The cream of the Canadian-bred sales yearling crop rose to the top at the selected session of the annual sale held by the Ontario division of the Canadian Thoroughbred Horse Society on Sept. 7 at Woodbine.
The most attractive youngsters, physically and on paper, brought the top prices while offerings at the middle and lower end struggled to get sold.
A fancy dark bay daughter of Stormy Atlantic topped the sale at (CAN)$130,000, paid by agent Anthony Goswell for Dick Bonnycastle`s Harlequin Ranches.
The filly, sold by Richard Hogan, as agent, is the first foal of the Theatrical mare Theatre Fan, a half sister to the dam of Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) and Preakness Stakes (gr. I) winner Big Brown.
The sale-topper sold deep into the session, and two hip numbers later the second highest priced yearling, and top colt, went through the ring for Bernard McCormack`s Cara Bloodstock, selling as agent.
The dark bay colt, by Canadian champion Perfect Soul out of the Woodman mare Timber Ice, sold for $120,000 to Bill Werner.
The sale saw slight declines in gross and average and a rise in buy-backs. In total, 128 yearlings sold for gross sales of $3,696,700 for an average price of $28,880. That was down from last year`s numbers when 155 yearlings sold for $4,672,000 for an average of $30,142.
The median dropped from $22,000 to $20,000 and the number of horses not sold rose from 68 to 79.
"It was very selective, from the point of the buyers,"said McCormack, who had one of the larger consignments at the sale. "The bread and butter horses were friendless tonight. It doesn`t mean they won`t run but the buyers at the sale lacked depth.``
McCormack also sold the third highest price of the auction, a dark bay filly owned by Cedarow Farms by perennial leading Canadian sire Bold Executive out of the winning Broken Vow mare Princessofballet that went for $105,000 to trainer Robert Tiller, acting as agent for the popular racing syndicate The Very Dry Stable.
Returning to the Woodbine sale buyer`s list for the first time in a few years was Eugene Melnyk, who was represented by farm manager Phil Hronec and trainer Mark Casse.
Melnyk purchased two yearlings including a chestnut filly by City Zip out of Operetta, the dam of this year`s multiple stakes winner Jacally, for $90,000 from Richard Hogan, as agent.
Trainer Josie Carroll, acting as agent, signed the ticket for an $85,000 dark bay colt by Aragorn out of stakes-placed Flashy Thunder, a daughter of Thunder Gulch. The colt, a half brother to stakes winner Sound of Thunder, is from the immediate family of Queen`s Plate winner Big Red Mike and was sold by Dan Mooney`s Huntington Stud Farm as agent for Dom Romeo.
Two other offerings hit six figures but both, a Dixieland Band filly at $150,000 and a Giant`s Causeway colt at $110,000, were bought back by breeder Stan Dodson through agent Hogan.
"Breeders are going to have to be ready to race their horses themselves," said McCormack. "And that will make us better breeders."
The preferred session of the sale is on Sept. 11 beginning at 2 p.m.