04/28/2005 11:00PM

Buy-backs a key figure at Ocala sale

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LEXINGTON, Ky. - The Ocala Breeders' Sales Company's spring 2-year-old sale had a bumpy four-day run, ending Thursday evening with slight declines across the board.

The first two sessions produced significant gains as well as the sale-topper, a $375,000 Aptitude-Wolfer colt that Robert and Lawana Low bought from the Eisaman Equine agency. But the final two sessions posted decreases from last year's figures.

Overall, the four-day auction's gross declined 5 percent from last year's sale-record $23,183,000, achieved from the sale of 774 horses. This season, 775 lots brought $22,017,800. The average price and median fell slightly. The average price slipped from last year's sale-record $29,952 to $28,410, and the median dropped from $18,000 last year to $17,000.

Although the declines were relatively shallow from a sale that yielded record figures last year, the 2005 buy-back rate indicated that consignors had expected more of the market this year than they got. The buy-back rate was 29 percent, compared with an unusually low figure of 20 percent last season.

Unusually, the sale included two full siblings to prominent Kentucky Derby contenders, but in the difficult market conditions in the final session, both failed to bring big prices. Hip No. 1211, a full brother to the Wood Memorial winner and likely Derby favorite, Bellamy Road, went to Julio Cartagena for $80,000. Hip No. 1337, a full sister to Santa Anita Derby winner Buzzards Bay, did not sell on a final bid of $40,000 and will return to breeder Jay Shaw. Shaw bred Buzzards Bay and stands his sire, Marco Bay, also a homebred.

"We'll bring her home, and hopefully her brother will keep on going," Shaw said of Buzzards Bay's full sister.

"We certainly thought he'd bring a lot more than that," Bellamy Road's breeder, Dianne Cotter, said of the Grade 1 winner's full brother. "I have no idea why he didn't. I thought more people would want to take a chance on him. "

The final session sold 167 lots for $4,422,200, down from the $6,064,300 that 178 horses brought last year. The average price was $26,480, off 22 percent from last year's, and the median fell 12 percent to $15,000. Buy-backs climbed from 23 percent last year to 34 percent.

Susan's Angel retired

Grade 3 winner Susan's Angel has retired from racing and has arrived at December Farm in Kentucky. Her plans are uncertain, according to Kris Jakeman, who bred Susan's Angel, a 4-year-old Cape Town filly, with her husband.

Raced by the Finney Creek Stable partnership, Susan's Angel won the 2004 Turfway Breeders' Cup Stakes, a Grade 3 event, and the Serena's Song Stakes at Monmouth. She also finished second in the Grade 2 Falls City Handicap and the Bourbonette Breeders' Cup Stakes and ran third in the Grade 2 Churchill Downs Distaff last season. She leaves the track with a lifetime race record of 3-5-2 from 14 starts and earnings of $350,440.

Trained by D. Wayne Lukas, Susan's Angel last ran in the Grade 1 La Brea at Santa Anita on Dec. 27, finishing fourth. While in training at Santa Anita this spring, she cut her left hind leg, which resulted in "a severe localized infection," according to a statement from Finney Creek. After hyperbaric oxygen therapy and antibiotic treatment, the filly has recovered.

Susan's Angel is out of the winning Copelan mare Copeaway and is the mare's best runner to date.

Breeders' funds to be discussed

The Kentucky Thoroughbred Association/ Kentucky Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders, Kentucky Thoroughbred Farm Managers' Club, and Kentucky Equine Education Project will co-host a discussion for Thoroughbred industry participants about the new state breeders' incentive fund. The meeting is set for May 18 at 6 p.m. at Fasig-Tipton's Newtown Pike headquarters in Lexington.

Recent legislation established a Kentucky Thoroughbred Breeders Incentive Fund, which will earmark 80 percent of revenue from stud-fee taxes for breeders' awards. The Kentucky Horse Racing Authority will determine the fund's distribution criteria by Jan. 6, 2006.

The May 18 meeting will focus on ideas for distributing the breeders' incentive funds. More information is available from KEEP at (859) 259-0007, the KTA/KTOB at (859) 381-1414, or the KTFMC at (859) 983-2932.

Art show to benefit adoption agency

The 2005 Equine Art Classic - an exhibition that brings artwork from the United States, Canada, and South Africa - will open May 5 with an art auction to benefit ReRun, the racehorse retirement and adoption agency.

The exhibition and auction will be held at Louisville's Hilton Garden Inn, where the 22-artist exhibition will run from May 5 to 8. Silent auction bidding will be open all day, and the top pieces will be auctioned live at 6:30 p.m. on May 5 in the gallery at the Hilton Garden Inn.

More information is available at www.equineartclassic.com.