05/03/2007 11:00PM

OBS sale falls short of record '06 numbers


The 2007 Ocala Breeders' Sales spring sale of 2-year-olds in training, April 24-27, was going against last year's record numbers. When this year's numbers were tallied, they were off the '06 average price by a little over 11 percent - $28,878 versus $32,494 - but the median price of $17,000 remained the same.

The sale's leading buyer was Thomas Clark Bloodstock, representing the Korean Racing Association. The agency bought a total of 44 lots and spent $581,700 for the Koreans, who have become annual shoppers at this auction. The sale's leading consignors were M & H Training and Sales, which sold 55 lots for $1.5 million. Eisaman Thoroughbreds, last year's leading consignor, sold 34 lots for $1.4 million, Shadybrook Farm sold 19 for $1.1 million, and Ocala Stud sold 33 for $1 million.

The sale's highest-priced colt, Hip No. 1370, a son of Trippi-Unbridled Bliss, by Unbridled, was consigned by Ocala Stud and went to E. Paul Robsham for $410,000. The highest-priced filly, Hip No. 1230, was sold for $300,000. She is a daughter of Stormy Atlantic-Southern Musical, by Southern Halo, and was sold by Constanzo Sales going to Zayat Stables.

The scenario for the April sale was pretty much the same as it has been for all the major 2-year-old sales this year. Those horses with athletic charisma who looked and acted the part under tack had no trouble attracting bidding. For those lacking one or the other or both, the market was unforgiving. Consequently, the buyback rate of 32.7 percent was up from last year's 23.3 percent.

Long run nearly over for Sherman

Mike Sherman made his final rounds at the spring sale. His purpose was to say good-bye to all those he knew and did business with when he was operating Farnsworth Farms.

"I've been a member of the Ocala Thoroughbred community for 44 years, and there are so many memories," he said.

The original Farnsworth Farms was founded in 1962 by Mike's father, the late Issie Sherman. The Boston entrepreneur was a business associate of Lou Wolfson. Wolfson's thousand-acre Harbor View Farm in Ocala was a going concern by 1961 and it was Wolfson who entreated the senior Sherman to go into the commercial end of the Thoroughbred business.

Mike Sherman, representing the Sherman family, which includes his sister Dayle Silver and the family children, operated the business until the farm was sold in June of '06 to Robert Miller of Main Street Management. The sale included the 427 acres, facilities, and the Farnsworth Farms name.

Sherman has a stable of 20 horses at Calder Race Course. "When they are gone, so will I," he said.

When asked what his next endeavor might be, Sherman said that he was back in college at Florida International University. "I'm the only gray-head in my classes," he said.

Sherman graduated from Maine's Bowdoin College half a century ago. "We were just beginning the war in Vietnam then, and the draft was on, so there are a lot of courses I never got around to taking," he said. "Now I can."

When he asked about the future of Farnsworth Farms, Sherman said that the last he knew the farm was being developed into a state-of-the-art Thoroughbred rehabilitation center. And, that there will undoubtedly be real estate development but the plan was an ongoing work in progress.

When asked if his decision to exit the Thoroughbred world was irrevocable, Sherman replied, "I had my run, it was a great run, none of the family's younger generations are interested, and so it's time to move on."