03/18/2015 7:35PM

OBS March: Expanded sale wraps with record gross


Despite the shift from a select catalog to a controlled open format, figures remained competitive with last year’s record renewal of the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Co. March 2-year-olds in training sale, including an all-time high gross.

According to figures reported by the sale company shortly after the close of business Wednesday, the two-day sale finished with 326 juveniles sold for record revenues of $55,682,000, eclipsing last year’s single-day select sale by 48 percent, when 201 horses brought $37,627,500.

After outpacing the final average sale price of last year’s OBS March sale at the end of Tuesday’s session, the sale closed Wednesday with an average price of $187,201, down nine percent from $187,201. The median decreased 22 percent from $135,000 to $105,000. The 2014 average and median were both record figures.

The new format of the March sale means next year’s statistics will be easier to compare with this year’s renewal, when the catalogs become more similar year-to-year, than what is available with the 2014 sale. This year’s OBS March catalog expanded from 411 entries to 610 as the company continued to move away from the boutique juvenile auction setup.

Activity among the high-end offerings remained strong throughout the auction, with 25 horses changing hands for $500,000 or more. The group had already, in the opening session, surpassed last year’s 10 horses to reach that mark.

The sale-topper came during the first session, when Charlotte Weber’s Live Oak Plantation went to $1.4 million to purchase Zero Hour, a Bernardini colt out of the Grade 2-placed stakes-winning Miswaki mare Misty Hour.

The bay colt is a sibling to six winners from eight foals to race out of Misty Hour, including Grade 2 winner India, Group 3-placed stakes winner Sing Softly, and stakes winner Pilfer. The latter is best known as the dam of Grade 1 winner and young sire To Honor and Serve, as well as Grade 1 winner Angela Renee and Grade 1-placed stakes winner Elnaawi. To Honor and Serve, who was campaigned by Weber, and Angela Renee are both by Bernardini. Pilfer sold in foal to Bernardini for $1.95 million at the 2012 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky fall selected mixed sale.

Zero Hour’s extended family includes a cornerstone of the Darby Dan Farm broodmare band, Golden Trail, who is the pivot point for a bevy of notable runners and producers including Canadian champion Rahy’s Attorney, Grade 1 winners Memories of Silver and Winter Memories, Grade 2 winners Memories and Liberian Freighter, and Grade/Group 3 winners Java Moon, La Cloche, Russian Revival, Dynatonia and Naskra’s Return.

Zero Hour was bred in Kentucky by Summer Wind Farm, and sold for $650,000 at last year’s Keeneland September yearling sale. Steven Venosa’s SGV Thoroughbreds consigned the colt as agent at OBS. He breezed a quarter mile in :21 1/5 seconds over the Ocala Training Center’s all-weather Safetrack surface during the pre-sale under-tack show last week.

Zero Hour was the sale’s only seven-figure offering, and he tied the highest price for a juvenile at North American auction thus far in 2015. The first to hit the mark was a half brother to Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Bayern by Scat Daddy who sold to Coolmore’s M.V. Magnier to top the Fasig-Tipton Florida sale of selected 2-year-olds in training earlier this month.

Eddie Woods finished as the sale’s leading consignor by gross, with 25 horses sold for a combined $6,977,000. His consignment accounted for three of the sale’s top 10 prices, including the auction’s third-most expensive juvenile, a Midnight Lute colt out of the winning Vindication mare Circumstance, who sold to Donato Lanni as agent for $900,000.

Conquest Stables was the biggest buyer of OBS March, with five purchases totaling $3,160,000. The operation of Ernie Semersky and Dory Newell purchased two of the sale’s ten most expensive offerings, led by an $800,000 Tiznow colt out of the winning A.P. Indy mare Lasting Appeal.

Wednesday’s closing session finished with 155 horses sold for revenues of $24,435,000. The average sale price was $157,645, while the median price finished at $100,000.

The session-topper was the sale’s second-most expensive juvenile, a Broken Vow colt who sold to trainer Linda Rice as agent for $950,000.

The bay colt is the first foal out of the stakes-placed Tale of the Cat mare Tale of the South, and hails from the family of Grade 2 winner Futural and Grade 3-placed Eratospook.

Bred in Kentucky by Diane Connell, the colt was purchased by Eisaman Equine for $80,000 at last year’s Keeneland September yearling sale, and he was consigned as agent by the operation of Barry and Shari Eisaman on Wednesday. He completed a one-furlong breeze in :9 4/5 seconds during the under-tack show.

Wavertree Stables led all consignors by gross during Wednesday’s session, with 13 horses sold for $2,724,000. Conquest Stables was the leading buyer, with three purchases totaling $1,850,000.

For complete sale results, click here.