05/02/2002 11:00PM

Stall problem solved, Ontario's juvenile sale returns

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Ontario's only 2-year-old sale is back by popular demand, and that's not surprising: The Canadian Thoroughbred Horse Society's auction has had an increase in average price for three consecutive years.

This year's sale, which has a catalog of 87 horses, will be held on May 16, several weeks earlier than in recent years.

The fate of the sale was in doubt last fall when an overhaul of the Ontario sales program by Woodbine Entertainment ruled out the use of portable stalls for the sales horses.

The CTHS had been using the makeshift stalls because the sales barns are needed to house racehorses during the Woodbine racing season.

Instead, the 2-year-olds will be stabled in the receiving barn on the racetrack side of the Woodbine property.

"There's definitely a place for [the 2-year-old sale]," said Richard Hogan, who had only three horses in last year's sale but has 13 cataloged this year.

"It's not only an outlet for people to sell their horses, but it's for a buyer who didn't get a yearling in the fall and wants a horse in the spring."

Hogan, who purchased seven horses at last week's April juvenile sale in Ocala, Fla., is optimistic about his group of young horses, which includes a colt from the first crop of Elusive Quality, who set a world record for a mile on turf. The colt, a $17,000 yearling purchase, is out of the stakes-winning mare Citi Sounds.

Hogan said admits that he is concerned about the trend in the juvenile market that favors horses with flashy pedigrees and fast workouts.

"It's cake or nothing," said Hogan. "You can get lots [of money] for the good 2-year-olds and nothing for the rest. If your horse doesn't work fast, the buyers don't come back to the barn."

Most of the horses in Hogan's consignment, which also includes offspring of Friendly Lover, Numerous, and Louis Quatorze, have been training in Florida.

There are 64 stallions represented in the catalog, including first-year sires Dance Brightly, Wild Rush, and Kiridashi.

The gallop show for the sale horses will be on the Woodbine main track on May 15 at 11:30 a.m., with breakfast offered for horsemen beginning at 8:30 a.m.

A pre-sale barbecue will begin at 3 p.m. on sale day.

John the Magician dead

Breeders' Stakes winner John the Magician, whose first crop of foals will race this year, died on April 18 at Peaceful Valley Stable in Didsbury, Alberta, from a perforated ulcer.

The 8-year-old stallion, who was one of the best 3-year-old colts in Canada in 1997, raced for Syd Cooper's R.M.C. Stable and earned $368,157 from five wins in 13 starts.

A son of Bold Ruckus, John the Magician began his stud career in Ontario at Huntington Stud Farm before he was moved to Peaceful Valley and leased by Jack and Linda Johnson.

"He was an absolutely beautiful horse," said Linda Johnston. "It was an honor to stand him."

Johnston said the stallion has 20 to 25 foals on the ground this year and was booked to 50 mares.

Peaceful Valley, which is located 45 minutes north of Calgary, also stands the Grade 2 winner Silver of Silver.