OBS sets record sales numbers

Casey Dyer of Coastal Equine LLC shows Hip 826, a chestnut filly by Bustin Stones to prospective buyers in the outside walking ring on the final day of the OBS June Two-Year-Olds and Horses of Racing Age sale at the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Company in Ocala, Fla. on Friday, June 11, 2021. [Bruce Ackerman/Ocala Gazette] 2021.

Home » Equine
Posted June 18, 2021 | By Carlos Medina, carlos@ocalagazette.com

What a difference a year makes.

Casey Dyer of Coastal Equine LLC shows Hip 826. [Bruce Ackerman/OG]

The Ocala Breeders’ Sales Co. just closed out its 2-year-old thoroughbred season with back-to-back record sales in April and June.

The June sale ended with 560 two-year-old thoroughbreds sold for a record $24,492,950. That figure topped the previous high mark for a June sale set in 2015 when the auction took in $23,608,500.

The record comes a year after 519 horses sold for $15,864,300. It closed out a year upended by the COVID-19 pandemic that saw demand for racehorses crater along with prices.

“I think we were all expecting a much more stable market, but I don’t think anyone expected the market to move up that significantly. It certainly was welcome for everyone involved,” said Tom Ventura, OBS president.

June’s record was no fluke. In April, the sales company posted another record after 723 horses sold for $73,907,900. Last year, 634 horses sold for $57,715,000.

The previous record was set in 2019 when 674 horses sold for $72,945,000.

While the March OBS sale did not set a record, it did beat 2020 sales totals. This year, 327 horses sold for $38,190,000 compared with in 2020 when 295 horses sold for $27,349,500.

All told, OBS sold $139,590,850 in horse flesh in 2021, compared to $100,928,800 last year.

In 2020, OBS introduced online bidding for the first time. The option registered its first $1 million sale this year after Katsumi Yoshida went to $1 million for an Arrogate filly in April. The filly was consigned by Marion County’s Mayberry Farm.

It was among several purchases made by Japanese buyers.

“We sold three horses for half a million each to an internet buyer in Japan,” Ventura said. “It’s becoming more common.”

Ventura said despite the online sales, participation by international buyers was down due to ongoing travel restrictions. South Korean buyers were absent this year. Horsemen from the country account for several million dollars in purchases every year. The horses are shipped to South Korea to race and breed.

According to Ventura, the jump in sales may be due to pent up demand.

“It may be a case of people just wanting to get back to doing something they love. You look at the race cards and purses and there is some decent money in some parts of the country,” he said. “I don’t know. We provide the product as best as we can and let the market dictate it from there.”

The next sale at OBS is the October yearling auction that will feature young horses born in 2020. 

“In general, if the market has been good through the spring it typically will transfer to a strong yearling market,” Ventura said. “People weathered the storm and are now able to see some daylight.”

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