01/18/2008 1:00AM

Ocala's first open session posts gains


Gross, average, and median increased Thursday at Day 2 of the Ocala Breeders' Sales Co.'s winter mixed sale in Ocala, Fla.

The second of three sessions, and the first open session, sold 184 horses for $1,158,600, up from the gross of $1,124,000 for 183 horses at last year's equivalent session. The 2008 average was up slightly, from last year's $6,142 to $6,297. The median was $4,350, up from $4,000 last year. But buy-backs also rose, from 28 percent to 31 percent.

Thursday's session-topper was Hip No. 548, the $50,000 broodmare Leyenda Dorada. The 6-year-old Gold Legend mare sold to Frank Stronach's Adena Springs, which also bought the session-topper at Monday's opener, the $90,000 broodmare Kabeeb.

Puerto Rico-bred Leyenda Dorada was a champion in her native land. Derby Daze Farm, agent, consigned the mare as a broodmare prospect.

Thursday's top-priced yearling was Hip No. 561, a $35,000 Macho Uno colt out of the Relaunch winner Jo Ann's Gal. Bob & John LLC purchased the colt, a half-brother to winners Seismatic and Rubiano Star. The Summerfield agency consigned the gray or roan colt.

Australia calls flu "contained"

With the nation's major yearling sale season right around the corner, Australia's government wants international buyers to know that the equine influenza outbreak will have little effect on bloodstock at auctions.

Australia's breeding industry was crippled this summer after a group of shuttle stallions entering the country came down with the rarely fatal but highly contagious respiratory disease. It later spread outside of the stallions' quarantine facility and into New South Wales and Queensland, major racing and breeding centers, prompting authorities to impose a ban on equine movement and to begin a vaccination campaign against the disease.

But on Jan. 17, Australia's chief veterinary officer, Dr. Andy Carroll, pronounced the disease "contained," an announcement that the Australian Racing Board distributed in an effort to ease potential foreign owners' and buyers' minds. The Inglis Classic yearling sale is slated to begin Feb. 10 at the Inglis auction house in New South Wales, followed by sales in Perth and Brisbane in Queensland. Two of the nation's most important yearling sales, the Magic Millions Gold Coast premier auction in Queensland and the Inglis Easter yearling sale in New South Wales, take place in March and April. None is expected to be disrupted.

"Since reaching a high of some 10,000 infected premises in October/November last year, we now have less than 1,000 infected premises, indicating that our strategy in combating the disease has been highly successful," Carroll said. There have been no new reports of infection since Dec. 22, and authorities are hopeful they can eradicate the disease in infected areas by the end of March.

The Australian Racing Board's chairman, Bob Pearson, said race meets and sales will still be subject to extra biosecurity measures, but horses will be able to travel between Australia and many other nations as freely as before the outbreak, according to the racing board.

"The United States, United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Belgium, Ireland, and the Republic of Korea continue to import horses from Australia in accordance with conditions in place prior to the outbreak," the board statement said.

Australian officials currently are negotiating with authorities from Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong, New Zealand, the United Arab Emirates, and other jurisdictions to allow importation of Australian horses.

Wagon Limit off to Louisiana

Grade 1 winner Wagon Limit, Silver Wagon's sire, is on the move. The 14-year-old Conquistador Cielo horse, who stood at Stone Farm for $2,500, is heading to Louisiana, where he will stand at Moon Lake Farm in Elm Grove. His 2008 fee has yet to be announced.

Wagon Limit got Silver Wagon, a two-time Grade 1 winner and millionaire, from his first crop in 2001. He also is the sire of graded-placed stakes-winner Rehoboth, among other stakes performers.