06/23/2011 1:01PM

Ocala sale results seen as sign of stabilizing market

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The Ocala Breeders’ Sales Company’s June sale closed out the juvenile auction season Wednesday with results the auction house’s general manager says indicate stability in the 2-year-old market.

The Ocala, Fla., sale company expanded its June auction from one to two days this year and got a big boost to its bottom line when the gross jumped 45 percent: 339 juveniles sold for $7,121,700, as compared with 230 bringing $4,912,100 last year. The average price slipped less than 2 percent, falling from $21,357 to $21,008, and median lost 33 percent as it dropped from $15,000 to $10,000. Buy-backs also declined, from 31 percent last year to 28 percent.

The general manager of Ocala Breeders’ Sales, Tom Ventura, noted that the median price’s steep decline came after a sharp 60-percent increases in the 2010 median, and he said he took the auction’s returns as a sign that the juvenile market was continuing to stabilize.

“With almost 50 percent more horses cataloged, the numbers held up very well,” Ventura said. “Through the 2-year-old season, we’ve had the same results, whether at the select end in March or April and June. That’s positive, that we saw some leveling off and even some inching forward.”

Trainer Bob Baffert, who picked up last year’s $220,000 sale-topper, returned to take home one of the co-toppers this year. That was a $300,000 colt by the late freshman sire Stormello, who was euthanized in April because of colic complications. Blue River Bloodstock consigned the Stormello colt, a onetime $1,700 weanling that Blue River bought for $25,000 at last year’s August yearling auction in Ocala. The colt is out of Puff the Magic, by Red Ransom.

The OBS June sale’s other sale-topping juvenile was a $300,000 Bernstein colt out of Within, by Rahy. The EQB agency’s Patrice Miller and Jeff Seder bought the colt. Robert Brewer consigned the colt after paying $31,000 for him as a yearling last season.

Both $300,000 colts had had fast works at the Ocala auction’s under-tack show. The son of Stormello put up the fastest quarter-mile time of 20.8 seconds, and the Bernstein colt’s eighth-mile time of 10 seconds was the second-fastest overall for that distance.