01/25/2017 9:59PM

OBS January: Yearlings dominate opening session; buyback rate soars

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The yearling market was firmly in command during the first day of the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Co. winter mixed sale, accounting for 14 of the top 15 prices, but a staggering buyback rate dampened any momentum generated from improved figures.

Wednesday’s trade included the consignor select mixed session, followed by a horses of racing age portion.

The consignor select portion saw 84 horses change hands for revenues of $1,522,000, down 38 percent from last year’s gross of $2,471,100 from 137 sold.

The average sale price remained consistent, rising 0.5 percent to $18,119 from $18,036, while the median rose 18 percent to $10,000 from $8,500.

While those returns were positive, they came at the expense of the buyback rate, which rose to 48 percent from 31 percent last year. The number of horses to leave the ring without receiving a bid also rose to seven from two last year.

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The average and median posted gains, despite the drop in six-figure horses between the consignor select sessions. One horse changed hands for more than $100,000 on Wednesday, down from four last year, though one of those came through private sale. Ten horses sold for $50,000 or more, tying last year’s comparable session.

The only horse to eclipse the six-figure mark Wednesday was a yearling Shanghai Bobby filly who sold to East Hickman Bloodstock for $110,000.

The dark bay or brown April 1 foal is out of the stakes-placed Yankee Victor mare Yankee Victoria, whose two winners from as many runners includes Whisper Light, a Group 2 winner in Trinidad and Tobago. This is the first six-figure foal at auction for Yankee Victoria.

Bred in Florida by Kris R. Del Giudice, the filly is from the extended family of Argentine Group 2 winners The Best Sing and Seattle States and Grade 3 winner Fistfite.

The filly was consigned by Summerfield, as agent.

A pair of broodmares led their segment, each selling for $22,000.

Aerospace, an unraced Invasor mare, sold to Carol Ann Reitman in foal to Kantharos. Starlet O’Hara, a stakes-placed Discreetly Mine mare, sold to H&E Ranch in foal to Khozan.

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Select Sales finished the session as the leading consignor, with six horses sold for $215,500. East Hickman Bloodstock topped the buyers, with five purchases totaling $318,000.

The horses of racing age rounded out the day with 55 horses sold for $639,000, down 33 percent from 2016 when 61 racing-age offerings brought $947,200.

The average sale price dipped 25 percent to $11,618 from $15,528, while the median declined 20 percent to $8,000 from $10,000. In contrast with the consignor select session, the racing-age portion’s buyback rate finished at 15 percent, improving from 16 percent last year.

The day’s third-highest price came for Lake Sebago, a multiple stakes-winning Munnings mare who sold to George Arnold for $87,000.

A 5-year-old mare, Lake Sebago has won 3 of 21 starts for earnings of $243,225, with wins in the 2014 Smart Halo Stakes and Gin Talking Stakes at Laurel Park. She ran second in the Tax Free Shopping Distaff Stakes at Delaware Park last year and in the Marshua Stakes at Laurel in 2015.

Lake Sebago was previously owned by Tim E. O’Donohue Racing Stables and trained by John Robb.

Bred in Kentucky by Machmer Hall and Carrie and Craig Brogden, Lake Sebago is the first foal out of the unraced Borrego mare Aviva’s Pride, whose two foals to race are both winners. She is from the family of Canadian champion Hollinger and Grade 2 winner Something Lucky.

Abbie Road Farm consigned Lake Sebago, as agent.