The Imagine... (yes, with three periods) name of Marne Fauber and Heidi Cecil's equine sales company is unique for a very good reason.
"It is Imagine with dot, dot, dot," Fauber said March 12, while waiting out a shower on the eve of the Ocala Breeders' Sales March 2-year-olds in training sale. "That is what everybody is trying to do here. Just imagine what you can do with one of these horses."
Based at Hunter Farm near Ocala, Fla., Imagine... breaks and trains horses for several clients, but the business partners are mainly in the business of pinhooking, with which they have about eight years of experience.
At last year's OBS sale, Imagine... knocked it out of the park when they sold a Curlin colt for $950,000 to Rattler Racing and a group that included Fauber's mother, Margaret and partner Judy Jared.
California-based agent Mersad Metanovic, who signed the ticket on the colt later named Ironwood, said Margaret Fauber was intent on buying the colt and that her daughter was not involved in the purchase. Imagine... later became a partner in the horse, who is unplaced in one start to date.
Fauber said the price exceeded expectations although she thought he would do well.
"He was training so well at the farm, and because of his sire and he had a pretty good first dam, I thought he would do well in the ring," she said. "I didn't know he was going to do that. He just showed up at the sale, and we got lucky."
While it's unknown whether the three-horse consignment Imagine... has in this year's sale (after three withdrawals) will ring up the bid board the same way, Fauber said the partners have a solid group.
All were purchased as yearlings to be re-sold, and not unlike other consignors, Fauber and Cecil had to stretch to get what they wanted at the yearling sales.
"They are very good athletically and have good pedigrees. I don't know they will bring $950,000, but they will sell well," Fauber said. "This is the highest average per horse we've ever had to pay for yearlings. That's just what the market dictated last year in September. It's getting harder and harder for the little guy (pinhooking)."
Fauber and Cecil began pinhooking weanlings into yearling sales, with one of their first transactions, a son of Posse, bought privately for $35,000. He was later sold to Machmer Hall through Allied Bloodstock for $47,000.
"He was so strong in the back, I wondered what he was going to do," Cecil said of the horse later named Mind Your Biscuits, who has won more than $2.5 million and won grade 1 stakes in the U.S. and Dubai. "He didn't bend his hock. He was like a pendulum. He was so great-minded and athletic and we found out what he could do."
While the Imagine... team likes their juvenile sale horses to perform well during the pre-sale workouts, Fauber said it is more important that the young horses remain an asset to their new owners.
"We can probably make our horses go faster," she explained. "We have tried very hard to sell the best product we can without taking everything out of the horse by the time we get to the sale. We train them like they're going to the races and this is just a stop on the way. If we have a horse that goes really fast, it is just probably a fast horse.
"We want to sell a good product and hopefully it will go on and do well and the customer will say they are selling good products and we should go back there."