08/07/2008 11:00PM

Showcase for state’s young stallions


The results of the recent yearling sales hosted by Fasig-Tipton, one conducted in mid-July in Lexington, Ky., and the other a two-day boutique auction Monday and Tuesday at Saratoga, confirms that there is still ample money in the market for eye-catching yearlings sporting upscale pedigrees. What has not been tested so far in ’08 is the middle market for yearlings. The first of these middle markets is coming on line in eight days.

The Ocala Breeders’ Sales Company will host its annual auction of yearlings beginning on Monday, Aug. 18 with its selected session. The open sessions, three in all, begin on Aug. 19. The four-day auction is one day shorter than in previous years, as there are 166 fewer yearlings cataloged than last year. The selected session has 230 cataloged, 18 fewer than in ’07. All four sessions have a 10:30 a.m. starting time

Tom Ventura, general manager of the OBS and its sales director, offers his view: “Ocala is a proving ground for young stallions, and the OBS acts as its showcase. There are 24 first-crop stallions in the selected session, including five who stand in Florida. Two years ago, OBS sold yearlings from six first-crop stallions, and each has sired a graded stakes winner.”

There are 162 Florida-breds cataloged to sell in the opening session of the OBS sale. The Florida first-crop stallion with the biggest representation in this selected group is Journeyman Stud’s Wildcat Heir. There are 44 yearlings from this graded stakes winner’s first crop in this sale – 16 of them in the selected session.

Wildcat Heir is an 8-year-old son of Forest Wildcat out of Penniless Heiress. The bay stallion, second in the Grade 2 Sanford at 2, won the Grade 1 De Francis Memorial Dash at 3 and the Teddy Drone as a 4-year-old. Speed was his forte, and his family is loaded with black-type sprinters.

Bwana Charlie, by Indian Charlie, also stands at Journeyman Stud. An upper-class sprinter in his career, having won the Grade 2 Amsterdam Stakes, he is the sire of 11 yearlings in this sale, one selling in the selected session.

As with so many stallions of late who subsequently relocated to Kentucky, Closing Argument, a first-crop stallion by Successful Appeal out of the mare Mrs. Greeley, by Mr. Greeley, had a giant book of mares in his first season. The Jockey Club lists 158 mares covered who produced 99 foals, and of those 99 foals 13 are cataloged as selected yearlings. There are a dozen more of his get scattered through the three days of open sessions.

The first-crop stallion Pico Central has an unusual history. A son of Kentucky Derby winner Spend a Buck, he was Horse of the Year in his native Brazil. Imported to the U.S., Pico Central won three Grade 1 stakes: the Metropolitan Mile, the Vosburgh, and the Carter. He also placed in graded races and earned accolades as one of the better sprinter-milers of his year. But, as so often happens in such cases, the ex-Padua Stables resident stallion was perceived to have a commercially suspect pedigree, and after an inaugural season wherein he covered 75 mares, Pico Central was sold to Korea. There are four get of Pico Central in the selected session and seven additional yearlings in the open sessions

Indian Ocean stands at Bridlewood Farm. The 6-year-old stallion is by the former Bridlewood resident sire Stormy Atlantic – still another sire who relocated to Kentucky. Indian Ocean has an unusual pedigree in that he traces on both sides of his pedigree to the producer South Ocean, the dam of the Irish champion 2-year-old Storm Bird, who is the sire of Storm Cat, grandsire of Indian Ocean. Indian Ocean had an abbreviated racing career. He started five times at 3, winning three races and placing twice. His best effort was a victory in the Grade 3 Affirmed at Hollywood. In this 1 1/16-mile race, he defeated the millionaire Buzzards Bay. There are five get of Indian Ocean cataloged in the opening session and 27 more in the opens sessions

Bridlewood Farm is also the home of Proud Accolade, who is a son of Yes It’s True. Proud Accolade was quick off the mark as a 2-year-old in 2004 and culminated his 2-year-old campaign by winning the Grade 1 Champagne Stakes. He won the Grade 2 Hutcheson as a 3-year-old and retired with earnings of $476,630. There are 17 yearlings by this stallion in the OBS sale. Five of them are cataloged for the selected session and 12 more for the open sessions. Active Duty is another freshman stallion standing at Bridlewood. The Mr. Prospector stallion made only three starts. He earns his opportunity in the stud by virtue of conformation and pedigree. There are three of his get in the opening session.