Adena Springs Sale Full of Quality

The catalog for the Adena Springs sale of 2-year-olds in training is smaller – 70 horses this year compared to 136 in 2008. But the auction is “full of quality,” according to Mark Roberts, the manager of Adena Springs South in Williston, Fla., where the sale will be held March 16, beginning at 4:30 p.m. (EDT).

“To me, it’s the best group we’ve ever had pedigree-wise definitely, for sure,” Roberts said. “And I think people will see that the horses physically match the pedigrees. It’s a very, very good bunch. There are very few -- when you look at them and see them go on the track – that you don’t like.”

The catalog lists 11 juveniles from the first crop of 2004 Horse of the Year Ghostzapper , but, as of March 13, one (a filly out of stakes winner Petrina Above) had been scratched along with an Empire Maker  – Delve filly and a Touch Gold – Sweet Little Avie filly. There are six El Prado offspring, up from four in 2008, and Awesome Again  is represented by 10 of his progeny.

Frank Stronach, who operates Adena Springs, earned his fourth Eclipse Award as outstanding owner in 2008, and Adena Springs received its fifth straight Eclipse Award as outstanding breeder. More recently, Stronach has been in the news as the chairman of racetrack operator Magna Entertainment Corp., which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection March 5.

“Magna and Adena Springs are really two separate entities, so it (the bankruptcy filing) doesn’t have any effect on us,” Roberts said. “But, personally, I do think it has an effect on the Thoroughbred industry as a whole because of the uncertainty of it. NYRA (the New York Racing Association) did the same thing (filed for bankruptcy) and managed to come out of it successfully. It worked out OK, so I don’t see any reason why this shouldn’t. I think you’ll find this won’t be a fire sale. But I do think you’ll find tremendous value because we are looking to cut our numbers. We want to maintain the size (of Adena Springs’ Thoroughbred holdings) at a certain level, and we have to sell to do that.”

The Adena Springs juvenile auction has been conducted each year since 2002, but it almost didn’t take place in 2009. An announcement was made last year that it was being canceled because Adena Springs was concentrating on selling its young horses as yearlings. But the decision not to hold the juvenile auction was reversed before the end of 2008.

“We ended up not getting as many yearlings sold as we had hoped to, plus we had others that weren’t quite ready for the yearling sales,” Roberts said. “We just ended up with more horses than we anticipated, so we decided to go ahead and have it (the juvenile auction).”

Prices have been down significantly at other sales of 2-year-olds in training this year, with the struggling economy worldwide playing an important role in those reductions.

“I know we are going to see declines; the economy has to affect us to a certain degree,” Roberts said. “But I would like to think they (the setbacks) wouldn’t be as severe as what we’ve seen in other places because I think this is the strongest catalog we’ve ever had with all the Ghostzappers, Awesome Agains, and the El Prados in there.”

Prior to the sale, there will be a country barbecue beginning at 3 p.m. The charge for dining will be $20 per person with all proceeds going to the Ocala Farm Ministry and the Florida Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation.

Last year, the Adena spring sale of 2-year-olds posted all time highs of 97 for the number of horses sold and $5,283,500 for gross revenue. The average price of $54,469 was up less than 1% from 2007, and the median price of $28,000 fell 30%.

The Ocala Breeders’ Sales Co. conducts the Adena Springs auction for Stronach. Graduates of the sale include champion and the Emirates Airline Breedes' Cup Distaff (gr. I) winner Ginger Punch and grade I winner Ginger Pop.