04/18/2008 12:00AM

15 Florida first-crop stallions represented

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Florida's three 2008 selected sales of 2-year-olds in training - the Ocala Breeders' Sales Company's February and March auctions and Fasig-Tipton in February - are in the books. What remains for juvenile sales are the OBS spring sale and the OBS June sale. Both of these auctions are non-selective, and both have been growing in terms of numbers, averages, and median prices.

The OBS spring sale is the biggest sale of its kind anywhere. The 1,381 cataloged for this auction, which begins on Tuesday and continues through Friday, offers nearly half again as many 2-year-olds in training as the three Florida selected sales of 2-year-olds in training combined.

Business has been good this year for the OBS. The February auction was up in all categories, and the March sale set a new standard for average and median prices.

This puts Tom Ventura, the OBS sales director, in a positive frame of mind entering the spring sale.

"Bigger should be better," said Ventura. "This sale has something for everyone. There's a horse to fit just about every need. If you race in New York and want a New York-bred 2-year-old, there are 150 cataloged. If you want to race in Pennsylvania, there 17 Pa-breds in the catalog. The market in Ocala has been strong despite the uncertain economic conditions and I think our spring sale will be strong as well."

There are 15 Florida stallions represented by first crops in the April sale. The two with the greatest representation are Omega Code and Roar of the Tiger, who both stand at Hartley/De Renzo Walmac South. Omega Code is a Grade 3 stakes-winning son of Elusive Quality. The bay stallion with the white socks has 32 of his get cataloged. Roar of the Tiger, a full brother to the leading sire Giant's Causeway, has 25 of his get in the sale.

Gimmeawink, another son of Elusive Quality, stands at Hidden Point Farm. There are 20 by this first-crop stallion in the sale. Black Mambo is also a first-crop stallion, and there are 19 by this son of Kingmambo cataloged. Black Mambo is stakes-placed; his claim to fame, however, rests with his family connection to A.P. Indy and to Lemon Drop Kid. Black Mambo holds court at Bridlewood Farm, as does Unbridled Image, a half-brother to the Bridlewood Farm sire Halo's Image. Unbridled Image placed from a few starts. He has 10 from his first crop cataloged.

The leading Florida sires through the first quarter are Ocala Stud's Trippi and Bridlewood Farm's duo of Halo's Image and Put It Back. All three stallions have sired the winners of a million dollars or more during the quarter. Put It Back and the Repent, who stands at the Vinery, are tied in the category of stakes winners with three each. Since Repent only has one crop racing for him, this is no doubt a harbinger of things to come. In the most winners category, Trippi leads with 33 and following him is Ocala Stud's venerable Montbrook with 30.

David McKathan is the agent, via M & H Training and Sales, for approximately 80 2-year-olds to be sold at the OBS spring sale.

"We started with more, but it looks like we'll be trying to sell about 80," said McKathan.

It is not easy keeping track of 80 head, but McKathan says that over the past five years, he worked his training routine out through trial and error and he has everything under control.

"The numbers are no problem," said McKathan.

Like most consignors to Tuesday's spring auction, McKathan's confidence is high.

"This sale has good middle and bottom support," he said. "While you usually expect to take some of your selected sales consignment home, this sale attracts buyers from all over the world. I would not be surprised if I took no horses home from this sale. I think it's a real good sale and getting better all the time."