04/25/2006 11:00PM

First two days of OBS sale produce gains


LEXINGTON, Ky. - The Ocala Breeders' Sales Company's April 2-year-old sale continued Wednesday in Florida, and so did the financial gains for the auction house.

Wednesday's top lot at the second of four sessions was a $275,000 Storm Cat colt purchased by Stinson and Farr Farms. Woodside Ranch, agent, sold the colt, a son of the unraced Gone West mare Western Eternity. He worked an eighth in 10.60 seconds at the April 20 preview.

The Wednesday session sold 205 juveniles for $7,116,800, up 5.3 percent from last year's day-two total of $6,757,100 for 207 horses. Average also rose 6.4 percent from $32,643 last year to $34,716.

Tuesday's opening session also yielded big gains over last year's first day. The gains were slightly smaller than initially thought: On Wednes-day morning, the company issued correct session totals after noticing it had incorrectly listed a $4,500 filly as sold for $45,000. But even the revised figures had plenty for sales officials to be happy about. The opening session sold 187 lots for $6,282,000, up 18 percent from last year's opening-day gross of $5,323,500 for 205 horses. Average price jumped 29 percent to $33,594, and median climbed 12 percent to $19,000. Buybacks also dipped slightly, dropping from 29 percent last year to 28 percent in 2006.

Thirty-five horses fetched bids of $50,000 or more on Tuesday, well up from last year's figure of 27.

The sale continues through Friday.

Congrats may not be done racing

Graded-stakes winner Congrats will stand in Ocala, Fla., when he retires. CloverLeaf Farms II has purchased the 6-year-old A.P. Indy horse from his breeders, Claiborne Farm and Adele Dilschneider, but CloverLeaf may keep him in training for a while longer.

"We're kicking around the idea of racing him again," CloverLeaf manager Brent Fernung said. "He's been training good, and he's a sound horse, so we'll sit back and think it over."

Congrats is a Grade 2 winner who also placed in a pair of Grade 1 events, finishing second to Rock Hard Ten in the Santa Anita Handicap and third behind Lava Man in the Hollywood Gold Cup last season. His record stands at 24-7-2-5 with earnings of $978,960. Congrats is out of the Mr. Prospector winner Praise, making him a full brother to Grade 3-placed Flatter.

Fernung said CloverLeaf struck the deal to buy Congrats from Claiborne and Dilschneider about a week ago, after Fernung flew to California to see the horse at trainer Richard Mandella's barn.

"He got into Ocala on Saturday afternoon," Fernung said of Congrats. "He's a big beautiful horse about 16-2 hands and with a humongous shoulder."

Regardless of whether he races again, Congrats will not enter stud at CloverLeaf until 2007, because there are only about two months left in the current breeding season.

Affirmed exhibit to open next year

The Kentucky Horse Park will open a new permanent exhibition about 1978 Triple Crown winner Affirmed next spring.

Affirmed's owners and breeders, Louis and Patrice Wolfson, have loaned the late champion's racing trophies and other memorabilia for the exhibition, which will be located in the Lexington park's International Museum of the Horse next year. In the meantime, the park is hosting a temporary exhibition in the museum lobby to preview the larger show. The temporary exhibition features not only Affirmed and his exploits on the racetrack, but also the personalities who contributed to his success, "the extended family who owned, trained, rode, and cared for him," as a park release put it.

Affirmed, by Raise a Native out of Won't Tell You, was voted champion at 2, 3, and 4. He was Horse of the Year twice, in 1978 at age 3 and in 1979 at age 4. As a stallion, he was one of North America's leading broodmare sires in 2003 and 2004, and he sired such standouts as champions Flawlessly, Quiet Resolve, Peteski, and Zoman.