Updated on 09/15/2011 1:20PM

Sale season has finale at OBS

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The Ocala Breeders' Sales June sale of 2-year-olds in training, to be held June 19-20, lowers the curtain on the long Florida season of 2-year-old auctions. This is the first time in eight years that the OBS June sale will take two days on the calendar, as 467 are cataloged.

OBS will stage under-tack shows on Saturday, June 16, and Sunday, June 17, according to Tom Ventura, general manager and director of sales for OBS. "Starting time will be at 9 a.m. Buyers can look over the sales horses and review the videos of the under-tack shows on Monday. Sales time on Tuesday and Wednesday is set for 11 a.m."

Mike Sherman's Farnsworth Farms will bring the sale's biggest consignment, with 71 cataloged.

"A good number of these horses would have been cataloged in the April sale," said Sherman, "but the sales company had a stall problem. There were not enough stalls available. So we had to decide which ones would be better in April, and those who could use a little more time and sell in June. I had a very good sale in April, and I expect to have a good sale in June."

Two consignors conspicuous by their absence are Mark Casse, the agent for Harry T. Mangurian Jr.'s Mockingbird Farm, and those horses who sell under the banner of Nick and Jaqui de Meric.

"We've sold out," said Casse. "April was the end of the line; there are no more Mockingbird Farm homebreds to go to the sales."

Said Jaqui de Meric, "April is customarily the end for us. We'll be thinking about yearlings from here on in and begin that part of our business next month in Kentucky, we'll be back for the OBS August yearling sale and then to Keeneland in September. No doubt we'll be prospecting at other yearling sales as well."

When asked if she and her husband anticipate making any changes in the caliber of yearlings they intend to buy for themselves and their clients, de Meric commented: "We made adjustments last year. We bought fewer yearlings than we did in 1999 and we spent less money on the average for them. It worked out well for us. I think there is still plenty of money for 2-year-olds in training out there, but it is concentrated on the top end horse. The middle, $50,000 to $150,000, is not as strong as it was a few years back. So I think we'll be buying yearlings pretty much the same way did last year."

The de Merics are among the charter organizers of the National Association of Two Year-Old Consignors (NATC). Asked if the NATC had lived up to expectations, de Meric's answer was eager and optimistic:

"Oh, good heavens, yes. I think the NATC created a public awareness of the success of 2-year-olds in training. The NATC's stand on medications made an impact. I think there was only one problem that came up at a sale this year and that came when a 2-year-old tested positive for forbidden medications and this was for procaine/penicillin - hardly performance-enhancing drugs.

"What our industry needs is fresh buyers to support the middle range. As I said there seems to be no shortage of money at the upper end, it's the middle where there is a need for fresh faces and more activity."