OBS October Sale wrap

Gustavo Valadez of Abbie Road Farm, Agent XVI, leads Hip 442, a dark bay or brown colt by Ransom The Moon, around the outside walking ring as he shows the thoroughbred to prospective buyers during the OBS October Open Yearlings Sale at the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Company in Ocala on Oct. 13. [Bruce Ackerman/Ocala Gazette]
Buyers of Thoroughbred horses have spent the better part of the last few months demonstrating an insatiable appetite for acquiring top-class yearlings in Kentucky and New York auction rings. This week, the trend continued in Ocala with the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Company’s October Yearling Sale, Oct. 12-13, generating pronounced increases across all key economic categories.

The two-day auction, which featured a select session on Tuesday, followed by an open session on Wednesday, saw a total of 372 head sell over both days for gross receipts of $9,634,000.

In the select session, 108 horses changed hands for a total of $4,714,500, an increase of 38.8% over last year’s corresponding session (held during uncertainties brought about from the COVID-19 pandemic) where 86 yearlings sold for $3,397,000. The average price was $43,648, a 10.5% hike compared with $39,500 a year ago, while the median price came in at $32,000, representing a 14.3% gain compared with $28,000 in 2020. The buyback percentage (horses not sold) was 19.4%; it was 36.3% t last year.

A total of 276 head sold in Wednesday’s open session for gross sales of $5,173,500, compared to 258 horses sold for $2,811,900 in the corresponding session last year. The average was $18,745, marking a 72% increase over last year’s open session average of $10,899. The median price came in at $15,000; it was $7,500 a year ago. The buyback percentage was 18.1%, compared with 21.3% a year ago.

“The market has been consistent with the rest of the year,” said Tom Ventura, president of OBS. “When you compare numbers to 2020, it’s not fair (due to uncertainties around COVID-19). Those numbers should be up. But when you compare it to 2019, the median and average are both up, so that’s a positive sign.

“I think with this sale, there was some real depth to the market as well,” Ventura added. “We didn’t have a breakout horse in the select session, but overall, the numbers did very well in terms of average and median.”

Hip 67, a colt from the second crop of Midnight Storm, and Hip 442, a colt from the first crop of Ransom the Moon, each brought $170,000 to top the sale. Both top sellers were consigned by Lisa McGreevy’s Abbie Road Farm, which also sold last year’s October sale topper, a $225,000 Not This Time colt purchased by Tonja Terranova, agent.

Elusive Thoroughbreds signed for Hip 67 in Tuesday’s select session. Bred in Pennsylvania by Mary Katherine Haire, the colt is produced from the stakes-winning Unbridled Energy mare, Sterling Madame. The dark bay or brown colt is a half-brother to 10-time winner, Sterling Miss, an earner of $362,154.

Hip 442, who sold to Redwings in the open session, is out of the Aikenite mare, Bold Lady, and descends from the prolific family of A.P. Indy. The Kentucky-bred colt’s third dam is Weekend Surprise (by Secretariat), Broodmare of the Year in 1992 and the dam of Horse of the Year and two-time leading sire, A.P. Indy, as well as Classic winner, Summer Squall.

A pair of Florida-bred yearlings—Hips four and 121—fetched the second-highest price of the sale, each selling for $125,000. Hip four, bought by Elusive Thoroughbreds, is a colt by Florida’s leading stallion Khozan, who stands at Ocala’s Journeyman Stud. The bay colt, bred by Stonehedge Farm and consigned by Beth Bayer, agent, is out of the Wildcat Heir mare, Karen’s Wildcat, and hails from the family of Grade 3 winner, Uncle Vinny.

Hip 121, a colt by Kantharos, sold to Finisterre Racing. Bred by Rustlewood Farm and consigned by Florida-based Summerfield Sales (Francis and Barbara Vanlangendonck), the Sunshine State product is produced from the Holy Bull mare, Gospel Girl, and is a half-brother to graded stakes winner and OBS graduate, Happy Farm, winner of the 2019 Fall Highweight Handicap (G3) at Aqueduct.

“He is a really nice colt,” said Summerfield’s Francis Vanlangendonck. “He is an athletic colt. Kantharos gets you a racehorse, and this colt is a big, long, stretchy Kantharos. He is a really pretty horse.”

The highest-priced filly of the select session was Hip 22, an Indiana-bred daughter of Kantharos who sold to Al London for $120,000. Consigned by Silver Oaks Farm (Danielle Loya), the filly is out of the winning General Meeting mare, Meetmeontime, and is a full sister to graded stakes winner, Bucchero, who stands as a stallion at Pleasant Acres Farm in Morriston.

The top-priced filly in the open session was Hip 406, a daughter of Ocala Stud stallion, Awesome Slew, who sold to RiceHorse for $100,000. Bred by Janet Erwin and consigned by Camelot Acres Racing and Sales, the Florida-bred filly, a half-sister to multiple stakes winner and OBS graduate, Hear My Prayer, is out of the stakes-winning Songandaprayer mare, Additional Prayer.

In commenting on the importance of the October sale to Florida’s Thoroughbred industry, Ventura said, “It is very important. As a sales company, we need the Florida market to be strong. We can sell horses that are bred anywhere, but our backyard needs to be strong. We need to see the people breeding horses here rewarded.

“We’re getting over that pandemic hump, and we are moving in the right direction,” he continued. “Hopefully, the (sale) results are a sign of better things to come.”

The October sale concludes the 2021 sale schedule for OBS. The next auction will take place Jan. 25-26, 2022, when OBS conducts its Winter Mixed Sale, which will also feature a Horses of Racing Age offering.

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