The opening session of the Ocala Breeders' Sales Co. Spring Sale of 2-Year-Olds in Training took a bit of time to get started on Tuesday, both in the literal sense of the start time and the pace of trade, but the returns finished on a generally positive note.
Tuesday's session saw 148 horses sold for revenues of $14,243,500, down 10 percent from last year's cork-popper, when 168 juveniles brought $15,904,000. While bulk figures were down, the average sale price rose two percent to $96,240, while the median grew 12 percent to $58,500.
The buyback rate finished at 29 percent, which OBS director of sales Tod Wojciechowski said will go down significantly as private sales are made after the hammer.
“I think it was a good, solid start, and we've still got three days left,” he said.
While the average and median figures ended up in the black for the day, they did so after trailing last year's final opening-day numbers for a significant chunk of the early trade.
Ciaran Dunne of Wavertree Stables attributed the rather sluggish start to a couple factors tied to the pre-sale under-tack show. Originally scheduled from Monday, April 15 through Saturday, April 20, the Friday and Saturday sessions were cancelled due to weather and combined to run on Sunday. OBS also pushed back the start time for Tuesday's opening session from 10:30 a.m. to noon to allow for more inspection time.
“Today was about what we expected,” Dunne said. “Unfortunately, the horses selling early that got hit with the headwind the first day (Hips 1-203 of today's 304-hip session), and then with the change in the schedule, I think people got a little behind. People who came in late almost bypassed today, with the combination of the times the horses went and the time they had to do their work. I think the thing is going to get stronger as it goes.”
To form with Dunne's statement, the session-topper came late in the day when trainer Timothy Wells landed a Hard Spun colt on behalf of owner Patrick Welsh for $430,000.
The chestnut colt, offered as Hip 207, is out of the stakes-winning Pulpit mare Katerbug, who is the dam of three winners from five foals to race. Grade 1 winners Dream Deal, Clear Mandate, and Strong Mandate are in the extended family.
“I really liked the colt,” Hills said. “My client's expanding his stable, and he said, 'Go buy me some horses, and I don't want to finish second in the bidding.' He bought one in Miami for $350,000, and then he said, 'Let's get some more.' I was slowing down, but my wife kept elbowing me and saying, 'Go one more.'”
Hills said the colt would join his stable at Monmouth Park.
Wavertree Stables consigned the colt, as agent. He was a $105,000 purchase at last year's Keeneland September yearling sale, and he breezed a quarter-mile in :21 seconds flat over the Ocala Training Center's all-weather Safetrack surface during the pre-sale under-tack show.
“He worked great and he's a beautiful horse,” Dunne said. “We didn't really see that coming, but it was a pleasant surprise.”
Katsumi Yoshida of Northern Farm set the early bar for the sale, going to $425,000 for an Uncle Mo colt.
The bay colt is out of the French stakes-placed Lomitas mare Isobel Baillie, whose six winners from eight runners includes Grade 2 winner Isabella Sings, Grade 3-placed stakes winner Alaura Michele, and stakes winner Tobacco Road. Group 1 winner Campanologist is in the extended family.br
“He had everything,” said bloodstock agent Emmanuel de Seroux of Narvick International, who signed the ticket. “He's a beautiful horse with a great pedigree, he's a great mover, so we have high hopes for him.”
de Seroux said the colt, offered as Hip 169, landed safely within his projected price range.
The colt's pedigree spans the globe in all directions, including Japan. British-bred Isobel Baillie us a half-sister to Marine Winner, who raced for the Darley Japan operation. She, in turn, is the dam of multiple Japanese stakes winner White Fugue.
Consigned by Niall Brennan, agent, the colt breezed a quarter-mile in :21 4/5 seconds during the under-tack show.
Brennan finished as the day's leading consignor by gross, with five horses sold for a combined $1,175,000. Narvick International was the day's top buyer, with eight purchases totaling $1,175,000.
To view the full results from Tuesday's session, click here.
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