Topped by the $105,000 paid by Gainesway Farm for Sabre Dance, a 6-year-old Sword Dance mare who is in foal to Ocala Stud stallion Montbrook, Monday's opening preferred consignor session of the Ocala Breeders' Sales Fall Mixed Sale realized increases in gross, median and average for the second straight year.Sabre Dance, who won the restricted Susan's Girl Stakes in 1999, also produced the session's top-priced weanling, a son of Stormy Atlantic that went to Heiligbrodt Racing Stable for $87,000.Both were consigned by The Acorn, on behalf of the Alan Drey Dispersal. The Acorn is handling the complete dispersal of Drey, the Chicago horseman who died in August.A total of 169 horses were sold Monday for $2,687,300, yielding an average of $15,901 and a median of $10,500 -- up 16.5% and 10.5% respectively, over 2002 totals. Last year, 150 horses were sold for $2,046,400, posting a $13,643 average and $9,500 median. The buy-back rate also rose slightly at 29.%, compared with 28.5% a year ago during the same session.Part of the credit for sale-figure increases should go to a strengthened Florida stallion roster, said OBS director of sales Tom Ventura."The stallions the breeders have brought in have been well accepted, and are having an impact," said Ventura. "It's really the first look at some of the first-crop sires."First-crop stallion Trippi sired the session's top selling weanling filly, Trippi's Valentine, which went to a Heiligbrodt-led partnership called Robbing Slough Ranch for $80,000 out of agent Beth Bayer's
consignment. Heiligbrodt Racing Stable manager Brett Brinkman, who also breaks and trains many of the Heiligbrodt racing prospects at Classic Mile Training Center near Ocala, is the other half of the Robbing Slough Ranch partnership.Next in price was a filly from second-crop sire Tiger Ridge, which went for $75,000 to MS Stable out of the Hartley/De Renzo & Walmac South consignment. And a colt by first-crop sire Exchange Rate sold for $70,000 to Take One Bloodstock out of the Kaizen Sales consignment.
"We'll see how this holds up over two days," said Ventura, alluding to Tuesday's second preferred consignor session.Open sessions will follow on Wednesday and Thursday.