The resurgent Ocala Breeders' Sales yearling sale concluded Oct. 11 with increases in average and median prices when compared with the 2016 version held in August.
For the auction that was considerably smaller than the 2016 edition, OBS reported 406 yearlings sold for a total of $8,120,500, compared with the 517 head that grossed $8,640,000 last year. This year's average price of $20,001 was 19.6% above last year's $16,712 figure and the median rose 21.4% from $7,000 to $8,500. The buyback rate improved significantly from 36.8% last year to 28% this year.
The yearling sale was moved on the sales company's calendar after OBS merged its traditional October mixed sale with its January auction as a result of a major makeover to its pavilion that began last year.
The result was that more trainers, owners, and agents—who otherwise would be involved with major North American race meets at Saratoga Race Course, Del Mar, Woodbine, and Gulfstream Park during August—would be able to attend the October sale.
"I definitely believe the October time slot was a good move for us," said Tod Wojciechowski, OBS sales director, noting that the same trends seen in earlier auctions were present at OBS, in which there was strong demand for the top lots. "We saw people we normally would not see in August. When you look down through the result sheets, you see that there were a lot of end-users buying. We didn't see anything in this sale we haven't seen all season long."
During the open session Wednesday, OBS reported 291 yearlings sold for a total of $3,131,100, for an average of $10,760 and a $5,000 median figure. The buyback percentage was 23.4%. In two open sessions last year, 369 horses grossed $3,066,800, for an average of $8,311 and a $4,500 median price. The buyback percentage was 38%.
The top price of $170,000 Wednesday was paid by prominent owner John Oxley for an Uncaptured filly named Catherinethegreat. Consigned by Turtle Pond Farm as Hip 545, the filly out of the Carson City mare Classy City Lady was bred in Florida by Wendy Christ and Kathie Haines.
Oxley campaigned Uncaptured, a son of Lion Heart who was named Canada's champion 2-year-old colt and Horse of the Year in 2012. Uncaptured stands at Ocala Stud in Ocala, Fla., where his 2017 fee was $6,000.
The Uncaptured filly's immediate family had an upgrade since the catalog was published, with her half sister Katinka posting a victory in the $100,000 Miss Gracie Stakes Sept. 16 going 7 1/2 furlongs on the turf at Gulfstream.
Oxley, represented by trainer Mark Casse, bought the OBS sale-topper, a Violence colt, for $275,000 from Richard Kent's Kaizen Sales during the Oct. 10 session. The dark bay or brown colt is out of Frank's Hope, by Pulpit, a winning daughter of grade 1 winner Silver Maiden, and a half sister to graded stakes winner Dreaming of Liz. The colt was bred in Kentucky by Lantern Hill Farm.
The leading buyer was de Meric Stables. The outfit purchased seven yearlings for a total of $790,000. The leading consignor was Francis and Barbara Vanlangendonck's Summerfield, with 71 sold for $1,818,200.