10/20/2005 11:00PM

Korean buyers open their wallets at OBS mixed sale

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Once again a Korean contingent attending an Ocala Breeders' Sales Company auction made its presence felt. This time around the Koreans, 24 of them in all, bought 61 lots for $987,800 at the recent OBS fall mixed sale. Since patronizing the Ocala sales for the first time five years ago, buyers from Korea have purchased 370 horses - weanlings, yearlings, 2-year-olds in training, and broodmares - for a gross of approximately $4.7 million.

"This group of Korean buyers was pretty much on their own," said OBS general manager and sales director Tom Ventura. "They bought via the Maryland-based Triple Crown agency, but they bought as individuals and occasionally wound up bidding against one another."

The first Korean buyers made the trip to Ocala in 2000. At that OBS fall mixed sale they bought 15 broodmares for a gross of $172,700. In the interim, Korean buyers, some representing the Korean Racing Association, have been regulars at one or more annual OBS sales. Exploit, a Kentucky-via-Florida stallion, is currently standing at a Thoroughbred breeding center off the coast of the Korean capital Seoul.

High-end market strong at sale

Bloodstock sales are considered by many as harbingers of coming trends in market values. There is little question, said Ventura, that the emphasis at this sale was on quality. Conversely, the demand for less-fashionable breeding stock and weanlings was weak. Ventura pointed out that this year's fall mixed sale had 10 sell for $100,000-plus and three of these sold for $200,000 or more. Last year, only one horse made the six-figure mark.

The OBS tally sheet shows that 540 broodmares and 324 weanlings made up the most of the overall 902 sold. The weanling average for the consignors preferred sessions, $22,825, was down slightly from a like number sold in 2004. The median price, $15,000, down from $17,000, also showed some weakness. Broodmares, however, reflected the opposite trend. Their average price rose from $17,132 to $21,829 in the three consignors' preferred sessions, and the median price went from $12,000 to $13,000.

Among Florida stallions, the leading sire of weanlings was Adena Springs South's Macho Uno. The Eclipse champion 2-year-old of 2000, he had three sell for an average of $41,333. Unbridled Time, standing at Signature Stallions, had seven sell for an average of $27,628. Rounding out the top echelon of stallions were Lido Palace, who stands at Lambholm South, and Tiger Ridge of Hartley/DeRenzo-Walmac South. Each had approximately a $25,000 average per weanling

Two first-season stallions, Black Mambo and Peace Rules, had strong support at the sales. Black Mambo, a son of Kingmambo, stands at Bridlewood Farm for a fee of $5,000, and he had seven sell for an average of $45,957. Peace Rules, a multimillionaire Grade 1 stakes winner by Jules, stands at Vinery Stud for a fee of $15,000. The seven mares pregnant by him averaged $42,285.

Stallion winners give sires boost

The victory of Rustlewood Farm's homebred Consider Thesource in this past week's My Dear Girl division of the Florida Stallion Stakes series elevated her deceased sire Notebook into second place in Florida's leading sire statistics. A 52-1 shot, Consider Thesource earned $240,000, boosting Notebook's progeny earnings this year to $2.2 million. There are five stallions within approximately $100,000 of each other on the leading sire roster. They are Montbrook, Notebook, Double Honor, Suave Prospect, and Halo's Image.

Padua Stable's Exchange Rate is the sire of Blazing Rate, winner of the In Reality division of the Florida Stallion Stakes series, and the $240,000 earned by the Big C. Farm homebred moves Exchange Rate on to the top rung of Florida's leading first-crop sires.

Double Honor finds new home

Farnsworth Farms has sold the stallion Double Honor to Manuel Andrade, according to farm owner Mike Sherman. This is the first stallion venture for Andrade, who bought the 100-acre Breakaway Farm property last year and renamed it Get Away Farm.

"He will stand for $3,500 live foal, as he did at Farnsworth Farms," said Andrade. "We are not going to raise the fee even if he becomes Florida's leading money-winning sire for '05."

Sherman also announced that the retired stallion Fortunate Prospect has left his decades-long Florida home for Nuckols Farm in Kentucky. "He's enrolled in the Nuckols' 'Old Friends' pension program," said Sherman.