04/16/2015 4:29PM

OBS spring sale presents offerings at all levels


Over the past decade, the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Co. spring sale of 2-year-olds in training has found the sweet spot between quantity and quality with historic results.

The middle sale on the central Florida auction house’s juvenile calendar has posted record returns in gross receipts, average price, and median price over each of its past three renewals and enters with positive momentum from a revamped March sale that was well received by buyers and consignors.

“When you go to OBS, you know you’re going to find horses you like at all price levels, which is very appealing to a lot of people,” said John Moynihan, bloodstock adviser for Stonestreet Stables. “Their track record speaks for itself. So many good horses come out of [the] March and April [sales]. I expect the sale to be very good. It’ll be tough to buy the good ones, just like in March.”

The four-day auction will be held April 21-24 at the OBS sales pavilion, beginning each day at 10:30 a.m. Eastern. The presale under-tack show spanned six days at the adjacent Ocala Training Center from April 13-18.

The catalog features 1,202 entries, keeping steady with last year’s catalog of 1,206 horses. The stability in the number of horses cataloged in the spring sale is noteworthy because of the expansion of the March 2-year-olds in training sale earlier this year, which dropped its select modifier and added 200 horses to its book from the previous edition.

Leading up to the auction company’s March sale, OBS president Tom Ventura said the earlier sale’s growing catalog would not cannibalize the group of horses on offer in April. As the juvenile market has shifted its interest toward broader catalogs, the spring sale has benefited from a willingness by sellers to place high-quality horses in spots on the calendar that best suit them, instead of chasing elite buyers at the select sales with a horse that might need more time to develop.

Ventura said this year’s spring sale continued the trend of cataloging potential big-ticket horses to sit at the high end of the market’s broad spectrum. While the sale has been a diverse source of runners in the past, the ability to attract a number of high-six-figure juveniles to central Florida in the middle of the season, as well as the right people to bid on them, is a fairly new revelation.

“They’re not unique anymore in April,” Ventura said. “You go through the sire list, and you could pull the top 10, and they’re probably represented in April. That certainly helps the April sale, where the consignors aren’t concerned about being in the wrong spot with the horse [anymore].

“In the past, they were concerned with having to be in a select sale. They feel very comfortable that the buyers will be here at all levels, including the very top level, which may not have been the case 10 years ago. Five years ago, it was going in that direction, and certainly over the past few years, if you bring a horse of any quality to the April sale, you’ll get top dollar for it.”

While the format of the auction itself remains unchanged from previous renewals of the OBS spring sale, the expanded breeze show was a new wrinkle carried over from last year’s June sale of 2-year-olds and horses of racing age, which featured a catalog nearly identical in size to the April sales. The breeze show, spanning six sessions, previously mirrored the sale’s four-day format.

“We experimented with that last year in June, and it was very popular among the buyers and the sellers,” Ventura said. “We live in Florida, and we get a lot of weather changes and rain. Our track can handle plenty of rain, but it gives us time. If we need to take an hour break, we can still get the horses done in a day, and worst-case scenario, if we have torrential downpours, we can shuffle the horses into other days. It just gives us the flexibility, and we get done relatively early. It gives the buyers the chance to look at the horses in the afternoon, and it’s not quite as long a day on both the buyers and the sellers.”

Last year’s sale finished with 770 horses sold for record revenues of $56,965,000, up 17 percent from the previous year. The average sale price was $73,981, up 24 percent from the record set in 2014, while the median  price rose 29 percent to an all-time high of $45,000.

The 2014 spring sale was topped by a Tapit colt who sold to Mike Repole for $725,000. The colt, later named Overcontrol, is the third foal out of the Grade 2-placed stakes-winning More Than Ready mare Ready for Fortune and was consigned as agent by de Meric Sales.

Trained by Todd Pletcher, Overcontrol has raced twice, winning his maiden in his debut start at Gulfstream Park by 4 1/4 lengths.

Other notable graduates from last year’s OBS spring sale include the Grade 2 winner Leave the Light On; the Grade 3 winners Ocho Ocho Ocho and Calculator; and the multiple stakes winner Mr. Jordan.

April 21-24, 10:30 a.m. Eastern
WHERE: OBS Sales Complex,
1701 SW 60th Ave., Ocala, Fla. 34474
PHONE: (352) 237-2154
CATALOG: 1,202 horses, down 0.3 percent from 1,206 last year
RECENT HISTORY: The 2014 sale posted record results across the board while selling 770 horses for $56,965,000 (up 17 percent), an average price of $73,981 (up 24 percent), and a median of $45,000 (up 29 percent). Mike Repole bought a Tapit colt out of Ready for Fortune, consigned by de Meric Sales, agent, for $725,000 to top the sale. Named Overcontrol, the colt won his maiden in December.
INTERNET: Live streaming at obssales.com