by Francis and Barbara Vanlangendonck's Summerfield Sales, agent, Because I Like It sold on a phone bid to Keith and Ginger Myers' Coteau Grove Farm in Louisiana. Bred in Florida by Sabine Stable, the stakes-placed mare won once in six starts and earned $56,530. Racing in Sabine's colors, Because I Like It finished second to Awesome Feather in the 2010 J J'sdream Stakes at Calder Casino & Race Course.

Out of the stakes-winning Lost Code mare Code Blum, Because I Like It, who sold as hip 264, has produced one other foal. Her 2013 colt by High Cotton preceded her in the ring, selling to Rustlewood Farm for $25,000.

"She had a really nice foal," said Barbara Vanlangendonck. "The mare has a lot of quality for a day like today in the open session. She's a young mare with an interesting pedigree. She showed well for us this week, and she handled herself with class."

Christine Hosier, agent, went to $70,000 to secure the bid on hip 359, a weanling daughter from the first crop of Wilburn. Consigned by Beth Bayer, agent, the chestnut filly was produced from the Speightstown  mare Milliondollarbill, a half sister to graded stakes winner Brooke's Halo. Randall Hartley and Dean DeRenzo bred the filly in Kentucky.

"She is a really nice individual," said Hosier, who indicated that the filly will be owned by a partnership. "She is from a nice, black-type family."

Machmer Hall acquired the highest-priced weanling colt of the session, going to $62,000 for hip 291, a son of first crop sire Gone Astray . Consigned by Perrone Sales, agent, the colt is out of Courtly Choice, by Doneraile Court, and was bred in Florida by Versatile Thoroughbreds and Michael and Judy Crowe.

"I'm stretching for the ones I love," said Carrie Brogden of Machmer Hall.

Machmer Hall has a history of success at the OBS Fall mixed sale.

"This sale has been very good to us," Brogden said. "This is where we bought grade I winners Flat Out, Black Seventeen and Currency Swap."

Machmer Hall bought the sale topper during the consignor preferred session Oct. 15, paying $110,000 for hip 73, a Kitten's Joy  weanling filly consigned by Top Line Sales.

In the open session, 153 horses sold for $1,482,100 compared with 164 head selling for a total of $1,212,500 at last year's corresponding session. The average price rose 31% to $9,687 from $7,393 a year ago. The median price was $5,000 compared with $5,100 in 2012. The buy-back percentage dropped a tad to 17.7%; it was 20.8% last year.

"The market is healthy right now," said Tom Ventura, OBS president. "If you have a good looking individual it will sell well. The market has proven that. Now, even the horses a notch below are selling well in the ring.

"Fewer numbers in the foal crop and good purse opportunities at racetracks around the country are creating competition," Ventura said. "With purses improving, the confidence is funneling down to the sales. Ultimately, purses drive sales."

Next up on the OBS calendar is the winter mixed sale, which will include a horses of racing age section, Jan. 22-23, 2104. An under tack show for the horses of racing age is slated for Jan. 20. The OBS Championship Stakes will be run for the first time in conjunction with the winter mixed sale and is scheduled for Jan. 21.