It was business as usual during the final session of Ocala Breeders' Sales Co.'s June sale of 2-year-olds in training and horses of racing age June 19 in Ocala, Fla.
Given the successful results of the sale company's two previous auctions this year and the booming market, it's no surprise that OBS closed out the lucrative juvenile sale season with a day of vigorous bidding. It ended with a June sale mark top-priced horse and records for gross, average and median prices.
The second session of the sale saw 201 juveniles sold for a total of $7,490,000 compared with 200 head generating gross sales of $5,475,300 at the corresponding session last year. The average of $37,264 climbed 36.1% from $27,377 last year. The median price was $22,000, up 46.7% compared with $15,000 a year ago. The buy-back percentage was 24.2% for the session; it was 23.4% last year. A total of 36 horses sold for $50,000 or more in the session compared with 22 in 2012.
For the entire sale, 426 juveniles sold for a sale record $14,424,100, surpassing last year's record total of $10,563,100 for 421 horses sold. The sale's average price of $33,859 is also a record, up 35% from last year's sale record average of $25,090. The median price established a new benchmark, rising 33.3% to $20,000 compared with $15,000 in 2012. The buy-back percentage for the sale was 23.9%; it was 20.4% last year.
"The June sale has made significant progress in the quality of horses offered," said OBS president Tom Ventura. "It is a clear reflection of the confidence consignors have in the sale, and it is that confidence from the consignors that is the most important factor in the success of the sale. The quality we were able to offer this year was better than last year and last year's catalog was better than the previous year."
Hip No. 492, a colt from the first crop of Pioneerof the Nile consigned by Eddie Woods, agent, topped the second session and the sale, selling to Ernie Semersky and Dory Newell's Conquest Stables for $525,000. The sale price established a new June sale record.
The previous sale record price was $350,000 for an Elusive Quality colt sold last year.
Bred in Kentucky by Dixiana Farms, the colt, named Tracker Jacker, worked an eighth in :10 1/5 at the under tack preview. Produced from the stakes-placed Jump Start mare Early Vintage, the colt hails from the family of graded stakes winners Tasha's Miracle and Concord Point. He was bought by W.D. North Thoroughbreds for $42,000 out of the Lane's End consignment at last year's Keeneland September yearling sale.
"We liked the way he worked and galloped out," said Semersky. "He has a beautiful stride, and the colt has distance on both sides of the pedigree."
Conquest Stables, on the advice of trainer/adviser Mark Casse, was the leading buyer on the day and for the sale, spending $1,365,000 on six head. Other prominent acquisitions in addition to the sale topper, included Hip No. 371, the first horse through the ring in the session, a $200,000 colt by Indian Charlie also consigned by Eddie Woods, and Hip No. 544, a Dixie Union filly consigned by Woodford Thoroughbreds, agent, bought for $225,000.
Matt Lyons, general manager of Woodford Thoroughbreds, touted the Dixie Union filly in an interview prior to the sale. "Her work was very impressive," he said while showing the filly who is from the family of graded stakes winners Victory U.S.A. and Foresta. "She did it the right way and galloped out strong. She acts like she can really run."
Conquest Stables is quickly becoming a household name at OBS, and was the second-leading buyer at the OBS spring sale of 2-year-olds in training, taking home three juveniles in April for $1,090,000.
"It's critical to get new players involved in the game," said Ventura. "They bought some quality 2-year-olds this year, and we wish them the best with their purchases. They certainly seem to enjoy the auctions. We want them to enjoy the races just as much. Their enthusiasm is great for the industry."
Semersky and Newell will have the opportunity to watch a couple of their recent acquisitions take to the track in a matter of days.
Two of the higher-priced youngsters acquired by Conquest Stables out of the spring sale will be making their respective career debuts in the coming days, according to Casse. A $420,000 Two Step Salsa colt now named Conquest Two Step is slated to start in a maiden special weight race June 21 at Churchill Downs. The outfit's $370,000 Hear No Evil filly, named Conquest Whiplash, is making her career bow in the Victoria Stakes June 22 at Woodbine.
"I like immediate gratification," said a grinning Semersky, owner of Semersky Enterprises in Highland Park, Ill. To which Casse responded: "We are looking for ready-made horses. I told Ernie, 'It doesn't always work this way.' We've been fortunate that all has gone well."
Hip No. 618, a daughter of Afleet Alex consigned by de Meric Sales, agent, brought $280,000 from Barbara Banke's Stonestreet Stables to rank as the second-highest priced 2-year-old of the session and the top filly.
Out of the Dixieland Band mare I'm From Dixie, the filly was bred in Kentucky by Hunter Valley Farm and H & W Thoroughbreds and was acquired by El Batey Farm for $45,000 at the 2011 Keeneland November breeding stock sale out of the Hunter Valley Farm consignment. She worked a bullet quarter in :20 4/5 at the under tack preview.
Seven older horses brought a total of $82,000, averaging $11,714 with a median price of $9,000 to close out the second session. Thirteen older horses sold last year for $103,900 and averaged $7,992 with a $5,500 median.
Eddie Woods led all consignors at the two-day sale, finding new homes for 24 juveniles on sales of $1,532,500. Wavertree Stables was next, selling 25 head for $1,069,100.
Next on the OBS schedule is the selected sale of yearlings Aug. 20, followed by the open sale of yearlings Aug. 21-22.