06/16/2014 2:34PM

Expanded OBS June sale closes juvenile calendar

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The 2014 juvenile sales season, which generally showed positive trends, will come to an end this week, as the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Co. offers an expanded, four-day edition of its June sale of 2-year-olds in training and horses of racing age.

The auction will be held Tuesday through Friday, and OBS has cataloged 1,178 2-year-olds along with 34 older horses – a 63 percent increase compared with the 2013 catalog – with 210 outs reported as of June 16. Last year’s June sale spanned two days, and set records in gross receipts, average price, and median price for the 2-year-old section.

While earlier select juvenile sales this year at Fasig-Tipton Florida and Keeneland posted mixed results with particularly high buyback rates, trade at both the OBS March select 2-year-old auction and the larger spring 2-year-old sale in April generated robust returns. Both of those sales set records in gross, average, and median – and also ended with more modest RNA rate hikes. The run of record-breaking results at OBS has kept optimism high for the upcoming June sale, which will test the strength of the market’s lower end.

With that in mind, OBS director of sales Tod Wojciechowski said the expanded catalog for the June sale reflects a strong interest from buyers for horses at a variety of price points.

“I think we have a great catalog put together, a great selection for buyers, and our two juvenile sales so far this year have been tremendous, and we hope to continue that trend,” Wojciechowski said. “Any time you increase the size of your catalog that significantly, you hope to try to stay in the same ballpark as far as numbers from previous years, but I am optimistic – I think that the size of the catalog will only draw more buyers.”

The Ocala area, long regarded by horsemen as a hub for horse sales, breeding, and training, has outpaced the general recovery in the bloodstock market over the past couple of years, and Wojciechowski said that is due in part to the familiarity sale participants have with both OBS and the surrounding community.

“First and foremost, the consignors that sell with us bring quality horses, and horses that come out of our sale have gone on and done very well,” he said. “A lot of [consignors] live locally, so I’m sure that helps, in that they can stay right at home, and then have the confidence that they can bring any type of horse at OBS, and that there are buyers here for them. Along with that, buyers have confidence that there are good horses here, and they feel like they can come in here and buy value, or fill the type of orders that they have.”

At last year’s sale, 439 juveniles changed hands for gross receipts of $14,596,700. That record-breaking figure marked a 38 percent increase compared with the juvenile portion of the 2012 sale. The 2013 juvenile portion posted an average of $33,250, up 33 percent, and a median of $20,000, also up 33 percent. The buyback rate in the juvenile portion ended at 24 percent, up from 20 percent in 2012. The auction was led by an eventual stakes-winning colt by Pioneerof the Nile who was purchased for $525,000 by Conquest Stables from the consignment of Eddie Woods, agent. Now trained by Mark Casse, Conquest Top Gun won the Marine Stakes last month at Woodbine.

The OBS June sale has traditionally served as a site for bargain hunters with an eye for potential, and 2013 was no different. Last June, trainer Jose Garoffalo spent $30,000 to secure a D’wildcat colt for Salvatore and Josie Delfino’s Honors Stable. The Florida-bred colt, later named Wildcat Red, won the Grade 3 Hutcheson Stakes and the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth Stakes earlier this year and finished second by a neck in the Grade 1 Florida Derby. He is back on the worktab this month for Garoffalo at Gulfstream Park.

The OBS June sale was preceded by six under-tack shows from June 9-14. A colt by Benny the Bull and a Macho Uno filly tied for the fastest furlong breeze time of 9 4/5 seconds. Daily sessions for the four-day auction begin Tuesday at 10:30 a.m. Eastern, ending Friday.

To access an online catalog, click here.