04/24/2008 11:00PM

Slow start fails to sink results at Ocala sale

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There were concerns among many of the consignors to the Ocala Breeders' Sales Co.'s spring sale of 2-year-olds in training, held Monday-Thursday. There were concerns over the general economy and the purse contract dispute between the Florida horsemen and Calder Race Course. The sale got off to a slow start when five of the first six horses through the ring were led away unsold. But, it did not take long for the bulls to run, and run they did.

The number sold, 772, was only 14 fewer than last year. The percentage not sold was almost dead even with last year - about 28 percent. The gross was off a fraction at $22.5 million. The average got a small bump to $29,275 while the median rose from $17,000 to $18,000, an increase of nearly 6 percent.

This was the third sale of the year for 2-year-olds in training hosted by OBS. The first two, February and March, were selected sales - that is, 2 year-olds in these sales had to pass certain criteria of pedigree and conformation. The April sale does not have such criteria. All 2-year-old sales, however, have limited warranties as to soundness of wind and limb. It is noteworthy that all three 2008 OBS sales met or bettered last year's business marks.

Thomas Clark Bloodstock Ltd., agent, was the busiest entity at the sales. Representing horsemen of Korea, Clark Bloodstock bought 52 horses for a gross of $740,000 and an average of $14,230. Camarero Racing Corp. bought 30 2-year-olds for an average of $7,315. These horses will do their racing in Puerto Rico. M&H Bloodstock was the sale's leading consignor in terms of numbers, with 63 sold for a total of $1.3 million. Eisaman Bloodstock Services was the leading consignor in receipts, with 32 selling for $1.5 million.

'If you like him, buy him'

Terri Pompay has had a trainer's license for better than a decade. Her circuit is New Jersey in the spring, summer, and fall, and south Florida in winter. Around show and saddle horses in her early years, she came on the racetrack as an exercise girl and from there went up the backstretch hierarchy to trainer. While she has her share of full-time clients, Pompay is often a second-string New Jersey trainer for Big Apple stables. In the past, she trained a division for the late John Franks. Nowadays, she trains for My Purple Haze Stable and a division of Klaravich Stables. It was for Seth Klarman and his Klaravich Stables that Pompay went to the OBS April sale with some trepidation.

"Mr. Klarman give me simple instructions," Pompay said, "and they were: If I like a horse, buy the horse."

Pompay liked Hip No. 273, but so did quite a few others. He is a gray or roan colt consigned by Woodside Ranch, agent. By Macho Uno out of a Storm Cat mare, he zipped a furlong in 10.20 seconds and did so impressively.

"I called Mr. Klarman and told him what I liked, and I told him that he was going to be expensive," Pompay said. "I had trained a few horses for Klaravich - horses that came to me with some troubles. Mr. Klarman was pleased with the result and told me that he would like me to train a good horse for him and go shopping for one in Ocala and buy one. The details were up to me."

When the bidding for the Macho Uno colt approached $200,000, Pompay phoned her client and told him that it was going to take more money than she anticipated and asked him what to do. Klarman repeated his instructions: "If you like him, buy him."

Pompay did just that for $250,000, and she bought another for Klaravich.

"This guy is going to need some time to mature, and I told Mr. Klarman that he'd need time, and he told me that's just fine with him," Pompay said.