03/14/2012 4:34PM

Ocala's 2012 March sale ends with gains

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Led by an $800,000 War Front colt, the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Company’s March select 2-year-old auction extended the boutique sale season’s early gains when it closed Wednesday with more increases in all financial categories.

The two-day auction sold 179 juveniles for $24,819,500, up just under 1 percent from the gross receipts for a much larger group of horses, 237, last season. The 2012 average price was $138,656, which is 33 percent higher than last year’s figure, and the median moved up 50 percent, from $70,000 in 2011 to $105,000. The buy-back rate dropped slightly, from 26 percent last year to 25 percent.

Frank Fletcher Racing bought the sale-topping colt Wednesday from Harris Training Center’s agency. Fletcher also bought Tuesday’s session-topper, a $485,000 Empire Maker-Trip filly, another Harris Training Center graduate. Wednesday’s sale-topping War Front colt is a son of the Horse Chestnut mare Henna. The dam never raced, but she is a half-sister to dual Grade 1 winner and sire Pomeroy. The sale-topper posted a 10-second work for a furlong at the auction’s under-tack preview.

The auction’s second-highest price was the $525,000 that Stonestreet Stables paid for a colt by freshman sire Tiz Wonderful during Wednesday’s session. Cataloged as Hip No. 323, the son of stakes-placed Foolish Kiss had had a 10-second work over a furlong at the under-tack show. He is a half-brother to the winner Admiral Rocket. Agent Paul Sharp consigned him.

Hip No. 350, a son of Leroidesanimaux and the graded winner Humoristic, by Sefapiano, brought $490,000. Agent Deuce Greathouse was listed as the purchaser. Eddie Woods, agent, consigned the chestnut colt, who is a half-brother to the winner Easy Crossing.

Also bringing more than $400,000 were a pair of $475,000 juveniles, one a Street Sense filly and the other a Read the Footnotes colt. Trainer Todd Pletcher bought the Street Sense filly for Mike Repole. A bay filly, she is out of the stakes-placed Unlimited Pleasure, by Valid Appeal, and is a half-sister to Grade 1-placed stakes-winner Jardin. She had a quarter-mile work in 21.6 seconds at the sale’s under-tack preview. Ocala Stud consigned her as Hip No. 188.

The Read the Footnotes colt sold to Toyomitsu Hirai. Offered as Hip No. 298, the chestnut is out of the unraced Dixie Union mare Dixie Talent. He had the under-tack show’s co-fastest quarter-mile work in 20.8 seconds. Southern Chase Farm, agent, consigned him.

The OBS results continued gains seen March 5 at California’s smaller Barretts March select auction. That sale led off the season for the first time and sold 77 horses for $8,426,000, a 52-percent increase over 2011’s total for 55 horses. The average price climbed 9 percent, reaching $100,709, and the median jumped ahead by 21 percent at $85,000.