03/19/2004 1:00AM

Pinhookers made out well at OBS sale


The Ocala Breeders' Sales March sale of 2-year-olds in training last Tuesday and Wednesday was the third and final selected sale of the 2004 Florida 2-year-old sales season, and, like its predecessors at Calder Race Course last month, it was a record-smashing auction.

The 2003 March OBS sale had 411 go through the ring, with two out of three selling, for an average of $66,654 and a median price of $50,000. This year's auction sent 368 through the ring with the same two out of three selling, but the average jumped to $92,094, an increase of 38 percent. The median rose 20 percent to $60,000.

This is a pinhooker sale. This year 319 of the 483 cataloged were pin-hooks, including nine of the top 10. Only one 2-year-old among the top 10, Hip No. 76 was sold by her breeder, and the Greenwood Lake filly's sales price of $300,000 placed her in 10th place.

John Ferguson of Ferguson Bloodstock was at the sales early on, but then left and had Jimmy Bell act as his bidding surrogate. Ferguson Bloodstock was the sale's leading buyer, with four purchases totaling $1,650,000, all for the account of Sheikh Mohammed al Maktoum of Dubai. Among the four was Hip No. 317, the sale topper at $650,000, a colt from the first crop of Tiger Ridge, a Storm Cat half-brother to A.P. Indy and Summer Squall. The colt, bought for $21,000 out of the August 2003 OBS yearling sale, had breezed a furlong in 10.40 seconds and a quarter in 21 in preps for the sale. He was consigned by Hartley/DeRenzo Thoroughbreds.

Athleticism and speed were the principal criteria buyers looked for at this sale. If a 2-year-old had both, that horse was in demand. Among the top 10 sold, four had either set or equaled the fastest times under tack for a furlong or a quarter-mile. The other six were within a tick or two of those fastest times.

Bold Ruler line flexes muscle

The Bold Ruler stallion line has not been as fashionable as the Mr. Prospector or Northern Dancer lines at the sales - not for the past 20 years or so. Seattle Slew has been Bold Ruler's main line of descent. Chief Seattle, a first-crop stallion, was second in the 1999 Breeders' Cup Juvenile and is a son of Seattle Slew. Chief Seattle was the leading sire by average at this sale with five selling for an average of $270,000. The third- and fourth-leading stallions by average are also first-crop stallions. They are Stephen Got Even, a son of Seattle Slew, who had seven sell for an average of $167,857, and is Yes It's True, with six selling for an average of $138,333. Yes It's True traces to Bold Ruler through Raja Baba.

Yankee Victor filly No. 2

Yankee Victor, a first-crop sire from the Halo line, was the second-leading sire by average, with five selling for an average of $240,000.

Narvick International bought the second-highest-priced 2-year-old, Hip No. 54, for $575,000. She is a filly by Yankee Victor out of the Grade 3-placed producer Betamillion Bock, by Bet Twice. She zipped a furlong in 10.60 and came back to breeze a quarter in 21.40. Niall Brennan was the consignor of the filly, a $32,000 Kentucky pinhook.

James McIngvale bought the Chief Seattle colt, Hip No. 191, who is out of Helen's Pick, by Ruthie's Native. J.B. McKathan, who often acts as agent for Bob Baffert, bought the colt off a quarter in 21.80. Said McKathan, "He worked into a stiff headwind, and you had to like the way he moved on the track." The colt was a $32,000 Maryland yearling pinhook.

Silver Charm filly tops Adena sale

Frank Stronach's Adena Springs Farm South piggy-backs on to the OBS March sale of 2-year-olds with its own sale of 2-year-olds in training. This year's auction cataloged 76 to sell at the farm on Thursday and drew an estimated 400 potential buyers. A total of 57 horses went through the ring for an average of $39,088, up 14 percent from last year.

The sale topper was Hip No. 15, a daughter of Silver Charm out of the Grade 2 stakes winner Classy Cara, by General Meeting. She sold for $310,000 to George Bolton.