Many sale-goers predicted the second session of the Ocala Breeders' Sales Co. Spring Sale of 2-Year-Olds In Training would have a higher tempo than Tuesday's opener, and they were spot-on. Twelve horses sold for more money than Tuesday's high price of $430,000, led by a $1-million Quality Road filly.
Wednesday's session finished with 171 horses sold for revenues of $22,360,500, up 15 percent from last year's day-two gross of $19,478,500. The average sale price was up 28 percent to $130,763, while the median jumped 45 percent to $80,000. The buyback rate was 21.6 percent, up from 17.7 percent in 2018.
At the auction's halfway point, a total of 331 juveniles changed hands for $37,416,500, marking a gain of 5 percent from $35,382,500 at the same point in 2018. The average was ahead 15 percent to $113,041, the median rose 27 percent to $70,000.
The seven-figure barrier was broken for the first time of this year's sale when bloodstock agent Emmanuel de Seroux's Narvick International landed a Quality Road filly for $1 million.
De Seroux signed for an unnamed client, though the agent said the filly would likely remain in the U.S. for her racing career.
The bay filly, offered as Hip 444, is out of the Accelerator mare Paris Rose, whose two winners from four runners are both black type-earners. Decelerator is a Grade 3 winner who is herself the dam of South African G2 winner Nafaayes, while Cool Blue Red Hot is G2-placed in the U.S. Paris Rose is herself a sibling to Paris Notion, who is the dam of City of Light.
The filly breezed an eighth in :9 4/5 seconds over the Ocala Training Center's all-weather Safetrack surface.
“She was a very easy mover,” de Seroux said. “Not only did she run fast, she did it effortlessly. A lot of horses can run fast, but she did it in style.”
De Meric Sales consigned the filly, as agent, after buying her for $220,000 at last year's Keeneland September yearling sale.
“It's been a little while since we've sold a million-dollar horse, but if ever there was one that we've had in recent years that looked like she could do it, this was the one,” said consignor Nick de Meric. “It's like she breathes different air. She's a different filly.”
De Meric said the filly's strong physical and the strength of Quality Road were the appealing factors that drew his family's operation to buy her, and she continued to go in the right direction over the winter.
“I've got to give Tristan and Valerie, my son and daughter-in-law, all the credit,” de Meric said. “They've had her in their division the whole winter, they've done a magnificent job with her. I've watched her right through the process, and she's just done everything you could ask of a young horse in training. She's had no setbacks, she's never missed any time for health, soundness, or mental reasons. Frankly, they don't come along like her very often.”
Clearly, de Meric had high expectations for the filly, but when a potential seven-figure price tag is hanging on those expectations, the pressure is just as lofty.
“I've been doing this an awful long time, and I don't get any less nervous going to these breeze shows than I did when I started,” he said. “When we've got one that we feel is special, it quadruples everything.
“I've got a bit of a knee going on at the moment, so Tristan has been doing the ponying side of things and I've been watching from the frontside,” de Meric continued. “I know exactly what's going through his head and he knows what's going through my head. As we watch her going down the backside, it's like, 'Is the rider going to break on time? Is she going to get the lead right? Is she going to do what we think she's capable of doing from what she's done at home?' Mercifully, the answer's been yes on all accounts.”
Day two of the sale suffered none of the sluggishness of yesterday's opening day of trade, paced early in the day by a Tiznow colt who sold to bloodstock agency Solis/Litt for $600,000.
The bay colt, offered as Hip 321, is out of the Grade 3-placed Marquetry mare Marquee Delivery, whose four foals to race are all winners, including G1-winning sprinter Promises Fulfilled, G3-placed stakes winner Marquee Miss, and stakes-placed Marquee Cal Gal.
De Meric Sales consigned the colt, as agent for Tami Bobo's First Finds, which purchased the colt for $100,000 at last year's Fasig-Tipton Kentucky Fall Yearling Sale.
“Tami Bobo believed in the horse, and he got some significant updates under the first dam,” said Tristan de Meric. “He's very straightforward, and we've been very high on this colt for a long time. We weren't surprised by the way he breezed or the way he sold.”
The colt breezed a quarter-mile in :21-flat over the Ocala Training Center's all-weather Safetrack surface during the presale under-tack show.
“Everything he does is effortless,” de Meric said. “He just looks like he does it so easily. He looked like he wasn't even trying, and the other horses had to do so much more to keep up with him. I think he's going to be a special horse down the road.”
The bay colt is a full-brother to G1 winner Lighthouse Bay, from the family of G1 winner It's the One. Consigned by Scanlon Training & Sales, as agent for Bruno DeBerdt's Excel Bloodstock, the colt breezed an eighth in :9 4/5 seconds.
DeBerdt initially purchased the colt for $135,000 at last year's Keeneland September yearling sale.
The dark bay or brown colt, who went through the ring as Hip 368, is out of the unraced Malibu Moon mare Moon Beamy, whose two foals to race are both winners, including stakes winner Daddy Justice. His third dam is the G2 winner Lazer Show.
Old South Farm consigned the colt, as agent. He breezed an eighth in :10-flat.
Though he is based in Arkansas, owner Frank Fletcher went big for an Ontario-bred, landing Hip 332, a Curlin colt, for $525,000.
The chestnut colt is out of the G2-placed Stormy Atlantic mare Mekong Delta, who is herself a full sister to Canadian champion Leonnatus Anteas. The extended family includes U.S. champion Sistercharlie and English champion Noalcoholic.
“We love Curlin,” Fletcher said. “I was in the Arkansas Derby with Curlin (running Officer Rocket). They brought him in, I looked at him, and I said, 'We're not gonna win.' I remember he was a big, strapping horse, and he walked away with the Arkansas Derby. I've always liked him, even though he beat me.”
Fletcher said he was impressed by the way the colt handled the sale process, from showing at the barns to managing the hectic back ring of the pavilion.
“We're getting to where we're looking at the mind as much as the ability,” he said. “If they're calm walking around here they'll be calm when you put them in the gate. If they're crazy out here, by the time they get ready to race, it doesn't matter what ability they have, they become very crazy. We've bought some expensive horses where their mind was not as good as their body.”
Fletcher said he was unsure which trainer would end up with the new purchase. He breezed a furlong in :10 2/5 seconds.
The colt was consigned by Niall Brennan Stables as agent for Ontario-based breeder Josham Farms, which also bred dam Mekong Delta and bought second dam South Sea Blues as a yearling.
“He was a little bit behind growing up, so we just waited until we got him a little more mature, and if you look at the colt, you can see there's a whole lot of potential left in him,” said Ted Burnett of Josham Farms. “He's a late-bloomer, and six months from now, he's going to be a big, powerful horse.”
De Meric Sales was Wednesday's leading consignor, with six horses bringing $2,102,000, including the day's top two prices. Solis/Litt was the top buyer, with three purchases totaling $1,450,000.
To view the full results from Wednesday's session, click here.
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