The sale topper, an A.P. Indy colt, was a big boost to the bottom line at the OBS 2-year-old in training sale.

The sale topper, an A.P. Indy colt, was a big boost to the bottom line at the OBS 2-year-old in training sale.

Joe DiOrio

Downturns at OBS Spring Sale Are Moderate

Buy-back rate declines significantly.

The Ocala Breeders’ Sales Co. spring sale of 2-year-olds in training, which ended its four-day run April 23 in Central Florida, turned in one of the best performances for a Thoroughbred auction this year even though it suffered setbacks in several of its key business figures. Compared to 2008, the number of horses sold rose 4.7% while the gross revenue fell 10.7%. The average price declined 14.7%, and the median price dropped 16.7%.

The buy-back rate fell from 28.1% last year to 23.2% this year.

“We always want the numbers to be up, but in this economic scenario, we’re pleased with the results,” said Tom Ventura, the general manager and director of sales for OBS. “The sale turned out better than most people expected.”

During breeding stock auctions late last year and early this year, declines of 40% or more were common. At this year’s major select sales of 2-year-olds in training, the dowturns often were 30% or more.

“The spring sale stayed very steady throughout,” Ventura said. “We had the one horse that sold very well, the $675,000 A.P. Indy colt, but the rest of the market was solid. The one concern that we had — even after the first two days, which we were very pleased with was whether there would be enough demand to carry the rest of the sale, and as it turned out, it held up very well. On day one, the median was $16,000; it was $15,000 on day two, $17,000 on day three, and $15,000 on day four. On the last day, the buy-back rate was 23%, and for the entire sale it was 23%, so there wasn’t any falloff.”

The auction’s final figures included a gross of $20,157,800 for the 807 juveniles that sold. The average was $24,979, and the median was $15,000. Last year, the 771 horses that sold grossed $22,571,000 and averaged $29,275. The median was $18,000.

“The spring sale, just because of its large numbers, has a horse for every taste and every budget,” said Ventura, explaining why the auction was able to avoid dramatic plunges in its statistics. “It has been very successful in producing runners at the top level, but it also produces runners that can earn their keep. You can get a decent bang for your buck, and in this economic climate, buyers knew they were going to have a chance to buy horses at prices that were less than last year’s. There also are a lot of regional markets where purses are good, and we’ve actually had some positive news, for a change, out of South Florida. The horsemen, breeders, and racetrack officials have put together a nice program at Calder with an emphasis on 2-year-old racing. All those things added up to help this sale.”

During the final session, the 195 horses that sold grossed $4,834,500 and averaged $24,792. The median was $15,000, and the buy-back rate was 23.2%.

Sinininthesouth, a Sweetsouthernsaint filly, was the highest-priced horse sold on the auction’s last day, bringing $145,000 from Tommy Hutton’s Dream Stable. Produced from the 10-year-old unraced Dr. Caton mare Doc’s Stormy Girl, Sinininthesouth is a half-sister to stakes winner Leigh McLovin (by Flame Thrower).

Kristine L. Mitchell bred Sinininthesouth in Florida. The bay filly, which was consigned to the OBS spring auction by Kevin and J.B. McKathan (McKathan Bros.), as agents, worked a quarter mile in :21.