08/31/2006 11:00PM

Record-setting OBS auction

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Records are made to be broken, goes the old saw. And there was no shortage of record-breaking statistics when the Ocala Breeders' Sales Company rang down the curtain on its annual sale of yearlings Aug. 21-25.

The OBS August selected sale of yearlings, conducted Aug. 21, set a sales record for gross of $10.4 million, and also records for average, $59,247, and median, $45,000. These numbers were generated by 176 lots, compared with 182 a year ago. The buy-back rate was a bit more than it was last year at 32.3 percent.

Looking at the overall numbers for the five days of sales, there were 1,391 yearlings through the ring and 995 of them sold, compared with 972 a year ago. The gross for the entire sale was $19,653,000 versus $17,783,000 in '05. The average price ($19,653) for all yearlings in the sale rose by 10.5 percent and the median went up 12.5 percent from last year.

The upper end of the market was particularly strong. There were 31 yearlings that sold for $100,000 or more, compared with 20 in '05.

Pinhookers opened wallets

Pinhookers led the buyers, but end-users, those who race what they buy, were also conspicuous in the bidding. Nick de Meric, the well-known pinhooker, led all buyers and bought 13 yearlings for $731,000. He was followed by Off The Hook LLC, another pinhooking enterprise, which also bought 13 yearlings and spent $593,500. TYP Stable, still another pinhooking outfit, bought three for $475,000.

The end-users included Ken McPeek, who bought two yearlings for $360,000. Included in the McPeek purchases was the sales-topper, Hip No. 220, a colt by Smart Strike-Cent Nouvelles, by Storm Bird. McPeek bought him from the Martin Stables South consignment. Greg Gilchrist, trainer of the '05 Eclipse champion sprinter Lost in the Fog, bought four yearlings, spending $325,000, and Kim Lloyd's Sea Gull Stable bought three for $320,000

The consignors who attracted the most bidding dollars were Francis and Barbara Vanlangendonck's Summerfield Sales. Summerfield Sales sold 120 yearlings for $3.3 million. Beth Bayer was runner-up in sales receipts with 116 selling for $2.3 million, and rounding out the consignors' list was newcomer Ed Martin's Martin Stables South, which sold 17 for $1 million.

Red Bullet tops by average

The top five Florida resident sires by average (minimum of three sold) were Adena Springs Farm South's Red Bullet, who had four sell for an average of $58,750. Bridlewood Farm's first-crop sire Lightnin N Thunder, a gray son of Storm Cat, had three average $55,667. The 2000 Eclipse champion juvenile male, Macho Uno, also at Adena Springs Farm South, had nine yearlings from his first crop average $50,888. Halo's Image, a Bridlewood Farm stallion, had 17 sell for an average of $36,888, and rounding out the top five was Ocala Stud's veteran Montbrook stallion, whose seven yearlings averaged $32,885.

Tom Ventura, the general manager and sales director for the OBS, had some thoughts he was willing to share.

"This sale again confirmed the ascendancy of the individual," he said. "When it comes to decision making, athleticism is what buyers are looking for. This is especially true for pinhookers, who know when the time comes to sell as 2-year-olds in training, their buyers usually start by looking more at the individual than they do at the catalog page."

* The University of Florida Institute of Food and Agriculture will conduct an animal maintenance course in conjunction with an agricultural trade show on Sept. 21, at the Southeast Livestock Pavilion in Ocala. The fee is $25 for reservations before Sept. 11 and $50 thereafter. Those wishing to attend should contact Marion County Extension Services at (352) 671-8400.