Even though it’s a new year, the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Co. winter mixed sale was the victim of the same worldwide economic crisis that caused prices at many Thoroughbred auctions to plummet late in 2008. The gross revenue for the two-day Central Florida sale, which ended Jan. 7, plunged 57.7% from a year ago while the average price and median price dropped 39.6% and 45.5%, respectively.
“Overall, it was a tough sale,” said Tom Ventura, the OBS general manager and director of sales. “The lower end of the market has certainly been feeling the crunch all along, and it was evident again the last couple of days. But the quality yearlings with some pedigree and good conformation still demanded a fair dollar, and there was an opportunity for people who are invested long-term in the business to pick up some value.”
OBS reported that 343 horses were sold for a gross of $2,129,100. The average was $6,207, and the median was $3,000. In 2008, when the auction was three days long, the 490 horses that were sold grossed $5,038,600 and averaged $10,283. The median was $5,500.
Of the 527 horses that were offered this year, 184 (34.9%) were bought back by their consignors or didn’t get a bid. Last year, 38.4% of the horses offered failed to find new homes.
“I don’t think we were surprised by what happened,” Ventura said. “It is a very, very selective market right now, and the buyers certainly have the edge.”
The auction began with a consignor preferred session Jan. 6 and ended with an open session in which 175 horses were sold for a gross of $678,900. The open session average was $3,879, and the median was $2,200. Of the 294 horses offered, 119 (40.5%) failed to find new homes. Last year, the sale had one consignor preferred session and two open sessions.
A Macho Uno yearling filly, which was the first horse in the sale ring Jan. 7, brought the final session’s top price of $33,000 from Diane Moore of Darkside Racing. Consigned by Beth Bayer, agent, the bay filly is out of the 12-year-old winning Katowice mare Dance Kat, who finished third in the 2000 Walmac Lone Star Oaks and Mesquite Mile Breeders’ Cup Stakes at Lone Star Park in Texas. The yearling is a half-sister to the winner Hi Steppin Kat (by Halo’s Image).