They saved the best for last at the second session of the Ocala Breeders' Sales Company's 2-year-olds in training sale March 16, when a Smart Strike colt lit up the bid board late for a sale-topping $1.7 million winning bid from Lane's End Bloodstock.
Consigned by Eddie Woods, agent, the colt is out of the stakes-placed Unbridled's Song mare Glamorista, a half sister to multiple grade I-winning millionaire Critical Eye and to the dam of grade II winner Takeover Target. The colt was bred in Illinois by Brinker Hill Farm.
David Ingordo, who signed the sales receipt, said Lane's End is in search of a successor to Smart Strike, who died in March 2015, and this horse fits the bill.
"Mr. (Will) Farish stood Smart Strike at Lane's End and we developed his best son Curlin , so it just makes sense for us to go back and try to find a replacement for Smart Strike," Ingordo said. "This is one of the best Smart Strikes you're ever going to find. He stood up to all the rigors of this (sale process), which is hard on a young horse. He has a great attitude and is the kind we need in the stallion barn."
"He's one of those top-end, big beautiful-looking horses," Woods said. "He's as good of a horse as I ever get."
Following a robust day of trading Wednesday, OBS reported an overall two-day gross of $51,650,000 for 325 head sold, down from the $55,432,000 total in 2015 for the same number sold.
The two-day average fell from $170,560 to $158,923 and the median price declined slightly to $100,000 from $105,000. The RNA rate, which will change as OBS reports private sales, was 25%, compared with 23% a year ago.
For the session (compared with 2015), 154 (156) horses sold for $25,106,000 ($24,728,000), an average price of $163,029 ($158,513), and median of $100,000 (unchanged).
The sale marked the second since OBS changed the format from a selected sale and expanded the number of offerings.
"Considering we were coming off a record year last year, to come this close to those numbers makes us feel good," said Tod Wojciechowski, OBS sales director. "We're pleased with the sale and pleased with the quality of horses consignors brought to market.
"The results of the last two years make us feel good about the March sale format."
Nick de Meric, the sale's second-leading consignor with 38 sold for $3,959,500, said he successfully moved horses because he set realistic reserves and has clients who rely upon his judgment.
"We appraise them carefully and try to keep our owners realistic with their expectations and we try to make the horses available for the market. We're in the business of selling horses, we're not in the business of buying them back," de Meric said.
The day's second-highest priced offering and top filly was a Twirling Candy filly purchased by LNJ Foxwoods for $825,000.
Consigned by de Meric, the filly was one of the co-fastest workers during the under tack show, breezing a quarter mile in :20 2/5.
Produced from the winning Menifee mare Felicitee, the filly was bred in New York by Mares Rule II. Consigned by Rhapsody Farm and Hidden Lake Farm to the 2014 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga fall sale, the weanling filly was purchased by Machmer Hall for $50,000.
Carrie Brogden of Machmer Hall recalled the filly walking to get on the van to a New York-bred yearling sale last year when she decided to keep her.
"That's why she never went to a yearling sale," Brogden said, adding "I was just following gut instinct. She did everything I wanted. She was all class."