01/20/2017 12:00PM

Bit of uncertainty to OBS winter mixed sale

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Barbara D. Livingston
The Ocala Breeders' Sales Co. is renovating its sales pavilion.

The Ocala Breeders’ Sales Co.’s auction calendar is as much under construction as its facilities are in 2016 and 2017, and the marketplace will see the first effects of those changes next week at the OBS winter mixed sale.

The sale comprises the entirety of the auction house’s breeding-stock season for this cycle, after OBS canceled last fall’s mixed sale in October to allow more time for the sweeping renovations to the pavilion area to take place.

This will mean some temporary adjustments for those congregated around the sale ring, but OBS president Tom Ventura said the differences, cosmetic or otherwise, should not affect the course of trade.

“We’ve got a few more horses in this sale than we did in the sale last year,” he said. “We’re waiting to see how it all turns out, but I expect a similar market to what we would have seen in the fall sale. “I think the mixed sales have been pretty consistent. The horses that have jumped through the hoops and met the criteria, which is very demanding, have sold very well, and the other part of the market is a little light.”

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The two-day sale starts Wednesday with a 192-horse consignor-preferred session, followed immediately by a session for horses of racing age that features 83 entries prior to supplemental additions.

A 349-horse open session wraps up the sale Thursday. Both days of trade will begin at 10:30 a.m. Eastern.

Despite the abbreviated mixed-sale season in central Florida, the number of entries in the winter mixed sale rose only marginally, to 645 from 637.

“There’s really only one chance now for the Florida breeders to buy mares locally, so that’ll be interesting to see how that goes,” said Andrew Cary of consignor Select Sales. “It’s a good place to take short yearlings. There are a lot of buyers down there that don’t come up here for [Keeneland January], they’ve got some orders to fill, and it’s a good excuse for the buyers up here to go down and get a little bit more warm weather.”

While the auction holds true to the standard offerings of an early-year mixed event – primarily broodmares and short yearlings – the OBS winter mixed sale also offers a sizable group of racing-age horses. An optional presale under-tack show will take place at the adjacent Ocala Training Center on Monday at 10 a.m.

The auction also offers an assortment of 2-year-olds. They are only allowed untimed gallops during the breeze show.

OBS is North America’s leading auction house by the number of juveniles offered during the proper spring 2-year-old sale season, which might make selling a juvenile next week with those sales just around the corner seem like an unorthodox decision. However, Ventura said the reasons for entering in January are as unique as the offerings themselves.

“Different people have different goals,” he said. “Some might not want to carry them through their full training and just have a horse that’s been through the initial breaking process and want to let somebody else carry it the rest of the way to a later 2-year-old sale or a racehorse trainer that wants to finish it themselves.”

Last year’s OBS winter mixed sale closed with 300 horses sold for $3,560,400, up 1 percent from the previous renewal. The average sale price fell 9 percent to $12,168, while the median declined 21 percent to $5,500.

The top two prices were rung up for yearlings by Curlin, led by a colt out of the stakes-placed Eavesdropper mare Tapaline who went to the Redbud Partnership for $150,000. The colt was pinhooked for $220,000 at last year’s Keeneland September yearling sale.

Not far behind was a Curlin filly out of the Capote mare Capote Blues who sold to Tyra Holdings for $145,000. She was later sold for $95,000 at the Keeneland September sale.

Also selling for $145,000 was One More Shot, then a 3-year-old Trappe Shot colt who went to trainer Jamie Ness’s Jagger Inc. after winning on debut at Tampa Bay Downs by eight lengths. One More Shot has since won 1 of 6 starts in Florida and the Mid-Atlantic region.