02/08/2005 1:00AM

Phone Trick colt sells for $550K

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LEXINGTON, Ky. - A cast of prominent Thoroughbred buyers helped the Ocala Breeders' Sales Co. kick off the select 2-year-old season on Tuesday at Calder Race Course. With names such as Kentucky Derby-winning owner John Oxley and professional golfer Gary Player on the early result sheets, the one-day OBS select juvenile sale was ringing up plenty of six-figure horses.

But so far, nothing had come close to last year's sale-record $1.6 million Wild Rush colt, which Sheikh Mohammed al Maktoum's agent, John Ferguson, bought from W.D. North, agent.

The 2005 auction was still under way at 6 p.m. Eastern, with a $550,000 Phone Trick colt the session's most expensive lot at the time. Trainer Steve Klesaris signed the ticket on behalf of Wall Street trader Jeff Puglisi's Puglisi Stables.

The Phone Trick colt is out of the stakes-placed Meadowlake mare Lark Creek. He is a half-brother to the winner Swingsville. Ricky Leppala, agent, sold the chestnut colt.

Puglisi Stables also bought one of two juveniles that brought the second-highest price of $300,000, an Artax colt out of the Dayjur mare Bonnie Byerly. Bonnie Byerly is out of Grade 1 winner Plenty of Grace. Her chestnut colt sold through the W.D. North agency.

John Oxley, whose highly selective buying program has focused tightly on potential classic prospects, picked up the other $300,000 lot, Hip No. 21, a colt by second-crop sire Old Trieste. Consigned by Ocala Stud Farms, the bay colt is out of Astoria Stakes runner-up Rose Bay, a daughter of the popular stallion Montbrook. Montbrook stands at Ocala Stud. Rose Bay is a full sister to stakes winner Sweet Sixteen and a half-sister to Grade 3-placed stakes winner Watchfull and to Grade 2-placed winner Hermione's Magic.

Oxley also bought a $220,000 Freud-Saralil filly moments later from Frances Weiner's Wingate Sales agency.

Others purchasing horses for $200,000 or more early in the auction included West Point Thoroughbreds, represented by Buzz Chace; the Siegel family's Jay Em Ess Stable; Edward C. Sexton; Klaravich Stable; Frank Fletcher Racing; Evelyn Pollard; and Todd Pletcher, as agent.

Player, a longtime racing fan and occasional auction participant, wasn't on that six-figure list as the auction passed its midpoint, but he did buy a $75,000 Tiger Ridge colt out of Din's Darling from Terry Oliver, agent. Dan Hurtak, agent, signed the ticket on Player's behalf. The colt is a half-brother to stakes-placed David's Ghost and three other winners.

The OBS Calder sale is the traditional starting point for the spring season's major select juvenile sales, which continues with Fasig-Tipton's Calder sale on March 1, Barretts Equine Limited's March 15 auction in California, Keeneland's April 2-year-old sale on April 19 in Kentucky, and OBS's March select auction in Ocala on March 22-23.

Hobeau Farm sold

Two of Florida's most famous properties, Hobeau Farm and part of the former Hooper Farm, have been sold, the Ocala Star-Banner reported.

Hobeau, operated by Jack Dreyfus, sold to Lambholm South owner Roy Lerman for $12.75 million and will remain a Thoroughbred facility. The farm covers 1,830 acres. Founded by Dreyfus and developed under the management of the late Elmer Heubeck in the 1960's, Hobeau was famous for its distinctive blue fences and its connection to such Dreyfus runners as Onion, Prove Out, and Beau Purple.

Lerman called Hobeau one of "the best equine properties in the county and in the country as well," and told the Star-Banner that his Lambholm program would board horses for Dreyfus, who is 91 and has reduced his bloodstock holdings in recent years.

Amy Tarrant, who has raced and bred horses from her What-A-View Farm in Marion County since 2001, purchased approximately 158 acres of the former Hooper Farm land owned by the late breeder and owner Fred Hooper. The price was $3.4 million. Most recently, the parcel was part of Nelson Jones Farms and Training Center.

Tarrant told the Star-Banner that she wants to combine the racing and breeding aspects of her Thoroughbred program in one facility. The parcel she has purchased includes the former Hooper residence and stallion barn.