At last year's Ocala Breeders' Sales March 2-year-olds in training sale, Phoenix Thoroughbreds was the leading buyer, with three horses purchased by then-bloodstock and racing manager Kerri Radcliffe for total of $2,925,000.
Radcliffe is no longer racing and bloodstock manager for Phoenix after a recent split, but at this year's March 13 first OBS session, Phoenix founder and CEO Amer Abdulaziz Salman was in attendance and left with a filly from the last crop of Scat Daddy purchased for a session-topping $875,000.
"She is very athletic, and we are in love with the sire," said Abdulaziz. "We've done extremely well with him, and there will be no more of them."
Abdulaziz, who was accompanied at OBS by trainers Jeremy Noseda and Bob Baffert, and by Tom Ludt, who heads Phoenix' U.S. operations, said the session-topper was hammered down for less than he thought Phoenix would have to pay.
"We thought she was going to bring $1 million," he said.
Consigned by Hartley/DeRenzo Thoroughbreds as Hip 141, the filly breezed an eighth in :9 4/5 to be co-fastest at the distance at Thursday's under tack show. She was produced from the unraced Royal Academy mare Accusation, whose eight winners from as many foals to race include Sharp Sensation, a graded stakes winner in Canada and the U.S. and three stakes-placed runners. The female family also includes Vodafone Epsom Derby (G1) winner Benny the Dip.
Among the horses who have worn the Phoenix silks are Dream Tree, a grade 1-winning filly who is among the leading contenders for the Longines Kentucky Oaks (G1), and Gronkowski, a 3-year-old colt with classic aspirations after winning the Road to the Kentucky Derby Conditions Stakes at England's Kempton Park.
Tuesday at OBS, 114 horses sold for a total of $19,713,000 compared with 148 sold for a total of $26,766,500 last year. The average was $172,921 compared to $180,855 in 2017, while the median price rose to $105,000 from $100,000 a year ago. The buy-back percentage was 38.3% versus 28.8% in 2017. The March sale continues March 14 at 10:30 a.m.