The Ocala Breeders' Sales Co. has cataloged 172 horses for its February select sale of 2-year-olds in training, which will be held in Central Florida instead of South Florida for the second year in a row.
The number for the Feb. 12 auction, which kicks off the juvenile selling season, is down 10.4% from last year's total of 192.
Several factors are involved in the downturn, according to Tom Ventura, president and director of sales for OBS. Because the February sale is held so early in the year, he explained, its pool of available horses is limited to the most precocious and those that have not suffered any setbacks in their training. In addition, the growth and success of the OBS March sale has made some consignors to wait until later in the juvenile auction season to market their horses.
"Our March sale has made so many strides that it is an excellent alternative if a horse isn’t quite ready," Ventura said. "With the majority of horses, it's a training issue (that causes their consignors to decide not to sell them in February)."
In addition, the decline in the size of the catalog for the OBS February auction probably is part of a general trend this year because several sale company officials have reported that pinhookers don't have as many horses as they did in 2007 to point to the select sales.
Last year, 137 2-year-olds were offered and 96 were reported as sold during the OBS February sale for a gross of $12,831,000, which was down less than 1% from the previous year. The average price of $133,657 was down 4.1% while the median price of $100,000 represented a 9.1% drop. The buy-back rate fell to 29.9% from 32.6% in 2006.
"I would hope that if we have a successful sale this year we could improve on the number of horses (in the catalog) in the future," Ventura said. "But we are pleased with the quality of the horses this year."
The OBS February auction catalog can be viewed online at www.obssales.com.