By Michael Compton
A strong storm system that swept across Central Florida Aug. 21 failed to dampen the enthusiasm of buyers attending the Ocala Breeders' Sales Company's August yearling auction in Central Florida. Sales receipts were strong during the select session.
The 127 horses that were sold on the first of three auction days grossed $5,684,000 compared to $4,278,000 for 114 head sold last year. The average price of $44,756, the highest since 2008, was up 19.3% from last year's average of $37,526. The median rose to $35,000, an increase of 7.7% compared to $32,500 last August.
The buy-back rate was 28.7% compared to 23.5% in 2011. Six horses sold for $100,000 or more apiece compared with two last year.
"It was a good day," said OBS president Tom Ventura. "Our sale topper brought twice as much as last year's. Everything went well. I am pleased with the good mix of buyers we had. There were plenty of end users and pinhookers."
A son of Colonel John was sold to Wesley Ward for $220,000 to top the soggy select session. Consigned by Beth Bayer, agent, the Florida-bred colt was produced from the Bon Point mare Bon Caro and is a half brother to stakes winner Glitter City and stakes-placed Wild Forest Cat. The session topper was bred by Rick Sutherland.
A son of Empire Maker named Angelus, brought the second-highest price of the day, selling to F.H.M.B for $180,000. Consigned by Jack and Leslie Hagan's Country Road Farm, agent, the dark bay or brown colt is out of the graded stakes-placed Top Account mare Redhead Riot. Ann Fostock bred the colt in Kentucky.
"We pulled him out 120 times to show him," Leslie Hagan said. "That's an incredible number. He was scoped eight or nine times and X-rayed three or four times. Potential buyers were very serious about him and they knew he was popular. The right buyers were on him. He is a tremendous buy."
The third-highest-priced horse of the day was a colt by Majestic Warrior , which sold to Nick de Meric, agent, for $150,000. Consigned by Summerfield, agent, the colt is out of the Country Pine mare Countrywishingwell and is a half brother to multiple stakes winner Calico Bay. Hidden Point Farm bred the colt in Florida.
De Meric also signed the $120,000 ticket for a Florida-bred daughter of Congrats . Consigned by Woodford Thoroughbreds, agent for breeder CloverLeaf Farms II, the filly is from the family of Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint winner Desert Code, an earner of more than $1 million.
The most expensive filly of the select was a daughter of Street Sense out of the Meadowlake mare Charming Lauren. Consigned by Richard Kent's Kaizen Sales, agent, the yearling was purchased by William Schettine for $140,000. The filly, bred by Mandy Pope's Whisper Hill Farm, is from the family of Success Express, Greenwood Lake, and Charlie Barley.
"She was a very attractive filly," Kent said. "She is nicely balanced and has a great mind. She caught everyone's attention. We must have shown her nearly 100 times.
"Traffic at the barn has been solid this week," Kent added. "I expect the open sessions will better reflect all the activity. There were a lot of nice horses here that I thought might have done a little better in the select session. I think people are still a little budget conscious."
The sale continues Aug. 22 at 10:30 a.m. (EDT) with the first of two open sessions.
"I'm hopeful we can continue the momentum," Ventura said. "We had a good select session and I hope it carries through. Of course, we had a larger concentration of quality horses in the select session, but the quality is still there in the open sessions. It's just more spread out."