03/18/2008 12:00AM

Median slides at Adena Springs


The 2-year-old sale at Frank Stronach's Adena Springs South in Williston, Fla., logged mixed results Monday night, ringing up gains in gross and average but suffering a double-digit slip in median. That continued a recent trend in the season's 2-year-old market, which has seen mixed gains and losses recently at select venues in both Miami and California.

The Adena Springs sale had a $380,000 sale-topper in Hip No. 116, a gray or roan colt whose rise to the top of the ranks was no surprise. He is a son of A.P. Indy and the Grade 1-placed millionaire mare Smok'n Frolic, by Smoke Glacken. Rick Pitino's Ol Memorial Stable was the purchaser.

The auction sold 97 juveniles for a total of $5,283,500 and an average price of $54,469. The gross was up 8 percent from last year, when 97 horses sold, and the average was up, too, though only fractionally from last year's figure of $54,356. The median was $28,000, down from $40,000 last year. But the buyback rate improved from 32 percent to 23 percent this year.

"The pedigrees were strong," Adena manager Mark Roberts said after the auction. "I think this was the best group we've had, overall. And, like Frank says, we're here to sell them."

"It really picked up toward the middle," Roberts added of the session.

Hip No. 116's buyers praised Adena Springs's unusual approach of not breezing the horses at the sale's two under-tack previews. Trainer Cam Gambolati, who signed for the sale-topper on behalf of Ol Memorial, told reporters at the auction that the gallop-only policy was one reason he and his clients - a partnership

headed by Pitino that includes retired professional basketball player Jamal Mashburn and Pitino's

business manager, Rick Avare - like the Adena Springs auction.

"We've always gotten good comments about that," Roberts said of the no-breeze format. "We're seeing more and more new faces every year at this sale, and, at the same time, we're keeping a lot of the old, familiar faces. I think it's an idea that's catching on."

The A.P. Indy colt was one of 14 horses to sell for $100,000 or more and one of two that fetched bids of more than $300,000. The other was Hip No. 124, an Awesome Again colt out of Grade 1 winner Hail a Cab and a half-brother to Peruvian champion Islam. Hidden Brook Farm, agent, purchased him on behalf of Paul Pompa Jr.