03/29/2007 11:00PM

Back-to-back sales both successful

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In the days preceding Tuesday and Wednesday’s Ocala Breeders’ Sales Co.’s select auction of 2-year-olds in training, the prevailing sentiment was that this sale could test the middle of the market.

“We passed the test,” said Tom Ventura, the general manager and sales director of the OBS, and the sales results show that Ventura was on the mark.

Coming off a sales record in ’06, bolstered in part by a $1.9 million purchase, the OBS sold 253 this year compared with 286 in ’06. The company reported a gross of $26.5 million compared with $31 million in ’06, and a dip in the average, $104,905 versus $108,545 last year. But there was a 9 percent rise in the median price to a record $82,000 from $75,000 last year. That’s a median price increase of $27,000 in the past two years. The buy-back rate came in at 33 percent. Last year it was 27 percent and the year before 32 percent. The number of 2-year-olds who brought or exceeded $200,000 bids went up from last year’s 27 to 35 at this sale.

Eisaman Equine Services repeated as the leading consignor. In ’06 Eisaman Equine Services sold 26 for a gross of $2.9 million. This year the Barry Eisaman operation sold 21 of 27 consigned, for a gross of $2.5 million. This included the sales-topper, Hip No. 276, a colt by Forest Wildcat, who brought a bid of $900,000 from John Ferguson Bloodstock. The colt was a yearling pin-hook for $120,000.

Adena Springs sale makes boss happy

Adena Springs South general manager Mark Roberts said he was “happy with the result” of the sixth annual sale of the farm’s homebred 2-year-olds in training, which was held at Frank Stronach’s Adena Springs South on Monday evening.

“And, more important,” he added, “Frank is pleased.”

The sale is unique in that it is a sale of homebreds only and that the format of the sale precludes time trials. If they were foaled prior to May 1, the sale horses are asked to gallop along through the homestretch of the mile training track, while those with later foaling dates are asked to canter. All the 2-year-olds participated in two under-tack shows. The first was March 13 over the turf course, and the second was last Sunday on the dirt training track.

Trainer Vinnie Blengs purchased Hip No. 15, a bay colt by Running Stag out of stakes-placed Carson’s Baby, by Carson City, for $105,000.

“A strong gallop is all you really need,” he said regarding sales preparation. “I also like being able to see how these horses handle both dirt and turf. The colt I bought showed he can handle both, and that’s good to know.”

The Adena Springs catalog listed 141, of which nine were withdrawn. Four of the nine were placed in a racing syndicate open to investors at $50,000 per share. Of the 132 through the ring, 90 sold, 25 more than in ’06, and they brought $4.9 million ($54,531 average), compared with 65 last year who brought $4.4 million ($67,646). The buy-back rate was approximately 32 percent.

There were only two of the 132 through the sales ring that brought bids of $200,000 or more. Mike Ryan, agent went to $200,000 for a Kentucky-bred son of El Prado. The colt is the second foal of the listed stakes winner Dial a Song, by Mining.

Trainer Cam Gambolati was agent in the purchase of Hip No. 74, a daughter of Sky Mesa out of a winning half-sister to the multiple Grade 1 stakes winner Devil His Due. Gambolati signed the $210,000 tab on behalf of client Ol Memorial Stable.

Four down, two to go

Counting the Adena Springs Farm auction, there have been four Florida sales of 2-year-olds in training. The first was the OBS February sale, which was scheduled to be held at Calder Race Course but was relocated to Ocala, then came Fasig-Tipton’s auction at Calder Race Course, followed by Adena Springs and this past week’s OBS March selected sale.

There are two more 2-year-olds in training sales on the calendar: The OBS spring sale, April 24-27, and the OBS June sale, June 16-17.

“It’s been a good sales season so far,” said Ventura of the OBS. “And I do not foresee any deterioration down the road.”