06/10/2016 1:40PM

OBS June sale no longer just for leftovers

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It wouldn’t be hard to argue that the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Co. June sale of 2-year-olds in training and horses of racing age has come the furthest of the auction company’s three juvenile sales.

Once seen primarily as a “last chance” sale at the end of the juvenile auction calendar, the OBS June sale has shown that it can hold its own in the marketplace, with its most recent edition shattering records.

“With June, I think the perception of ‘the leftovers’ is long gone,” said OBS president Tom Ventura. “It’s transformed. It was a sale that had probably half as many horses, and it was one of the last stops.

“I think the biggest change is that the consignors have a comfort level that if they bring a horse to our sale, regardless of price level they expect, whether it’s March, April, or June, they feel comfortable they’ll be able to get top dollar,” he added. “They’re putting their horses in the sale where they believe they’ll show their best, so if a horse develops a cough or gets a little shin, or it’s a late foal, they can just say, ‘I’m going to June and can feel comfortable the money will be there.’ ”

Ventura said the sellers’ confidence to hold horses for the June sale has been noted by the buying bench, which has become more diverse in recent years, especially at the top of the market.

However, Ventura also noted that the sale’s appeal still lies in its ability to draw buyers from all levels, including those in the lower and middle markets. Rising purses in states such as Maryland, Ohio, and Minnesota, he said, have been a boon to the June sale.

The auction will take place Tuesday through Friday, beginning each day at 10:30 a.m. Eastern.

This year’s catalog features 1,122 entries, marking a 4 percent smaller group than the 1,164 on offer during last June’s edition. Of the horses in the 2016 catalog, 1,193 are juveniles, while 29 are racing-age offerings.

“We have a lot of horses in the catalog, similar to last year, and there is a variety of horses,” Ventura said. “There are some very high-end bloodlines and stock in here, but there are plenty of horses to go around at all the different price ranges.

“In my opinion, the 2-year-old market this year has been steady; it’s been flat. I think we’ll see more of the same. We’re coming off some impressive increases, so if we could hold our own to last year, I’ll be very happy. It’s hard to keep having double-digit gains year after year.”

Last June’s OBS sale closed with a record gross of $24,176,500 from 609 horses sold, bettering the previous mark set in 2014 of $22,801,500 from 738 sold. The average sale price was also an auction record at $39,669, up 28 percent from the 2014 sale and breaking the previous record of $33,250 set in 2013. The median fell 10 percent from $20,000 to $18,000.

Trade at the top of the market was historically active, with the record-high price for an OBS June offering being topped or equaled in each of the four sessions. At the end of the sale, the record belonged to a Candy Ride colt who went to Charles and Susan Chu’s Tanma Corp. for $680,000. The colt was later named Valiant Minister and has been training toward his debut in Southern California.

Other notable graduates from last year’s sale include stakes winners Marquee Miss, Whatawonderflworld, Swift Lady, Two Step Time, Sophia’s Song, Copingaway, and Andreya’s Reward.

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