08/27/2009 11:00PM

OBS sale ends with steep declines

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LEXINGTON, Ky. - The Ocala Breeders' Sales Company's August yearling sale ended Thursday with double-digit declines that signal continuing difficulties for this season's yearling sellers.

Thursday's session-topper was Hip No. 907, a $38,000 Congrats filly out of Red Hot Star, by Tabasco Cat. Vinery Stables purchased the dark bay or brown filly from Lisa McGreevy's Abbie Road Farm agency.

The three open sessions in Ocala, Fla., ended with 549 yearlings sold for a total of $3,879,900, down 39 percent from last year's gross for 628 horses. Average price fell 30 percent to $7,067, and median declined 27 percent to $4,000. But the buyback rate improved, from 32 percent last season to 27 percent.

The open session's top price was the $100,000 that Repole Stable paid for the Woodside Ranch agency's Wildcat Heir-Afleet Closer filly.

The four-day auction began with a single select session that sold 113 horses for $3,708,500, a 34-percent decrease from last year's total for the same number. The $32,819 average price was down 34 percent, and the $25,000 median was off by 38 percent. The select session's top yearling by price -- and the overall sale-topper -- was a $275,000 Medaglia d'Oro filly out of stakes winner Lolabell, by Phone Trick. Live Oak Plantation bought the filly from Francis and Barbara Vanlangendonck's Summerfield agency.

Despite the softer market, the buyback rate for the select session decreased, falling from last year's 44 percent to 38 percent.

:: SALE RESULTS: )

On Wednesday, the sale's next-to-last session sold 185 horses for $1,352,200, a 34 percent drop from last year's total for a larger group of 226 horses. Average price fell 19 percent to $7,309, and median dropped by 18 percent to $4,500. Buy-backs stayed nearly level, rising from 28 percent in 2008 to 28.6 percent this year.

Wednesday's session toppers were a trio of $45,000 yearlings. The first was Hip No. 682, a Stormy Atlantic-La Defense colt that MC Brothers bought from Francis and Barbara Vanlangendonck's Summerfield agency; he is a half-brother to stakes winner Quelle Surprise.

Summerfield also sold the second $45,000 colt, Hip No. 718, a Put It Back-Lovely Lyric colt. Bo Hunt, agent, bought the half-brother to stakes-placed Sharcan.

Hip No. 781 was the last to bring $45,000. She is a filly by Pomeroy out of Misty Springs that Big C Farm consigned. Vinery Stables was the buyer. Hip No. 781 is a half-sister to graded-placed Eye Dazzler.

Onaga, dam of Aragorn, dies

Onaga, dam of two-time Grade 1 winner and Breeders' Cup Mile runner-up Aragorn, died Aug. 14. Her death came just days after her $2.8 million Storm Cat colt topped the Saratoga select yearling sale, Summer Wind Farm owner Jane Lyon has confirmed.

Onaga, a 15-year-old Mr. Prospector mare, was in Ireland at Sheikh Mohammed al-Maktoum's Kildangan Stud and was carrying a foal by his Raven's Pass at the time of her death. Necropsy reports are pending, but Lyon said preliminary information suggests the mare hemorrhaged overnight in her pasture.

Jane and Frank Lyon's Summer Wind Farm, located near Georgetown, Ky., bought Onaga privately at the 2003 Keeneland November sale after she failed to reach her reserve price on a $1,475,000 bid. She already had produced Aragorn, then a yearling, and was carrying a Storm Cat filly, later named Kaseema, that Summer Wind sold for $1.1 million. Summer Wind also bred and sold her Giant's Causeway filly Catigo, a $1.5 million yearling at the 2007 Keeneland September sale.

"She was a little bit larger than some of the Mr. Prospector mares, and I just liked everything about her," Lyon said. "Her pedigree was phenomenal, being by Mr. Prospector by a Northern Dancer mare, and she already had sisters that were successful.

"Being commercial breeders, I try to disassociate myself a little from the foals, because I know they have to go to the sales, and it's an agreement I have with my husband," she added. "But I tend to let myself get extremely close to the mares, and that's why I have a reputation of, when I buy a mare, I very rarely sell her again. I do become attached to them, and generally I am involved in their foaling and all that. It's like losing a family member or friend or pet, something that's important to me. It doesn't matter whether they're that financially important. I have mares that probably never will be financially in the black, and I feel the same way about them."

Onaga was out of the Grade 2-winning Northern Dancer mare Savannah Dancer. She was a full sister to Tacha, the dam of Europe's 2003 champion juvenile One Cool Cat, and to Group 1-placed and graded winner Sha Tha. She also was a half-sister to Group 3 winner Brier Creek.

Shakespeare moving to Florida

Millionaire and two-time Grade 1 winner Shakespeare will relocate from Hill 'n' Dale Farm in Lexington to Signature Stallions in Reddick, Fla., for the 2010 season. This year was Shakespeare's second season at stud, and he stood at Hill 'n' Dale for an advertised fee of $10,000. The 8-year-old Theatrical horse will stand for that fee again in 2010, said Signature Stallions general manager Bill Bazzell.

William Schettine, who co-owns Shakespeare with Dell Ridge Farm, also owns Signature Stallions.

"We thought we'd bring another nice horse from Kentucky, as we did with Chapel Royal," Bazzell said, referring to the 2008 private sale that brought Chapel Royal from Ashford Stud to Signature Stallions. "Mr. Schettine is supporting Florida breeders and the breeding program here, and we deserve to have some nice horses down here."

Bazzell said breeders sending mares to Shakespeare will be eligible for a multiple-mare discount on the stud fee.

Shakespeare is a son of Grade 1 winner Lady Shirl, by That's a Nice.

* Grade 3 winner Yesbyjimminy, a 5-year-old Yes It's True-Sisters Creek horse, has retired to Bridlewood Farm. A seven-time stakes-winning sprinter, he bankrolled $586,940 from 11 wins in 25 starts. Yesbyjimminy is a half-brother to stakes winner Magic Mecke and A.J. Melini and a full brother to Grade 2-placed Qureall. His fee will be announced later, according to Bridlewood.

* Multiple stakes winner Tap Dancing Mauk, an 8-year-old Louis Quatorze gelding, has retired, according to owner and trainer Bill Mauk. Purchased by Mauk for just $9,500 at the 2002 Keeneland October yearling sale, Tap Dancing Mauk went on to win $476,506 with 7 wins in 44 lifetime starts.