Updated on 09/16/2011 8:02AM

Sale begins slowly, buts ends well


When the final numbers were tallied, the Ocala Breeders' Sales selected sale of 2-year-olds in training, held in Ocala Tuesday and Wednesday, was among the most successful in its history. The only decrease from last year came in gross, which was down 3 percent, from $15,166,000 last year to $14,722,000. Last year, 216 horses sold; this year 200. Average price rose 5 percent, to a sale record $73,610. Buybacks were virtually the same as last year, at 38 percent.

There was some apprehension early in the sale, as the prospective buyers seemed to be sitting on their hands. Five of the first 10 were led out of the ring unsold.

Said Tommy McCrocklin, who acts as both a consignor and an agent: "Too many horses working too fast. Used to be a buyer would come here, check out the top 10 workouts and go about trying to buy one. Now so many go down in 10 and change it makes the speed freaks rethink the process."

Hartley/De Renzo Thoroughbreds had sold the sales topper for the past two years and this year was no different. Eugene Melnyk bid $400,000 for Hip No. 276, a colt by Phone Trick-Chattahoochee, by Mount Hagen. On March 11, during the preview under-tack show, the bay colt sprinted a furlong in 10.10 seconds.

Todd Pletcher will train the colt for Melnyk, who recently purchased Harry T. Mangurian Jr.'s Mockingbird Farm and renamed it Winding Oaks Farm.

The second highest priced 2-year-old to sell went through the ring in the first session. Arthur Appleton's Bridlewood Farm consigned Hip No. 84, a dark bay colt by Halo's Image-Pleasant Dixie, by Dixieland Band. He went a furlong in 10.20 at the under-tack show. Californian Michael Machowsky, agent, signed the tab.

Carl Bowling made it known that Hip No. 288, consigned by his Straightaway Farm, would sell for a bid of more than $200,000. Anything under $200,000 and the chestnut colt by Carson City-Creeksider, by Topsider, would go back home with him. Bowling had done something similar two years ago with another son of Carson City, the brilliant sprinter City Zip, who failed to make Bowling's reserve.

The colt had worked an eighth in the preview in 10.20 seconds and came back six days later and went in 10.10. The colt sold for $280,000 to Rocket Racing Operation.

Adena Springs sale

On Thursday, Frank Stronach's Adena Springs South also had a 2-year-olds in training sale. Conducted by OBS, the sale reminded old-timers of the first Ocala sales back in the '60s when a tent was set up, along with food and entertainment.

On Thursday, 70 homebreds were cataloged, 68 were at the sale, and 58 of those had published reserves. The sales horses did not breeze prior to selling, rather they trotted or cantered through the stretch on the Adena Springs training track.

Forty of the horses sold for a gross of $945,500 and an average of $23,638.