08/18/2016 9:23AM

Ocala Breeders' sale has largest yearling catalog in seven years

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Interest by sellers in the Central Florida market continued to grow with the 2016 edition of the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Co. August yearling sale, illustrated by the largest catalog in seven years.

The three-day auction will be Aug. 23-25; each session begins at 10:30 a.m. Eastern.

A total of 1,043 yearlings are cataloged for this year’s sale, up 29 percent from last year, when 811 horses were entered. The horses on offer represent the largest book since the 2009 edition, which featured 1,147 yearlings.

“We’re really happy with the horses that we have in the sale,” OBS president Tom Ventura said. “We’ve got some quality physicals and sire power to match, so we’re really pleased with what the consignors have brought to the table, and we hope it translates come sale time.”

The auction will open with a 274-horse select session Tuesday, Aug. 23, followed by two open sessions on Aug. 24-25.

:: DRF BREEDING LIVE: Real-time coverage and live streaming of the OBS yearling sale starts 10:30 a.m. Eastern on Tuesday

The pattern of buyers flocking to a choice few offerings has proven especially true in 2016 throughout all North American markets and levels of sales. With that in mind, Ventura said that the August sale’s setup, leading with a quality select session, should help start the sale on a positive note by giving the people what they want.

“The select sale certainly has a higher concentration of the better pedigrees or the horses that would be bringing more money than in the open session,” Ventura said. “I feel comfortable with that part of the sale.

“We have some nice horses in the open session that were, between the consignors and us, strategically placed horses away from the select sale so they maybe stand out a little more,” Ventura said. “I think there will be plenty of quality through the whole sale, it’ll just be concentrated on the first day.”

Francis Vanlangendonck of consignor Summerfield Sales also advised against sleeping on the open sessions at the OBS August sale.

“I think the market’s a little stronger than people think,” he said. “I think once it starts rolling, it’s going to get good.”

Summerfield offers the largest consignment of the OBS August sale, with 129 yearlings entered over the three sessions, roughly 11 percent of the overall catalog.

Vanlangendonck noted that a large part of the sale’s appeal is its proximity to a large portion of the pinhooking market, which is largely based in Central Florida and sells the bulk of its stock at the three massive juvenile sales OBS hosts in March, April, and June.

“I think it’s going to be good,” Vanlangendonck said about the August sale. “We have a very broad spectrum of stallions and a lot of people wanting to come down and do some buying.

“You’ve got to have something between the catalog pages to make them come in, and we’ve got that with the physicals to match the pedigrees,” he continued. “We’re excited for it.”

The OBS August catalog features 16 yearlings from the final crop of perennial Florida leading sire Wildcat Heir, including a full sister to his graded stakes-winning daughter Derwin’s Star. At the time of his death in January 2015, Wildcat Heir, a record-setting freshman sire, had finished first or second on Florida’s general sire list each year since 2010.

With Distinction, who assumed command of the Florida general sire list following Wildcat Heir’s death, is represented by 15 yearlings in the catalog. Promising young stallion Kantharos, represented by runners such as Group 1-placed X Y Jet and graded winner Mr. Jordan, has 25 in the book.

First-year yearling sires also will take a turn in the spotlight at OBS, and Florida has a particularly strong hand this year, with new farms moving aggressively to acquire stock and major operation Adena Springs moving back into the stallion market. Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Fort Larned began his stud career at the Adena Springs Kentucky facility before the operation moved him south to Florida to join its re-launched stallion roster there.

Grade 1 winners Currency Swap, Poseidon’s Warrior, Treasure Beach, and Turbo Compressor, along with versatile graded stakes winner Soldat, also are among Florida’s first-year yearling sires. The state also has two first-year sires from stallion-making pedigrees in City Wolf, a half-brother to Ghostzapper and City Zip; and Brethren, a half-brother to Super Saver from the family of Not For Love, Rhythm, and Bluegrass Cat. Treasure Beach, Poseidon’s Warrior, and Brethren are part of a deep roster of eight young stallions at the new Pleasant Acres operation, which launched in 2014.

The select session of last year’s OBS August sale finished with 150 yearlings sold for revenues of $6,774,500, down 13 percent from the previous year. The average sale price fell 2 percent to $45,163, the median went unchanged at $35,000.

The sale-topper was an Arch filly who sold to Niall Brennan, as agent for Marc Keller, for $320,000. Later named Remarqued, the filly is out of the multiple-stakes-winning Proud Citizen mare Citizen Advocate, and was consigned by Beth Bayer, as agent.

Remarqued is unraced through Aug. 15, and has been working toward his debut start at Fair Hill Training Center.

While the select portion was generally down, the open session performed more positively. The two-day open catalog moved 404 horses for $5,456,400, which marked a 15-percent decline with 92 fewer horses sold. However, the average price rose 5 percent to $13,506 and the median increased 19 percent to $9,500.

Becky Thomas bought the open portion topper, a $100,000 Yes It’s True colt out of the unraced Medaglia d’Oro mare Wild Eyes. Summerfield consigned the colt, later named Nonno, as agent.

Thomas pinhooked the colt for $125,000 at the OBS March 2-year-olds in training sale, and he has started twice in the Mid-Atlantic region for owner Mr. Amore Stable and trainer Kelly Breen.