The sun was shining Wednesday in Central Florida, but it was raining records at the Ocala Breeders' Sales Co. as the March select sale of 2-year-olds in training ended its two-day run. OBS sold its highest-priced horse of any age, a $1.8-million Belong to Me colt. The sale company also sold its most expensive juvenile filly ever, a $1-million daughter of Indian Charlie.March auction records were established by the gross revenue of $31,044,000, the average price of $108,545, and the median price of $75,000. The previous mark for gross was last year's total of $26,399,000 while the former records for average of $92,094 and median of $60,000 dated back to 2004.Compared to 2005's figures, this year's gross was up 17.6%; the average increased 32.8% from $81,731, and the median grew a whopping 36.4% from $55,000. The buy-back rate fell from 31.5% last year to 27.4% this year. The number of horses sold dropped from 323 to 286."It was an excellent sale; it was above our expectations by far," said Tom Ventura, the OBS general manager and director of sales. "We felt very comfortable that we had put together a strong catalogue. It was the best, in my opinion, that we had put together physically- and pedigree-wise. I've got to give credit to the consignors for really stepping up to the plate with top horses. But you can't get overconfident in this business, and we just had to play it out and see what happened. Today was just spectacular in every sense."
The previous OBS all-time high for an individual horse was the $1.725 million brought by the Conquistador Cielo's dam, K D Princess (in foal to Timeless Moment), at the fall mixed sale. The former juvenile filly mark was $575,000 for Yankee Million, a Yankee Victory filly, at the 2004 March auction.New Jersey bloodstock agent Buzz Chace purchased the Belong to Me colt for New Jersey real estate developer Al Gold, whose trainer is Steve Asmussen. The immediate underbidder was Florida horseman Jimmy Gladwell, representing Dubai's ruler, Sheikh Mohammed."I thought he would bring a lot of money," Chace said. "Horses that work like that, they usually go on. He did it so easily and through the week, he's just been a gentleman around the barn. He has a great demeanor about him. It's a lot of money, but it's a real nice horse. He (Gold) put $2 million in credit in the sale office to buy the horse. He wanted to buy him. I told him what a nice horse he was, and he said, 'Buy him.'Bred in Kentucky by Mike Akers, Jeff Bowen, and Randy Zeller, the bay colt is out of winning Royal Academy mare Vassar, and his second dam is stakes winner Dixie Fine (by L'Emigrant). Other family members include Irish champions Saffron Walden and Sequoyah and grade II winner Dance Master. He turned in the sale's fastest quarter-mile workout time of :21.Ciaran and Amy Dunne's Wavertree Stables consigned the colt to the OBS March sale for colt for his breeders. He had been bought back for $105,000 when consigned to last year's Keeneland September yearling auction by Viking Stud, agent.Gladwell did get the record-setting Indian Charlie filly that sold just minutes after the Belong to Me colt. Consigned by Mike and Britt Mulligan's Leprechaun Racing, agent, the filly is out of the unraced Robellino mare V Sign and is a half-sister to stakes winner V Formation and stakes-placed Sign of a Bird (both by Proud Birdie). She worked just a tick slower than the record colt, going two furlongs in :21 1/5.Gladwell's competition again included Chace. Wine mogul Jess Jackson was the immediate underbidder."I talked with John Ferguson (Sheikh Mohammed's bloodstock manager) about her, and Jimmy Bell was here before the sale and really liked this filly a lot," Gladwell said. "My wife, Martha, saw her breeze last week while I was in California, and said she was very impressive on the racetrack. Martha also watched her train all week. She's done everything she needs to do. The consignors have been very high on her all year, and they liked her a lot. She fits right in to the stable, we think. John is usually not real keen on buying a lot of fillies at 2-year-old sales, but this filly seemed pretty special."Obviously," Gladwell added, "we had a tough competitor today in Buzz Chace. He's been buying these things a long time and does a great job. He's a good guy, and it's nice to have competition like him around. He keeps us on our toes. "Said Martha Gladwell of the filly: "She was top of the line, a top choice on the track. I liked her performance, her looks, everything about her. She is classy. She has exceptional physical. I told Jimmy, 'We need to have her. She's probably the best filly in the sale' "Bred in Florida by Antrim Oaks, the bay filly was purchased by Leprechaun for $67,000 at last summer's Fasig-Tipton Kentucky select yearling sale. Denali Stud, agent, was her consignor.Leading Buyers, Consignors, and Sires (All Sessions)