Nearly a dozen protesters with seven-foot-tall signs disparaging a consignor at the ongoing Ocala Breeders' Sales April 2-year-olds in training sale greeted participants April 25 as they headed to the second session of the four-day auction.
According to the assembled protesters, California owner Anthony Fick organized the protest, which spread the length of the road in front of the OBS sale grounds, against Raul and Martha Reyes' King's Equine. Fick is accusing the consignors of selling him a lame horse at the Barretts spring 2-year-olds in training sale April 4.
Anthony and William Fick bought a colt named Silver Smuggler at the Barretts sale for $70,000. The colt is a son of Into Mischief out of the stakes-placed Tapit mare Puddy Tap. Several days after the sale, Fick tried to return the colt, according to the sale company and the consignor.
Raul Reyes said Fick was advised by a veterinarian and a trainer not to buy the horse, who reportedly had some issues of concern that were apparent in radiographs on file in Barretts' repository.
Repeated messages left with Fick requesting comment Wednesday went unanswered.
"They were advised not to buy the horse, but they bought it anyway," said Raul Reyes, whose version of the transaction was corroborated by Barretts. "Everything was transparent. I have been selling horses for 20 years, and we don't do anything but by the book. They can say what they want, but the trainer called me and said the horse was not lame. It's a bad deal. Someone has buyer's remorse."
Kim Lloyd, general manager of Barretts, said an attorney contacted the sale company about the horse but stressed that a formal dispute was never pursued. Even if the sale was challenged, Lloyd said, the horse would not have been returned based on what he knows about the transaction.
"There were accurate radiographs in the repository. Everything was done according to the rules, and everything was transparent," Lloyd said. "It is the sale company's job to protect both buyers and sellers."
Reyes said his consignment has been especially successful the past couple of years, which he suspects makes him a target.
"I've had the best people in the business buy from me, and the last two years have been the best. Maybe this is part of having success," Reyes said.
King's Equine has sold 21 2-year-olds so far this year for a total of $2,866,000. During the first two sessions at the OBS sale, the consignment sold seven for $971,000.