Positive Figures Plentiful at OBS Open Auction

The Ocala Breeders' Sales Co.'s open yearling sale concluded Thursday night posting sizable gains in gross, average, and median price and the buy-back rate fell 2% from a year ago. The sale that had 681 yearlings reported as sold is a boost to yearling market as it followed downward trends last week at the Fasig-Tipton New York sale of preferred New York-breds and the California Thoroughbred Breeders' Association's yearling sale at Del Mar. Both sales had declining figures over last year's numbers.

The one-day select session on Monday also posted positive gains over 2002's figures. The strength of the market at both the select and open marketplace in Florida may bode well as Keeneland gears up for it's marathon September yearling sale in three weeks.

For the three-day open session, 681 yearlings sold for a gross of $6,493,200, good for an average of $9,535. The median was $6,000. It marked an 8.6% increase in yearlings sold from last year's 627. The gross rose 17.6% from $4,521,400 a year ago, and the average increased 8.2% over the average of $8,806 in 2002. Last year's median was $5,250. This year's buy-back rate of 25.5% was an improvement over last year's 27.7%.

In the final session on Thursday, 237 yearlings were sold for $2,193,400, compared with 193 selling a year ago realizing $1,462,400. This year's average was $9,255, a sizable boost of 22.1% from last year's $7,577. The buy-back rate this year was 23.3% compared to last year's dismal 32.2%.

The top price at the sale's last session was a Successful Appeal filly named Loni's Appeal. Out of the Future Storm mare Loni Girl, Loni's Appeal fetched a final bid of $55,000 from John Brocklebank. She was consigned by Robert and Saronda Smith's Westfield Farm, agent. The chestnut filly is out of a half-sister to stakes winner Sangam.

The top price during the open session came Wednesday for a filly by Grand Slam that brought $60,000 by Carolyn Wilson. Out of the Blushing John mare Blushing Native, the chestnut filly is a full sister to grade stakes winner Blushing Heiress and a half-sister to stakes winner Really Fancy. She was consigned to the sale by Sez Who Thoroughbreds.

Leading all buyers at the open session was Narvick-Ital-Cal, who bought 10 yearlings for $143,700.

At the select session, 144 yearlings grossed $6,367,000, a rise of 21.3% over last year's gross of $5,247,700. The average price, $44,215, was up 13.7% from last year's $38,872 and was just shy of the record average of $44,945 set in 1999. The median price, $35,000, was a 9.3% increase over last year's $32,000.

Eight horses at the select session brought a final bid in the six figures. Nick de Meric, agent, was the leading buyer, purchasing six head for $334,000. The topper of the sale, a bay colt by 1999 2-year-old champion Anees, brought $190,000 from John Moynihan, agent. Consigned by Francis and Barbara Vanlangendonck's Summerfield, the colt is out of the Corporate Report mare Higher Earnings, who is a half-sister to three stakes winners.