Updated on 09/16/2011 8:15AM

High end declines at OBS


The biggest difference between this year's Ocala Breeders' Sales Company spring auction of 2 year-olds in training and last year's was at the top.

In 2001 there were three 2 year-olds who sold for more than $400,000. This year the highest priced was $280,000 for Hip No. 1075, a bay colt from the first crop of Grand Slam. The next highest price dropped to $155,000 for Hip No. 708, a colt by Appealing Skier purchased by Yusuf Mongroo of Trinidad.

Mongroo, according to consignor Hal Hatch (Halcyon Hammock Farm), was so impressed by the colt that he made an offer for him before the sale. "I felt that I owed it to all the others who were interested in the colt to let him go through the auction," said Hatch.

The sale-topper was the result of a bidding battle between Buzz Chace, the ubiquitous sales agent who was representing West Point Thoroughbreds, a New Jersey syndicator of racing partnerships, and Brian Morgan, representing New York-based trainer Stanley Hough. Terry Finley of West Point Thoroughbreds said that trainer Dallas Stewart is most likely to train the sale-topper.

M & H Thoroughbreds (David McKathan and Katie Hayman) consigned the colt, who was a Keeneland September yearling buy-back at $45,000.

Amy Tarant's Hard Acres Farm was among the leading buyers at the OBS 2001 2-year-old sale. She purchased the now-multiple stakes winner Bold World (by Fortunate Prospect) at last year's April auction for $475,000. She made a return visit with trainer Ron Taylor this year and bought Hip No. 615, a colt by Fortunate Prospect from the Farnsworth Farms consignment, for $125,000.

The leading buyer at this sale was Nelson Bunker Hunt. Unlike years gone by, when Hunt bought at the very top of the market, he made the list this time by purchasing 29 2-year-olds for a total of $682,700, an average of $23,542. For the most part, Hunt sat by himself and made his own bids.

Midway through the sale, trainer Vinnie Blengs, an annual buyer at this sale, found himself in a bidding duel on a horse who had also caught Hunt's eye. The two of them bid over the $30,000 mark, with Blengs getting the colt for $35,000. Said Blengs as he signed the sales slip, "Only in America can a guy like me outbid a zillionaire like him. What a country!"

In second place among leading buyers was Buzz Chace. His five purchases averaged out to $117,800. When asked how things were going, Chace, forever the optimist, smiled and said, "same old game, same old game."

Concerto has a winner

Concerto, the millionaire graded stakes winning son of Chief's Crown for owner and breeder George M. Steinbrenner, is off the mark as a sire.

Last February, four horses from the first crop of Concerto were sold as 2 year-olds in training at the OBS Calder Race Course sale. The four averaged $126,250 (36 times his $3,500 stud fee), with the highest price at $230,000 for a filly out of the stakes-placed producer Dame Georgette.

Eugene and Laura Melnyk bought the filly Collymore Hall, and this last Thursday she made her debut at Keeneland in maiden special company. Favored in the betting, she won comfortably giving her sire a winner from two starters.