A colt by commercial powerhouse Tapit set an unprecedentedly high bar in the early goings of the Ocala Breeders' Sales Co. March 2-Year-Olds in Training Sale, going to the partnership of West Point Thoroughbreds, Robert Masiello, and Siena Farms for $2 million, setting a new record price for the OBS March sale.
The gray or roan colt, named Chestertown, is the first foal out of the Grade 1-winning Roman Ruler mare Artemis Agrotera, with an extended page highlighted by Grade 1 winner and sire Stephen Got Even. He was bred in New York by Chester and Mary Broman, who will retain a one-third interest in the colt. Sequel Bloodstock consigned Chestertown, as agent.
“I hope he's the best horse in the sale, but time will tell,” said Terry Finley of West Point Thoroughbreds. “That's the most expensive horse we've ever bought, but we felt good the whole time. We didn't think we'd have to give that much money, but we were really happy when that hammer fell.”
The colt breezed an eighth of a mile in :10 1/5 seconds over the Ocala Training Center's all-weather Safetrack surface.
“I saw the breeze, and at the 16th pole, he swapped his leads, and he went back over to the right, and he just leveled out. I looked down at the pedigree, because I don't really look at the pages when they're breezing, and I saw he was a Tapit out of a Grade 1 winner, and I said 'Wow.' I was thinking about this colt all week.”
Finley said he had a couple names in mind for who would train the new acquisition, but the decision had not been made at the time of the purchase.
Tuesday's topper surpassed the previous co-record-holders, who each brought $1.8 million. Pacific, a Smart Strike colt sold to Stonestreet Stables at the 2013 edition, and Garifine, a son of Belong to Me, who went to Buzz Chace, agent at the 2006 sale.
“He is the best-pedigreed horse I've ever brought to the sale that I thought was a really nice horse,” said Sequel's Becky Thomas. “I've sold some really nice horses that don't have the pedigree he does. I trained Artemis Agrotera, and her sisters and brothers, so it's really special for me.”
The dark bay or brown colt is out of the stakes-placed Malibu Moon mare Golden Artemis, making him a half-brother to G1 winner My Conquestadory and stakes-placed Saharan. The colt received a critical catalog update when Bourbon War, out of My Conquestadory, established himself on the Kentucky Derby trail with a strong runner-up finish in the G2 Fountain of Youth Stakes.
He breezed a quarter-mile in :21 1/5 seconds.
“He had a great work and I liked the size of him,” Best said. “When he grows up, he's going to be the right size. He's got a lot of speed, his gallop-out was strong, and I love the dam. I looked at a Medaglia d'Oro out of her some years ago, and he was really fast. He got hurt, but I never forgot the strength of the dam.”
Hoby and Layna Kight consigned the colt, as agent. The Kights purchased him privately as members of a partnership following last year's Keeneland September yearling sale, where the horse was an RNA at $190,000.
“As soon as the hammer fell, I called Craig [Bandoroff of consignor Denali Stud], and he loved the horse, too,” Hoby Kight said. “He's got all the right stuff. He got big, he's got stretch, and he got a big update and worked really well. He just did everything you'd want a horse to do in a breeze show.”
Phoenix Thoroughbreds made its presence known with the $825,000 purchase of Hip 240, a Bernardini colt out of the Canadian champion Regal Classic mare Inish Glora, whose notable runners include Woodbine Oaks winner Roan Inish and G3-placed In Equality. King's Equine consigned the colt, who breezed a quarter in :9 4/5 seconds.
Japan's Northern Farm went into familiar territory to land Hip 147, a Candy Ride filly, for $675,000. The filly is out of the winning Ghostzapper mare Eltimaas, making her a half-sister to champion sprinter and young Japanese stallion Drefong. Top Line Sales consigned the filly, as agent, and she breezed a quarter in :10 flat.
“We're going to bring her back to Japan and hope she will have a good racing career,” said Northern Farm's Yasuhiro Matsumoto.
Prince Sultan Bin Mishaal Al Saud of Saudi Arabia swung boldly as he began to expand his North American racing interests, highlighted by a pair of high six-figure purchase.
He landed Hip 92, a Speightstown filly, for $650,000 to top his day-one purchases. The chestnut filly is out of the G2-placed Mizzen Mast filly C J's Leelee, who is herself the dam of stakes-placed C J's Awesome. Niall Brennan Stables consigned the filly, who breezed an eighth in :10 flat.
Also joining the prince's stable was Hip 169, an American Pharoah filly out of the stakes-winning Flatter mare Flattermewithroses. Consigned by de Meric Sales, agent, the filly breezed a quarter-mile in 20 4/5 seconds.
“Prince Sultan Bin Mishaal Al Saud is starting to develop a program in the U.S., so he's buying some quality fillies to get going,” said Emmanuel de Seroux of bloodstock agency Narvick International.
De Seroux said a decision on who would train the fillies would come at a later time, but they would remain in the country.
The seven-figure duo helped propel gains in gross sales during Tuesday's opening session, with 144 juveniles bringing $22,134,000, up 9 percent from last year, when 129 horses brought $20,327,000.
While bulk numbers were up, the average figures took a mild hit on Tuesday. The average sale price declined 2 percent to $153,708, while the median fell 12 percent to $83,500. The end-of-day buyback rate finished at 29.8 percent.
“I thought it was a very good day,” said OBS sales director Tod Wojciechowski. “There were some very nice horses up today, and consignors were well-rewarded for those horses.
“If you look at the numbers, our gross was up quite a bit, but yet our average and median were slightly under last years, and that tells me not only were our expensive horses moving, but the lesser-priced horses were also selling,” he continued. “We sold 20-odd head more than last year, but we're talking almost identical numbers. It was nice to see horses of different levels being sold well.”
Sequel Bloodstock was the day's leading consignor by gross, with six horses sold for $2,765,000, while the partnership that bought the $2-million session-topper was Tuesday's top buyer with the day's lone purchase.
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