03/13/2008 11:00PM

Next stops in 2-year-old sale season

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Rounds three and four of Florida's 2-year-olds in training sales begin Monday with the auction of Adena Springs homebreds.

There are 136 cataloged, and this sale begins at 4:30 p.m. There's no need to pack an early dinner, as there will be a barbecue-style buffet available from 3 p.m. onward for $20. The buffet's proceeds are earmarked for the Ocala Farm Ministry and the Florida Thoroughbred Retirement Community. Adena Springs, a 4,500-acre facility, is located in Williston, Fla., a half-hour's drive north from downtown Ocala.

The Ocala Breeders Sales Co., which manages the Adena Springs sale, holds its annual March auction of selected 2-year-olds in training on Tuesday and Wednesday. The OBS has cataloged a total of 460 horses - 230 each day beginning at 11 a.m.

There is a different under-tack routine for each sale. Adena Springs 2-year-olds are only permitted to open gallop at a speed of 13 seconds or thereabouts per furlong. Those homebreds who were foaled after May 1 are galloped at a slower rate. There were no under-tack turf gallops as in past years.

OBS held its first two of three scheduled under-tack shows last Sunday and Monday. The final under-tack show was scheduled for Saturday. Times, excluding those recorded Saturday, were consistent over the synthetic Safetrack surface. The fastest time for a furlong was 9.8 seconds; the slowest came in at 11.1. By and large, most of those who worked their sales horses a furlong did so in 10 and change. The quarter-mile times ranged from 20.4 to 23. Most of those working a quarter worked in the 21-second range. The swiftest three-furlong work was 33.6, but this is a distance that was seldom employed.

Californians Steve and Gary Young were at their usual spot clocking the sales horses and making notes on their action and how they galloped out.

"The track is certainly forgiving," Steve Young said of the synthetic surface.

When asked what he meant by that, brother Gary Young added: "Horses do well over it. And watching them, there's not a great deal of difference in terms of their respective action."

Adena Springs is a North American enterprise. It maintains breeding divisions in Ontario, Kentucky, and Florida. Among the 136 cataloged, there are 62 Florida-breds, 59 Kentucky-breds, and 25 Ontario-breds.

Among Adena's Florida stallions with established sire records are Alphabet Soup, Sligo Rock, and Milwaukee Brew.

Alphabet Soup, a recent arrival from Kentucky, has 10 cataloged. By virtue of his relocation, the 17-year-old Alphabet Soup moves into the upper rankings of Florida sires, with $23 million in earnings generated by 32 stakes winners, 34 stakes-placed runners, and 14 winners in 2008 who have earned approximately $400,000.

Sligo Rock is the only graded stakes-winning son of Sadler's Wells standing in Florida. His forte was running long on the turf, so it came as a pleasant surprise when he sired 10 winners, including the stakes winner In My Wings, from his 2007 first crop.

Milwaukee Brew is ranked second among Florida sires, with two crops of racing age. He has sired 24 winners.

The Adena Springs auction has adopted the same conditions of sale used by the Ocala Breeders' Sales Co., said Mark Roberts, the farm manger for Adena Springs South.

"It's important that buyers read those conditions as set in our catalog on page 66," he said.

One new condition of sale worth noting is that any buyer may request a blood sample to be tested for steroids. The request must be made within 24 hours of purchase, and the horse being tested cannot have been removed from the grounds prior to testing. All other medications are covered under a Florida statute that is explained in both auctions' catalogs.

The OBS had 21 requests for steroid testing at its February select sale of 2-year-olds in training. All came back negative.