10/13/2014 5:04PM

OBS October: Steady market expected at mixed sale

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The Ocala Breeders’ Sales Co. fall mixed sale will have a new look this year, with the addition of a horses-of-racing-age session to one of the season’s first mixed auctions.

The two-day auction will take place Tuesday and Wednesday at the sales company’s base in Ocala, Fla., beginning each day at 10:30 a.m. Eastern. The opening day will consist of a consignor-preferred session, while the second day will feature an open session, followed by the racing-age portion.

The sale catalog features 574 horses among the three sessions, making for a 49 percent larger catalog than last year, which included 386 offerings without the benefit of a racing-age portion. Print copies of the sale’s racing-age segment will be available on the OBS sales grounds to account for later entries. Ninety-three horses were withdrawn from the sale as of Monday.

A presale under-tack show was held Monday, with results available here.

“The market has been pretty steady,” said OBS president Tom Ventura. “The yearling sales have held their own off of some very good years – 2012 and 2013 were really good years. They obviously didn’t move forward as fast, but they held their own. I think we’ll see more of the same in the mixed sales. I think it’ll be a steady market compared to last year.”

The OBS fall mixed sale is the latest auction to include offerings from the rapidly expanding horses-of-racing-age portion of the Thoroughbred market. In recent years, Fasig-Tipton and Barretts have established standalone racing-age sales, while other auctions have added or increased the profiles of their race-ready portions, including those at Fasig-Tipton Texas and Saratoga and the Keeneland November breeding stock sale.

OBS also has been active in that space, with its June sale of 2-year-olds and horses of racing age and, most recently, the addition of a portion for race-ready horses to its winter mixed sale in January 2011.

“We started the horses-of-racing-age section in January a couple years ago, and we’ve had good feedback from the buyers and the sellers,” Ventura said. “We started getting some interest in having one in October as well, so we’re giving it a shot.”

The racing-age portion of the sale accounts for 104 cataloged entries. Ventura said the gathering of horses in one place in an auction setting helps buyers sort through offerings more efficiently than when looking for racehorses privately.

“The purses in different parts of the country have increased significantly, and the number of horses to fill those races has shrunk because the foal crop has shrunk,” Ventura said. “To have a horse ready to run, or running, gives a buyer a chance for an immediate return on that horse. I see that as trying to put ourselves in a position to be able to accommodate both sides of the equation.”

Ventura also noted that the sale is one of the few racing-age auctions in North America in which the horses can have a presale public workout in a breeze show.

“That certainly helps the unraced horses, being able to display their talents, and horses that haven’t been out recently,” he said. “It just gives the buyer that extra vote of confidence to be able to raise their hand.”

The sale is one of the first stops on the mixed-auction calendar, which roughly spans from October to February. Because of its spot in the lineup, Ventura said the OBS fall mixed sale can provide buyers the opportunity to get first looks at the weanlings by first-crop stallions.

The group of sires represented by their first weanlings at this year’s renewal includes Algorithms, Astrology, Biondetti, Bullet Train, Dialed In, Dominus, Gemologist, Hansen, Maclean’s Music, Mission Impazable, Overdriven, and Stay Thirsty.

“It’s always good to see how the market reacts to some of these young horses,” Ventura said. “Obviously, the new stallions are coming off the racetrack and are living off their performances on the track. Now, when their first foals hit the ground, it’s interesting to see what type of horses they throw from a personal perspective, and then to see how the market reacts to them.”

Last year’s OBS fall mixed sale closed with 276 horses sold for $4,232,600, finishing 43 percent ahead of the 2012 renewal, which grossed $2,953,400 from 287 sold. The average sale price rose 49 percent, from $10,291 to $15,336.

A weanling filly by Kitten’s Joy and out of Brickyard Gal topped the sale, going to the Brogden family’s Machmer Hall for $110,000. Consigned by Top Line Sales, agent, the filly is from the family of the Arkansas Derby winner and young sire Papa Clem. She was pinhooked at the recent Keeneland September yearling auction through agent Select Sales and sold to John Ferguson, bloodstock adviser to Sheikh Mohammed al-Maktoum, for $190,000.

Hunter Valley Farm spent $72,000 to secure the sale’s highest-priced broodmare, Ribbon Taffy, a winning Hard Spun mare who sold in foal to Into Mischief.

To access a catalog, click here.