04/21/2017 8:16AM

OBS spring 2-year-old sale riding wave of previous success

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While the overall market remains divisive, the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Co. spring sale of 2-year-olds in training enters its 2017 renewal with a good deal of momentum.

The North American juvenile market’s most populous sale has posted a record median sale price in each of its past five editions and immediately follows an OBS March sale of 2-year-olds in training that saw all-time highs in gross and average. On the racetrack, the profile of last year’s sale was boosted by the campaign of the champion filly Champagne Room.

The market remains increasingly unstable for horses who fall below the curve, but the OBS spring auction’s success in attracting high-end buyers and producing elite runners continues to grow its reputation as a one-stop sale for a broad spectrum of industry participants.

“I think we have the confidence of the consignors, first and foremost, that they can bring a horse of any quality – the best bloodlines, the best conformation, an expensive pinhook, whatever it may be,” said OBS president Tom Ventura. “They can bring it to this sale and have complete confidence that there will be money at the top end for it.

“Obviously, it’s critical for a sale of this size that the middle market is strong and the lower-end horses can find owners. I think that’s the attraction, the pure numbers. We have over 1,200 horses cataloged, and a buyer can come knowing that if he wants to buy a horse, he’ll find something that meets his budget and criteria.”

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This year’s sale is Tuesday through Friday at the auction company’s central Florida complex, beginning each day at 10:30 a.m. Eastern. As usual, the horses breezed over the adjacent Ocala Training Center’s all-weather Safetrack surface during the under-tack show.

The catalog continues to operate at near capacity for the OBS barns, with 1,205 entries over the sale’s four sessions marking a 0.7 percent decrease from last year’s book of 1,214 offerings.

Ventura said he was comfortable with the size of the catalog, given the number of stalls on the OBS sale grounds. In the past, OBS has added temporary stalls to accommodate more entries, but since the auction already requires at least 12 days of commitment between the six-day breeze show, the four-day auction, and two days in between, Ventura said he did not want to further stretch the time or resources of buyers and sellers.

Furthermore, Ventura said he could not grow the catalog by moving horses in and out of stalls over the course of the sale as a company might during the yearling or mixed calendars.

“It would be logistically impossible with a 2-year-olds-in-training sale,” he said. “Every horse that is here has been here and prepped over the track, so it’s different than at a yearling sale, where you can rotate stalls. Barn 1 can be used three times at a yearling sale, but it can only be used once at a 2-year-old sale.”

Last year’s sale kept a tight pace with the previous record-setting edition, with 659 horses selling for $52,010,500, down 2 percent. The average sale price finished at $78,923, which halted a four-year run of record performances in the category and marked a 0.2 percent decline from the all-time high of $79,068, set the previous year.

The median sale price set a record for a fifth straight year, growing 4 percent to $47,000 from the 2015 high-water mark of $45,000.

The highest price came for a Broken Vow ridgling who sold to Breeze Easy for $1.2 million. Later named Glacier, the ridgling resides in the barn of trainer Bob Baffert and has won one of six starts while racing primarily in Southern California.

In addition to Champagne Room, the notable graduates from last year’s edition include Grade 1 winner Union Strike and Grade 3 winners Fast and Accurate, Wellabled, La Coronel, and Theory.

Hips to watch

Following are horses to watch at the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Co. spring sale of 2-year-olds in training, based on their pedigrees, past auction performances, and notable family members. Presale under-tack-show performance, conformation, physical characteristics, veterinarian records, and late pedigree updates were not taken into consideration.

Hip No. 50, Ch. c., Tapit-Wild Poppy, by El Prado, consigned by Wavertree Stables, agent.
The colt’s second dam is the champion Flanders, putting him in the family of champion Surfside, Grade 2 winners Battle Plan and Open Water, and Grade 3/Group 3 winners Irish Surf and High Celebrity.  

Hip No. 120, B. c., Candy Ride-Appealing Zophie, by Successful Appeal, consigned by Flying Fish, agent.
Grade 1 winner Appealing Zophie’s three winners from five runners include Grade 2 winner and Kentucky Derby contender Tapwrit, who sold for $1.2 million as a yearling.

Hip No. 132, Dk. b. or br. c., Giant’s Causeway-Ava Knowsthecode, by Cryptoclearance, consigned by Randy Bradshaw, agent.
Five of the dam’s eight winners from 11 runners won a graded stakes: Grade 1 winners Justin Phillip and Greenpointcrusader, Grade 2 winner Keyed Entry, and Grade 3 winners Algorithms and Successful Mission.

Hip No. 184, B. f., Medaglia d’Oro-Bouquet Booth, by Flower Alley, consigned by Sequel Bloodstock, agent.
Grade 3 winner Bouquet Booth’s first foal, a Tapit colt named Tapsolute, sold as a yearling for $600,000. Third dam Toll Fee is the pivot point for runners including Horse of the Year Havre de Grace, champion Plugged Nickle, Belmont Stakes winner Tonalist, and Grade 1 winner Riskaverse.

Hip No. 402, Ch. f., Tapit-Evening Jewel, by Northern Afleet, consigned by Eddie Woods, agent.
Multiple Grade 1 winner Evening Jewel has had one winner from two runners. This colt, from the breeding program of Aaron and Marie Jones, sold for $400,000 at last year’s Keeneland September yearling sale.

Hip No. 694, Gr. or ro. c., Tapit-Lighthouse Bay, by Speightstown, consigned by de Meric Sales, agent.
The first foal out of Grade 1 winner Lighthouse Bay was a $335,000 RNA out of last year’s Fasig-Tipton Kentucky July yearling sale.

Hip No. 925, B. f., Into Mischief-Que Belle, by Seattle Dancer, consigned by Paul Sharp, agent.
Que Belle, a Group 2 winner in Germany, a stakes winner in the U.S., and a Group 1-placed runner in France, has had five winners from seven foals to race, led by Grade 3 winner Osidy and French Group 3 winner Quetsche.

Hip No. 945, Ch. f., Tapit-Reaching, by Dansili, consigned by Wavertree Stables, agent.
The second foal out of the placed Reaching, who comes from the direct female line of Kentucky Oaks winner and top broodmare Blush With Pride. Reaching’s first foal, a Frankel colt, was an $804,195 RNA at the 2015 Tattersalls October sale.

Hip No. 1064, Dk. b. or br. c., Bernardini-Sleepytime, by Royal Academy, consigned by de Meric Sales, agent.
English classic winner Sleepytime’s seven winners from eight runners include English Group 3 winners Gentleman’s Deal and Hathal, stakes winner Dame Ellen, and Irish Group 3-placed Spanish Harlem.

Hip No. 1093, Ch. c., Malibu Moon-Spirited Away, by Awesome Again, consigned by Hartley/De Renzo Thoroughbreds, agent.
Grade 2 winner Prospective is a full brother to this colt, and his third dam is the champion North Sider.