03/14/2017 6:34PM

$1.25 million Orb colt tops first day of OBS March 2-year-old sale


The opening session of the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Co. March sale of 2-year-olds in training continued to showcase the polarized market set during last year’s juvenile season, with steady monetary returns at the cost of a significantly higher buyback rate.

Tuesday’s session was topped by a colt from the first crop of Claiborne Farm stallion Orb, who sold to a partnership including the Roth family’s LNJ Foxwoods for $1.25 million. Solis/Litt Bloodstock signed the ticket, as agent.

Overall, the opening session saw 137 horses sold for revenues of $26,320,500, down 0.4 percent from last year’s opener when 169 horses brought $26,418,500.

:: Get live coverage of the OBS March sale, including real-time analaysis and live streaming

The average sale price rose 23 percent to $192,120 from $156,322, while the median went unchanged at $110,000.

At the top of the market, the Orb colt was the only horse to sell for seven figures, tying last year’s opening session. The number of horses sold for $500,000 or more rose to 12 from eight last year, while juveniles sold for $250,000 or more grew to 36 from 34.

While returns were positive for horses that found an audience, it also proved to be tough going for the horses that failed to do so. Tuesday’s buyback rate finished at 34 percent, up significantly from last year’s comparable session, which finished at 24 percent.

The bay Orb colt is out of the unraced Forest Wildcat mare Remember, who is the dam of three winners from two foals to race. One of those is Wrath of Ruthie, a Distorted Humor filly who was bought as a yearling by LNJ Foxwoods for $650,000 at the 2013 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga select yearling sale. She has won 3 of 6 starts.

Bred in Kentucky by Dattt Farm, the session-topping colt was a $350,000 purchase by Crupi’s New Castle Farm at last year’s Keeneland September yearling sale. J.J. Crupi’s operation consigned the colt at the OBS March sale, as agent.

The colt's extended family includes champion Heavenly Prize; 1989 Breeders' Cup Sprint winner Dancing Spree; Grade 1 winners Oh What a Windfall, Good Reward, Persistently, Fantastic Find, and Dancing Forever; Grade 2 winners Pure Prize and Dancing All Night; and Grade 3 winners Carrumba and Stays in Vegas.

The colt breezed an eighth of a mile in 10 seconds flat over the Ocala Training Center's all-weather Safetrack surface during the pre-sale under-tack show. A decision on the colt’s trainer remained undecided Tuesday afternoon.

With the transaction, Orb became the first freshman sire to put a seven-figure juvenile through the ring at a North American auction since 2012, when Big Brown was represented by a $1.3 million colt at the Fasig-Tipton Florida select sale of 2-year-olds in training. That colt, purchased by the Coolmore partnership, went on to become Irish Group 3 winner Darwin.

“Several people had told me there were a couple of [Orb juveniles] down there that could sell well, and someone texted me this morning and said that horse could top the sale today, if not be one of the top horses,” said Bernie Sams of Claiborne Farm.

Eddie Woods was the session’s leading consignor, with eight horses sold for a combined $3,155,000. The most expensive horse in his group was an Exchange Rate filly who sold to the Chu family’s Baoma Corp. for $850,000.

Bloodstock agent Dennis O’Neill was Tuesday’s leading buyer, with five purchases totaling $2,135,000. His most expensive purchase came near the end of trade, when he went to $950,000 for a Union Rags filly who tied for the second-highest price of the day.

The OBS March sale concludes Wednesday, beginning at 10:30 a.m. Eastern.

To view the full results from Tuesday’s session, click here.