03/02/2018 11:40AM

Juvenile auction calendar: Late start, late finish

Benoit & Associates
A focus is on juveniles at Barretts' annual paddock sale at Del Mar.

The juvenile auction season starts especially late in 2018, and lasts all the way to the last full week of July. As usual, the bulk of the 2-year-old trade is based in central Florida with the three Ocala Breeders’ Sales Co. auctions and Fasig-Tipton’s boutique sale at Gulfstream Park, but Barretts will have noteworthy activity on the West Coast after shuffling its schedule.

Regional sales for juveniles have become somewhat sparse in recent years, but a pair of emerging auctions have set their roots in the Southwest, while Canada has an emerging sale of its own in British Columbia, and Indiana has a sale that looks to gain traction.

Ocala Breeders’ Sales Co. March sale of 2-year-olds in training

March 13-14 in Ocala, Fla.

Breeze show: March 8-10

2017 topper: $1.7 million filly by Congrats–Azalea Belle, by Dixie Union, named Diamondsandpearls, purchased by Kerri Radcliffe, agent

The season’s new kickoff auction has flourished since shedding its “select” moniker in 2015. It hit new heights last year, with a record gross and average sale price and five horses surpassing the million-dollar threshold.

This year’s edition comprises 573 juveniles, down 15 percent from last year’s catalog of 674 entries. As with all OBS sales, the horses will breeze over the Ocala Training Center’s all-weather Safetrack surface and will be eligible for the company’s OBS Championship Stakes races, held at the same venue in fall.

Fasig-Tipton Gulfstream sale of selected 2-year-olds in training

March 28 in Hallandale Beach, Fla.

Breeze show: March 26

2017 topper: $1.5 million filly by Uncle Mo–Flowersathefinish, by Grand Reward, named Beyond Grace, purchased by OXO Equine

After spending the past two years in the leadoff position for the juvenile season in early March, the high-end sale moves to later in the month as part of the build-up to Gulfstream Park’s Florida Derby. The only major 2-year-olds in training sale held at a racetrack during an active meet, it has shown growth every year since moving to Gulfstream in 2015 and finished with across-the-board gains again in 2017.

The boutique sale cataloged 158 entries for its 2018 edition, compared to last year’s 162-horse offering.

Barretts spring 2-year-olds in training

April 4 in Del Mar, Calif.

Breeze show: April 2

Some of the most significant shifting in the 2-year-old auction calendar comes from Barretts, which consolidated its select sale in March and open sale in May into a single auction dedicated to juveniles in early April. Under the new setup, Barretts management aimed to provide more depth in its catalog compared with either of the individual sales and to help consignors by reducing the expense of preparing for more sales.

The new sale comprises 159 entries.

Texas Thoroughbred Association 2-year-olds in training

April 10 in Grand Prairie, Texas

Breeze show: April 8

2017 topper: $120,000 colt by Tale of the Cat–Divine Lady, by Kris S., named Morethanfishin, purchased by Carrol Castille

Entering its third edition since taking over the reins of the local auction market from Fasig-Tipton, the TTA has quickly established a sale that produces numbers that stack up with its predecessor. Held on the grounds of Lone Star Park, the auction nearly doubled its gross in 2017, grew the average sale price by 45 percent, and the median rose by 33 percent.

Sellers have taken note of the auction’s upward trajectory and entered 126 horses into the sale, 25 percent more than the 101 in last year’s catalog.

Graduates will be eligible for nomination to the 2018 Texas Thoroughbred Sales Futurity at Lone Star Park, which offers two divisions, each with an estimated purse of $100,000.

Hastings paddock sale

April 14 in Vancouver, British Columbia

Breeze show: April 7

2017 topper: $20,000 (Canadian) filly by More Than Ready–Wild About Sonny, by Officer, named Tinderette, purchased by Nick Kokic

This is the third year of the sale for 2-year-olds and horses of racing age. With catalogs of 31 or fewer, the first two sales yielded unraced horses that became stakes winners during the year of purchase.

Ocala Breeders’ Sales Co. spring sale of 2-year-olds in training

April 24-27 in Ocala, Fla.

Breeze show: April 16-21

2017 topper: $2.45 million colt by Tiznow–Moonbow, by Distorted Humor, named Conquistador, purchased by J.F. Moynihan, agent for M.V. Magnier

Traditionally the most populous 2-year-old sale of the season, the auction’s profile has grown considerably. While many of the early-season boutique sales have reinvented themselves into open sales or moved to later in the year, this spring sale has become the truest indicator of the juvenile market’s overall health.

The 2017 renewal was arguably the strongest in the auction’s history, posting record returns in gross, average, and median prices, and selling the most expensive horse in OBS history.

Equine Sales Co. of Louisiana 2-year-olds in training

May 7 in Opelousas, La.

Breeze show: May 6

2017 topper: $110,000 filly by Flat Out–Langsyne, by Langfuhr, named Special Blessing, purchased by Coteau Grove Farms

The fifth edition of the Louisiana auction carries with it much of the momentum seen from other auctions, coming off a sale that posted higher returns in gross (up 54 percent) and average (a 35 percent gain) and a record-priced transaction for the young sale. The under-tack show takes place at the adjacent Copper Crowne Training Center.

Graduates are eligible for the following year’s Equine Sales Derby and Equine Sales Oaks at Evangeline Downs, each with a $75,000 purse.

Fasig-Tipton Midlantic 2-year-olds in training

May 21-22 in Timonium, Md.

Breeze show: May 15-17

2017 topper: $1.5 million colt by Curlin–Franscat, by Stormin Fever, named Curlin’s Honor, purchased by Breeze Easy and John Oxley

Yet another sale that put a record-priced horse through the ring in 2017 en route to significant gains in each of the major economic indicators. While the Midlantic sale has become a destination event for national-level buyers in the aftermath of the nearby Preakness Stakes, the auction also is the area’s primary regional auction marketplace for 2-year-olds in training, pulling in high numbers of horses bred in Maryland and nearby Pennsylvania, New York, West Virginia, and New Jersey.

Indiana Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association spring 2-year-olds and horses of racing age

June 10 in Shelbyville, Ind.

Breeze show: June 9

2017 topper: $10,000 gelding by Entrepreneur–Flashy Philly, by Maverick, named The Last Factor, purchased by Bruce Murphy and Genaro Garcia

The Midwest’s most prominent juvenile auction enters its third year since returning from hiatus, with the objective of growing its catalog. Hosted by Indiana Grand, the sale posted a slightly higher average sale price in 2017 than in 2016.

Ocala Breeders’ Sales Co. June 2-year-olds and horses of racing age

June 12-14 in Ocala, Fla.

Breeze show: June 4-9

2017 topper: $320,000 colt by Midnight Lute–Screen Giant, by Giant’s Causeway, named Broadway Bandit, purchased by Linda Rice, agent

For many years the final 2-year-old sale of the season, this auction no longer holds that title, but it has changed with the times, reducing its catalog by 37 percent from 2016 to 2017 and shortening from four days to two. While it is traditionally seen as a mid- to lower-market sale, the auction has joined its late-season contemporaries as an outlet for sellers looking to place a commercial horse at the best time.

Barretts paddock sale of race-ready horses

July 25 in Del Mar, Calif.

Breeze show: July 23

2017 topper: $180,000 colt by Animal Kingdom–Alyssum, by Storm Cat, named California King, purchased by Steve Gasparelli

While the Barretts spring sale is the only dedicated juvenile auction on the company’s calendar, the paddock sale is the spiritual successor to the former May open sale, offering West Coast horses that were not sold in the first event another chance to go through the ring.

The paddock sale soft-launched as a 2-year-old venue in 2017, with 25 juveniles helping double the catalog size from the 2016 sale.