02/14/2007 12:00AM

Smoke Glacken colt tops OBS juvenile sale

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The 2-year-old sale season kicked off Tuesday in Ocala, Fla., at the Ocala Breeders' Sales Company's select juvenile sale, which ended with slight declines in gross and average from last year.

The top price at Tuesday's one-day auction was $550,000, down from last year's $650,000 for a Forest Camp-Holy Love colt now named Media City, but the buyer was the same. Sheikh Mohammed al-Maktoum's powerful Darley Stable, which has become a major player at the select juvenile auctions in recent years, was the purchaser. This year's sale-topper was a Smoke Glacken colt out of the stakes-placed Green Dancer mare Cherokyfrolicflash. Becky Boyd's Peacock Ridge agency sold the colt, currently named Smoke'n Coal.

The single session sold 96 horses for total receipts of $12,831,000, down slightly from last year's gross of $12,967,000 for 93 horses. Average slipped 4 percent from last season's $139,430 to $133,656. Median price fell from $110,000 to $100,000 this year. The buyback rate was 30 percent, as compared to 33 percent in 2006.

The auction was moved this year from Calder Race Course in order to avoid a conflict with the National Football League's Super Bowl, which took place near Calder in Miami on Feb. 4. That was the same day as the auction's first under-tack preview.

The sale-topper was not a surprise. Darley's $550,000 purchase looked like a great prospect on the catalog page - a full brother to the Grade 2-winning, Grade 1-placed millionaire Smok'n Frolic and a half-brother to stakes winner Cherokee Chase.

The gray or roan colt made himself all the more appealing at the auction's firsts under-tack show on Feb.o4, when he turned in a quarter-mile breeze in 22.20 seconds, not much off the day's fastest time of 21 seconds.

The list of buyers suggested that serious racehorse buyers have decided that the select juvenile sales are no longer optional. Among the big spenders at OBS this year were Roy and Gretchen Jackson's Lael Stables, which bought a $500,000 Stormy Atlantic-Elise colt from Nick De Meric, agent, and a $350,000 Siphon-Daggett colt from W.D. North Thoroughbreds, agent; Coolmore's agent Demi O'Byrne, who took home a $300,000 Johannesburg-Star de Mint colt from True South, agent; the Siegel family's Jay Em Ess Stable, which purchased a $100,000 Horse Chestnut-Dootsie colt from Paul Sharp, agent; and Dennis Narlinger's JMJ Racing Stable, which paid $100,000 for Excel Bloodstock's son of Onesta by Sunday Break, in whom Narlinger holds a substantial interest.

Also active were auction mainstay Dogwood Stable and Ahmed Zayat, who has splashed out for high-priced yearlings and juveniles in the last few years. Dogwood - the public syndicate which owns the 2007 sale-topper's flashy full sister, Smok'n Frolic - bought seven 2-year-olds for a combined $960,000. Zayat bought five for $735,000, including a $270,000 Wiseman's Ferry-Allocation colt out of the True South agency's consignment.

There were numerous six-figure prices, but withdrawals from the sale were also high. The 192-horse catalog was winnowed down to 137 after scratches.