It took roughly six hours to get there, but a horse selling in the opening session of the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Co. fall mixed sale finally brought six figures Oct. 6, a day marked by severe across-the-board declines for the Central Florida auction.
A weanling daughter of Exchange Rate received a final bid of $105,000 from agent Ben McElroy to top all lots sold during the sale’s lone consignor-preferred session, which will be followed by a pair of open sessions Oct. 7 and 8.
For the longest time, though, it appeared no price would approach the benchmark figure of $100,000, despite the anticipation of the Exchange Rate filly, which was sold about a half-hour before the close of the first session. Key figures struggled throughout as sales officials and consignors operated parallel to a day when domestic stock markets suffered another record plunge.
For the session, 108 horses brought a total of $1,979,600, averaging $18,330 with a $12,000 median price. For comparative purposes, the average was down 31.5% and the median 40% against the yields of $26,753 and $20,000, respectively, from two consignor-preferred sessions conducted at OBS last year. The buy-back percentage was 53%, 3.9% higher than the 49.1% recorded for the two sessions last year. An additional 117 horses were withdrawn from the first day.
“It’s not just today, it’s been the last month,” said Tom Ventura, OBS director of sales and general manager. “All the negative news from the financial sector, it has a psychological effect. It certainly was a tough day, and the results were impacted by the wild fluctuations we are having on Wall Street, and the uncertain financial situation we all are in.
“Looking at some of the higher-priced horses, it seemed to be the common theme: Among the weanlings, there were quality individuals who had sire power to go with it. Those that are buying weanlings are going to be selling them as yearlings or 2-year-olds. But the majority of people that are buying mares may have little confidence in projecting the future.”
The session-topper, which is out of the 9-year-old stakes-winning Birdonthewire mare Passionate Bird, came from the three-horse consignment of Lee and Paula Parker’s Horses of Course Inc. Bidding for the bay weanling opened at $75,000. McElroy, who signed the ticket on behalf of Twin Peeks Racing, said the filly would be pinhooked for a partnership
“She is by a hot sire; she’s by a hot sire of fillies; she’s a good race mare; (and) she had an extremely good physical,” he said. “Hopefully she will continue to progress throughout the year and we’ll make some good money on her.”
The Parkers, who bred all three of the horses they entered in the sale (one was a buy-back), also realized the third-highest price of the day when $67,000 was given by Josham Farms for another Exchange Rate weanling filly.
Lee Parker said he was not surprised by the final price of the $105,000 session-topper. “We had vets lined up everywhere to X-ray her,” he said. “I love Exchange Rate.”
The second-highest price of the day, $80,000, was brought by a weanling daughter of Rockport Harbor, which was purchased by CCS Bloodstock out of Brent and Crystal Fernung’s Journeyman Bloodstock consignment. Carrie Brogden, who co-owns Machmer Hall near Paris, Ky., with her husband, Craig, and mother, Sandy Willwerth, signed the ticket on behalf of a pinhooking partnership. The filly is out of stakes winner Christmas Lights (by Citidancer).
The top-selling mare was Escape From Home, a 4-year-old daughter of Came Home who is in foal to Rock Hard Ten. Also acquired out of the Journeyman Bloodstock consignment, the half-sister to grade-III winner Sweetest Thing was purchased for $65,000 by Made To Support Sales. Bill Shively of Dixiana Farms near Lexington signed the ticket. Shively said he was actively purchasing mares to send to Zavata, whom he said he had recently purchased and planned to stand in Pennsylvania.