10/13/2005 11:00PM

OBS sale far better early than late


LEXINGTON, Ky. - The Ocala Breeders' Sales Company's fall mixed sale enjoyed strong returns early in its five-day run, but by Friday the sales figures had returned to earth. Despite lower numbers at the two open sessions, the auction did not disappoint Tom Ventura, general manager and sales director of OBS.

The Ocala, Fla., auction's consignor-preferred sessions, expanded this year from two to three, performed especially well, Ventura said.

"We grossed over $12 million [for the] three days, and the higher-priced mares and weanlings sold very well," he said. "The upper end of the market was good."

Buoyed by 10 horses that sold for $100,000 or more, the consignor-preferred sessions grossed $12,458,500 for 559 horses, up substantially from last year's $8,730,000 for 424 lots. The average price of $22,287 was also an improvement from last year. The median dipped from $15,000 to $14,000.

The auction's top price was the $240,000 Doug Arnold paid to acquire Grade 3 winner Indian Ocean's dam, Indian Halo. Bridlewood Farm, agent, sold Indian Halo, a 10-year-old Halo mare.

The market below those six-figure horses was tougher on sellers, though. One probable factor: oversupply.

"There are more to pick from, so people buying at that level have a lot of opportunity to choose their horses," Ventura said. "Once you get to that lower end, there are just more horses being offered for sale."

The two open sessions grossed $1,443,100 for 313 horses, down 13 percent from the $1,665,900 for last year's 269 head. The average price fell 26 percent from $6,193 to $4,611, and the median slipped 19 percent from $3,700 to $3,000.

At Friday's final session, the session-topper was Hip No. 1448, a 4-year-old Kayrawan filly named River Thames who sold for $72,000. Summerfield, agent, sold the filly as a broodmare prospect to Jack Goldthorpe. River Thames got a timely boost before the sale when Stream Cat, her half-brother by Black Minnaloushe, won the Sept. 17 Kentucky Cup Juvenile in his first graded score and second stakes victory. He had put even more glory in the page with a third-placed finish in the Grade 1 Lane's End Breeders' Futurity at Keeneland on Oct. 8.

Numbers strong at Tattersalls

The fall yearling market has picked up where it left off after the Keeneland September sale. Led by a sale-record $9.7 million Storm Cat-Tranquility Lake colt, the Keeneland September sale in Lexington rang up dramatic gains this year to produce records for number sold (3,545), gross ($384,349,900), average price ($108,420), and median ($40,000). The market's strength took many pundits and sales participants by surprise, but now the Tattersalls October sales in Newmarket, England, are following the same trend.

The Tattersalls October yearling auction is divided into three parts, two of which were completed by Friday. And those two segments performed remarkably well.

Part 2, which concluded Thursday evening, set records for gross, average, and median. Overall, the four-day second portion of the Tattersalls October sale sold 636 lots for a gross that, when converted into dollars from the local currency of guineas, was about $31,572,941. The average price was about $49,642, and median was about $33,453 - all up by double-digits from last year's returns.

The top seller at the second segment was a Red Ransom filly out of the Machiavellian mare Maskaya. She brought a sale-record 270,000 guineas, about $501,795, besting the sale record of 210,000 guineas that had been set the previous day by a Kyllachy-Placement filly.

Part 1, which ran Oct. 4-7, set records for gross and top price. Gross reached about $110,831,648 for 499 yearlings, resulting in an average price of about $222,108. The record top lot was a Kingmambo-Last Second colt that brought 1,250,000 guineas, or about $2,323,125.

The October sale's third and final segment is set for Oct. 28.

Stonewall offers incentives

Stonewall Farm, the Midway, Ky., stallion operation opened earlier this year by Richard and Audrey Haisfield, will offer several incentives for breeders to send their mares to the farm's stallions.

Stonewall will stand Doneraile Court, Lesroidesanimaux, Medaglia d'Oro, and Marquetry in 2006. The farm announced late this week that any breeder getting an American stakes winner by a Stonewall stallion will receive a free, no-guarantee season back to that stallion. Stonewall also will provide, on a limited basis, free seasons to mares who are Grade 1 winners of the dams of current Grade 1 winners. The farm already is considering free-season applications, and interested breeders should contact Stonewall manager Bert Welker.

Walmac hires Richardson

Larry Richardson, who most recently worked with Jim Phelps to open the Stony Oak farm and training facility on part of the historic Xalapa Farm property near Paris, Ky., will now head to Walmac Farm.

Walmac's managing director, John T. L. Jones III, has hired Richardson as director of business development. Richardson will evaluate the Walmac stallions' foals, recruit broodmare prospects and stallion prospects for the Lexington nursery, and also will work with Walmac's interest in the Four Stars Sales agency.

Richardson also continues in his work with Stony Oak. Richardson manages Stony Oak's racing partnerships, whose ownership interests include Breeders' Cup Sprint contender Elusive Jazz.