08/27/2009 11:00PM

BC3 Future Stars sale draws interest

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LEXINGTON, Ky. - Yearling-to-juvenile resellers BC3 Thoroughbreds has deepened its involvement in the international Thoroughbred marketplace this year, with the ultimate goal of attracting global pinhooking investors and expanding 2-year-old in training sales' popularity.

BC3 held its first Future Stars preview day and sale Aug. 23 at Sutton Grange training farm in Victoria, Australia. The event attracted well-known trainers, including Gai Waterhouse, and agents from Australia and Asia.

BC3 Thoroughbreds billed Future Stars as a gallop preview but let it be known that all its horses are for sale at any time. During lunch, it conducted an auction with announced reserves. By day's end, it had sold 14 juveniles for a total of about $1,409,520 for horses that collectively cost approximately $438,594 at auction. The highest price was the $176,400 that Gary Mudgway Bloodstock paid for a Johannesburg-Musical Chimes colt that BC3 bought last year for about $73,752.

John Brocklebank and Shane Chipman founded BC3 in Utah and were fixtures on the select sale circuit here. In 2007, they expanded to Australia, where they felt the yearling-to-juvenile pinhooking market was underused. Brocklebank and Chipman sold BC3 late last year, though they are still heavily involved in yearling selection and training. BC3's new chief executive is Melbourne-based Bill Vlahos. He has hired former financial analyst Travis Smith as equine operations manager and former jockey Simon Marshall to do marketing.

"He wanted to take our skills as horsemen and combine them with his ability for business," Brocklebank said. "What he's done is base BC3 in Australia, but he wants to take it worldwide. We buy our own horses and offer our own horses, and that makes it a lot easier to do, especially when you're selling this kind of product. If you're doing this as an agent, sometimes you might get horses and get them ready to sell, but you might not really believe in them. But these horses, we've bought them and trained them the way we want, and we can really offer a product that we know everything about.

"We're allowed to pick out what we want with his funding, and we're allowed to train them our way. We're only a 2-year-old selling company, so we don't have to keep anything to run unless there's something that can't quite make its reserve."

The company has gotten some good advertising this year through one of its sale buybacks, Deer Valley. The Lonhro filly, now 3, won an Australian Group 3 on Aug. 22, the day before the Future Stars sale. Another buyback, 2-year-old Dane Babylon, by Danewin, won at Flemington before BC3 sold him to an anonymous Hong Kong buyer in late July.

"We're going to buy and sell everywhere," said Brocklebank, "but we're focusing on the Asian market. Bill has submitted an application for a racing license in Japan, so we can get our product out there."

Sunriver dies at age 6

Grade 1-winning stallion Sunriver has died at age 6, just two years into his stud career at Empire Stud near Hudson, N.Y. The son of Saint Ballado died suddenly Aug. 25 in his pasture. Full necropsy results are pending, but preliminary indications are that the cause of death was either a heart attack or aneurysm, according to an Empire Stud announcement.

Sunriver was a full brother to champion Ashado. Aaron and Marie Jones bred and raced Sunriver. He bred 83 mares in 2009 and 90 in 2008. He stood this year for an advertised fee of $12,500.

Empire Stud and a syndicate led by Jeffrey Tucker bought Sunriver privately in January 2008 from the Joneses, who remained involved as shareholders in the horse at stud. Shareholders also included Taylor Made Farm in Kentucky, where Sunriver was foaled.

Sunriver was out of the Mari's Book mare Goulash. He won 6 of 17 starts and earned $816,414. His three stakes victories came in the Grade 1 Hollywood Turf Cup and Grade 2 Bowling Green Handicap in 2007 and in the Grade 2 Peter Pan in 2006.

OBS yearling sale posts declines

The Ocala Breeders' Sales Company's August yearling sale ended Thursday with double-digit declines that signal continuing difficulties for this season's yearling sellers.

Thursday's session-topper was Hip No. 907, a $38,000 Congrats filly out of Red Hot Star, by Tabasco Cat. Vinery Stables purchased the dark bay or brown filly from Lisa McGreevy's Abbie Road Farm agency.

The three open sessions in Ocala, Fla., ended with 549 yearlings sold for a total of $3,879,900, down 39 percent from last year's gross for 628 horses. Average price fell 30 percent to $7,067, and median declined 27 percent to $4,000. But the buyback rate improved, from 32 percent last season to 27 percent.

The open session's top price was the $100,000 that Repole Stable paid for the Woodside Ranch agency's Wildcat Heir-Afleet Closer filly.

The four-day auction began with a single select session that sold 113 horses for $3,708,500, a 34 percent decrease from last year's total for the same number. The $32,819 average price was down 34 percent, and the $25,000 median was off by 38 percent. The select session's top yearling by price - and the overall sale-topper - was a $275,000 Medaglia d'Oro filly out of stakes winner Lolabell, by Phone Trick. Live Oak Plantation bought the filly from Francis and Barbara Vanlangendonck's Summerfield agency.

Despite the softer market, the buyback rate for the select session decreased, falling from last year's 44 percent to 38 percent.