10/12/2017 2:56PM

Destiny Oaks tests waters with first OBS consignment

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Bill and Janet Grube have accomplished plenty throughout their 12 years in the Thoroughbred industry. They have sold their fair share of horses at auction, but selling under the banner of their own Destiny Oaks of Ocala was uncharted territory prior to this week’s Ocala Breeders’ Sales Co. fall yearling sale.

Destiny Oaks is best known for its racing and breeding operation. Star alumni born at the central Florida farm include Grade 3 winner Lucky Player, who ran in the 2014 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile; Quality Rocks, a Grade 3-winning homebred who competed in the 2014 Juvenile Fillies Turf; Canadian Derby winner Edison; and multiple stakes-winning homebred She’s Our Annie.

“I got the Grube family into the business by buying good families that I was familiar with, yearling fillies,” farm manager Michael Helmbrecht said. “If they had a little chip or something here or there, it wasn’t a big deal, and some of them turned out to be good broodmares and decent racehorses. We got stakes horses going and are trying to build families.”

It was a relatively quiet dip of the toe into the marketplace, with Destiny Oaks offering 14 yearlings in the sale’s open session between their own stock and as agent for others, but the initial group was well-received. Thirteen of the 14 offerings changed hands in the ring or privately by the end of Wednesday’s session for revenues of $122,900.

Leading the group was a New York-bred Mission Impazible colt who sold to Blas Perez Stables for $29,000. Out of the More Than Ready mare Kettle’s Sister, the colt is a full brother to stakes-placed Paz the Bourbon and a half to Grade 3 winner Vinceremos.

“We just wanted to try a new market,” Helmbrecht said. “We have a lot of homebreds, and my daughter had some horses, too, so we just decided to combine them and sell them ourselves.”

In addition to offering products of the Destiny Oaks breeding program, the consignment also handled three yearlings as agent for Becky Thomas’s Sequel Stallions New York.

Destiny Oaks sits on 55 acres neighboring the farm of prominent pinhook buyer and consignor Nick de Meric. Helmbrecht said living on land so well known for nurturing high-level stock has helped play into his methods and create a brand for Destiny Oaks-bred horses.

“They’re usually big, strong kind of horses,” he said. “I moved to Florida from Kentucky because I like to be able to keep my horses outside a lot more and feed the heck out of them. It works for us down here.”

There were plenty of positives to take away from the operation’s maiden consignment, but the auction also was hampered by the kind of bad horse luck that eventually hits every seller.

Destiny Oaks initially had one horse cataloged for the OBS fall yearling sale’s select session, a half-sister to Quality Rocks by Union Rags, but she never made it to the sale grounds.

“We had a really nice filly that we thought was going to be at the top of the sale, but she colicked and died,” Helmbrecht said. “I kept her from Saratoga to put her in this sale, just to put in a star that people would come watch, and that’s the way it goes.

“She didn’t act like she was that sick, but I sent her into surgery and she didn’t make it,” he continued. “It’s part of the game.”