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OBS August: Gains drive expanded catalog
The first few sales of the North American yearling auction season revealed stability in the marketplace that spanned the upper and middle markets. The tenor of the market will be given another test Aug. 26-28, when the focus shifts to Florida for the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Co. August yearling sale before turning to the bellwether Keeneland September sale.
The first three major North American yearling auctions of 2014 – the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky July, Saratoga select, and New York-bred sales – showed a fairly steady market heading into the larger sales such as OBS August, with gains and declines staying within a limited range.
Those performances give OBS president Tom Ventura reason to expect a productive sale in Ocala.
“It gives you a little bit of an indicator,” Ventura said. “You have to be careful of reading too much into it because the number of horses that have sold at each sale is comparatively small. I was at the sales in Saratoga, and it seemed like the activity was good in the barns, and there’s certainly interest in horseflesh right now. That’s certainly a positive, and we’re looking forward to continuing that here in August.”
The three-day OBS sale will begin each day at 10:30 a.m. Eastern. The opening session features 257 select yearlings, while the final two days are open sessions with a total of 773 yearlings. Both sections have expanded catalogs in 2014 – the select session offers 44 percent more yearlings than last year, while the open sessions of the catalog is 17 percent larger than in 2013.
“The first-session select day has grown significantly,” Ventura said. “We’ve been working hard trying to bring horses to the yearling sale. I think the success of the previous year’s sale, as well as the 2-year-old sales, helped us recruit some horses, and we’re very pleased with the quality we have coming to the sale.”
Eddie Woods, an Ocala-based pinhooker, juvenile consignor, and member of the OBS board of directors, said the sale has enjoyed a recent boost in reputation, which has helped its numbers in terms of horse population and returns. He predicted another solid August sale.
“The quality of the horses, especially in the select part, is up quite a bit,” Woods said. “[The sale] went into the doldrums for a while, but last year was fabulous. It’s been gathering momentum, and they’ve been doing a good job of rounding up consignors from out of state.
“We were kind of getting stuck in a rut with our own usual consignors,” Woods added. “Now with some of the bigger Kentucky consignors coming in, it’s given the sale a little bit of juice.”
The increased popularity of the OBS August sale comes on the heels of the auction company’s signature 2-year-old auctions, which have consistently surpassed records set in recent years. Many of the horses in the OBS juvenile sales are normally pinhooked out of the company’s own yearling auction.
The August sale, like many of the major yearling auctions of 2014 thus far, features a significantly larger catalog despite the continued declines in the annual foal crop. Ventura speculated that the market’s prolonged solid returns, along with the success of pinhookers who are looking to restock close to home, have helped the August sale’s numbers.
“Our June sale was at maximum capacity in our barn area,” Ventura said. “The April sale and March sale were up a fair amount. While the foal crop has been basically flat for the last couple of years, I think the market being healthy has given a little more comfort with the breeders and sellers to bring their horses to the market, and I think it’s probably a reflection of that.”
Last August’s OBS sale continued a run of significant growth for the auction, with 650 yearlings selling for a total of $16,146,200. That exceeded the 2012 receipts of $10,874,500 from 537 horses sold by 48 percent.
The average sale price last August increased 23 percent, from $20,250 to $24,840.
A pair of $250,000 colts topped the sale, each coming out of the select session.
Nick de Meric signed the ticket as agent on a Concord Point colt out of the winning Tomorrows Cat mare Better Than Swiss. The gray or roan colt is now named Forward Guidance and has yet to race.
Zayat Stables purchased the other co-sales topper, a Scat Daddy colt out of the Unbridled’s Song mare Great Venue. Now named El Kabeir, the colt finished third in his Aug. 14 debut at Saratoga in a five-furlong maiden special weight race behind the highly regarded Blofeld.
The open sessions saw the most dramatic increase from 2012 to 2013, with 507 horses sold for receipts of $8,441,200, a 66 percent increase over the 2012 open sale. The average sale price rose 32 percent to $16,649, while the median increased 53 percent to $13,000.
Ventura said OBS plans to build on the success of last year’s open section to make it an even more attractive destination for a wide range of buyers.
“Certainly there’s going to be a fair amount of horses that are going to be pinhooked out of the yearling sale,” he said. “Overall, the pinhookers have done well the last couple years and need inventory for horses, and we’ve been working hard going to the racetracks and bringing in some end users because that part of the market is certainly important and has grown in numbers. I think that’s helped consignors to bring even better-quality horses.”
OBS AUGUST SELECTED AND OPEN YEARLING SALE
When: Aug. 26, 10:30 a.m. Eastern (selected), Aug. 27-28, 10:30 a.m. (open)
Where: OBS Sales Complex, 1701 Southwest 60th Ave., Ocala, Fla. 34474
Phone: (352) 237-2154
Catalog: The select sale cataloged 257 horses, up 44 percent from 178 last year, while the open sale cataloged 773 horses, up 17 percent from 662 last year
Recent history: The 2013 selected portion of the sale posted overall positive results while selling 143 horses for $7,705,000 (up 33 percent), an average price of $53,881 (up 23 percent), and a median of $42,000 (up 20 percent). Two horses consigned by Summerfield, agent, tied to top the selected session at $250,000. Nick de Meric, agent, bought a Concord Point colt out of Better Than Swiss later named Forward Guidance, while EQB Inc., agent for Zayat Stables, purchased a Scat Daddy colt out of Great Venue later named El Kabeir.
The 2013 open sale also showed positive results, with 507 horses selling for $8,441,200 (up 66 percent), an average price of $16,649 (up 32 percent), and a median of $13,000 (up 53 percent). A pair of fillies topped the open portion of the sale at $90,000. Mark Casse, agent, bought a Pioneerof the Nile filly out of Smokin Again later named Live Forever, while Mersad Metanovic Bloodstock bought a Flatter filly out of Albany Park later named Flatter’s Secret.
Internet: Live streaming at www.obssales.com