01/19/2007 1:00AM

New minimum favors quality over quantity


The stats for the two consignors’ preferred sessions at the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Company’s four-day January mixed sales on Wednesday and Thursday appeared skewed compared to last year’s. But this was to be expected, as the OBS introduced a new sales rule: a $10,000 upset price, or minimum bid.

Consignors’ preferred sessions are what the name suggests. A consignor, for getting first crack at the higher end of the market, pays a 5 percent commission with a $1,000 minimum. Consignors have been willing to pay relatively higher commission costs to access this end of the market. One effect of this was that consignors’ preferred sessions have attracted greater and greater numbers, while open sessions decreased proportionately. The new minimum assures that the horses in the consignors’ preferred sessions deserve to be there.

“You can’t compare previous sales and this one fairly,” said Tom Ventura, sales director for the OBS. “Both the averages and the medians were way up, but it’s not apples to apples. When you raise the minimum bid to $10,000, comparisons aren’t valid.”

As you would expect, a more select group of horses this year resulted in fewer being sold for a higher average. A total of 148 were sold during the two consignors’ preferred sessions this year, for a gross of $4.7 million and an average of $31,855. Ninety-five did not reach the minimum bid and weren’t sold. Last year there were three consignors’ preferred sessions. For the first two days 359 were sold for a gross of $6.6 million and an average of $18,284. For all three days the average was $17,701.

Broodmares top list

This year, the top four prices and eight of the top 20 were brought by broodmares. Yearlings occupied 12 slots on the top 20 list.

The sessions’ highest price was the $260,000 paid by Stonestreet Thoroughbred Holdings (Jess Jackson) for Hip No. 421, Miz United States, a stakes-winning daughter of Valid Appeal believed in foal to Songandaprayer. No doubt much of her cachet came from the fact that Miz United States is a half-sister to the listed stakes winner Stolen Prayer, who is by Songandaprayer. She was consigned by Summerfield, agent.

Francis and Barbara Vanlangendonck’s Summerfield, agent, sold the top four lots – all broodmares. Eugenio Columbo, agent for two overseas buyers, bought the second- and third-highest-priced broodmares. Hip No. 168, Tadwiga, a Grade 3 stakes winner in Ireland and dam of the Grade 3 stakes winner Rock Lobster, brought a bid of $170,000. The 12-year-old daughter of Fairy King was believed in foal to Consolidator. Columbo also bought Diavla, a graded-stakes-placed 6-year-old daughter of European champion Bahri believed in foal to Songandaprayer. She brought $160,000.

“The two mares I bought have international pedigrees,” said Columbo, “and they are in foal to popular stallions. I think I paid a fair price for both of them.”

Janie Roper was the agent for Hip No. 78, a yearling colt by Songandaprayer out of Banker’s Bet, by Majestic Light. The colt, from the family of sprint champion Plugged Nickle, Grade 1 stakes winner Christiecat, and Raja Baba went to Bud Thibodaux, agent, for $120,000.

The two days of open sessions were to conclude on Saturday.

Auction brings more than $230,000

The annual auction of stallion seasons to benefit Florida Thoroughbred Charities Inc., an arm of the Florida Thoroughbred Breeders’ and Owners’ Association, was held on Wednesday evening following the first OBS session. More than 100 stallion seasons were offered on a no-guarantee basis. A total of $239,000 was bid. The association has a policy of not revealing individual bids; but it did announce that a season to the A.P. Indy newcomer Congrats, who is entering stud at Cloverleaf II, brought the top bid. Congrats is listed as standing for $12,500.