04/28/2005 11:00PM

OBS 2-year-olds sale is downer


The four-day Ocala Breeders' Sales Co.'s spring sale of 2-year-olds in training ended Thursday with a modest dip in the gross, the average, and the median. The number of horses sold, 774, was the same as were sold at the 2004 auction. The gross of $21.9 million was $1.2 million less than last year. The average of $28,337 and the median of $17,000 were down about 5 percent from a year ago. The buyback rate climbed from 19.9 to 28.6 percent

The highest price in the sale came during the second session, when agent Tom McCrocklin bid $375,000 for a colt by Aptitude for clients Robert and Lawana Low. The gray or roan colt from the consignment of Eisaman Equine Services, agent, had zipped a quarter in 21.60 seconds under tack.

"This colt worked fast, and if you look at him and the way he worked, he looks like he has two-turn potential," McCrocklin said.

He noted that the colt's sire, Aptitude, was a stayer who wanted to run all day. And McCrocklin said his clients were looking for a horse to run three-quarters of a mile or farther by July.

Eisaman Equine was the leading consignor at the sale, selling 20 lots for $1,460,000. Farnsworth Farms was runner-up, selling 44 head for $1,254,700. Aptitude was the leading sire with three or more horses sold. A multiple Grade 1 stakes winner, Aptitude had three sell for an average of $134,833.

Siphon was next, with five selling for an average of $112,400. Rounding out the top three was Greenwood Lake, also with five selling, for an average of $73,600.

The leading buyer at the sale was Amerman Racing. Team Amerman - consisting of trainer Mike Machowsky, agent Bold Feld, and owner John Amerman - bought four for a total of $810,000. Amerman has an OBS connection through the stallion Lido Palace, who stands at Roy Lerman's Lambholme South. Lido Palace, a Bobby Frankel-trained multiple Grade 1 stakes winner of $2.7 million, has his first crop arriving this year, and there is a positive buzz about Lido Palace foals among the breeders who have foals of his on the ground.

Catalog No. 390, a dark bay filly by Menifee-Sinful Morning, by Eastern Echo, was consigned by her breeder, Mandy Pope of Whisper Hill Farm, to last August's OBS yearling sale, where she sold for $24,000. At least her breeder thought she had sold the filly. The buyer, following a veterinary exam petitioned to return the horse. Pope, after being advised of the petition, did not hesitate to void the sale. She turned the filly over to Nick de Meric to prepare for this 2-year-old sale. This past Tuesday, the same filly got passing grades from Team Amerman and was bought for $210,000.

Buzzards Bay got away

Eduardo Azpurua Jr. is one of four horsemen from a family of accomplished horsemen. His father, uncle, and first cousin trained graded-stakes winners - and Eduardo Jr. trained Caltech, winner of the Grade 1 Washington D.C. International in 1989. Eduardo Jr. also broke and prepared current Kentucky Derby hopeful Buzzards Bay for the 2004 OBS 2-year-olds in training sales.

Should Buzzards Bay win the Kentucky Derby on Saturday, Azpurua probably would second-guess himself, because he bought into a Buzzards Bay partnership with breeder Jay Shaw, later bought Shaw out, and then reluctantly sold the eventual Santa Anita Derby winner in a private sale at an undisclosed price.

Buzzards Bay is a son of the Florida-bred stallion Marco Bay (by Copelan) and is out of a useful family of black-type earners. Buzzards Bay's dam is by little-known Seneca Jones, who is by Alydar.

"Buzzards Bay worked well for last year's OBS April sale of 2 year-olds in training," Azpurua said. "He went in 34 and change. But for some reason I just couldn't get buyers turned on to him."

Azpurua had 16 2-year-olds cataloged for that sale, three by Marco Bay. The other two sold for $20,000 and $23,000, while the best bid that Buzzards Bay drew was $6,000 - and so the colt went home and the partnership was dissolved.

This year's OBS April sale had a full sister to Buzzards Bay cataloged, and like her older brother, she failed to meet her reserve and left the ring unsold, at $40,000.

Songandaprayer gets first winner

There are 16 Florida-based stallions with their first 2-year-olds at the races this year. The first among them to sire a winner is the Hartley-DeRenzo/ Walmac South resident Songandaprayer. A million-dollar yearling who won the Grade 1 Fountain of Youth as a 3 year-old, Songandaprayer (Unbridled's Song) was represented this past Tuesday by Stolen Prayer.

Bred by the partnership of Oxenberg, Melin, and Plesa, and trained by Eddie Plesa, the chestnut filly romped to a 15-length victory going 4 1/2 furlongs at Calder Race Course. Stolen Prayer is a half-sister to stakes winner Miz United States, and the stakes-placed United States and Miss Annie Bea. Songandaprayer has 61 registered horses in his first crop of 2-year-olds.