02/26/2016 4:02PM

Taking a look at the juvenile auction calendar


After a year in which all four of the major North American auction houses saw significant upheaval in their 2-year-old calendars, the 2016 juvenile season looks to establish solid footing to build on several record-setting performances.

The Fasig-Tipton Florida selected 2-year-olds in training sale kicks off the proceedings on March 2, marking the boutique sale’s first time as the season’s leadoff event since 2011.

Much of the continent’s commerce in the 2-year-old arena will take place during the three auctions hosted by the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Co., which has seen its share in the market by entries and returns grow significantly over the past decade.

Record returns have become the norm for the central Florida auction house, even after removing itself from the select market in 2015. Whether the OBS March, April, and June 2-year-olds in training sales continue that pace will go a long way in determining the overall trend of the marketplace.

One of the most intriguing trends to watch as the season progresses will be the continued growth of the open sale market, which saw record-priced offerings and all-time-high returns at several stops on the second half of the schedule.

With buyers showing a willingness to dig deeper for better offerings at the open sales, and sellers showing patience to find the right spot for the horse regardless of its select status, late-season auctions that were typically perceived to be of lower-quality stock could find themselves becoming more urgent destinations for key players.

Here is a look at North America’s major 2-year-olds in training sales of 2016, in chronological order, following the Fasig-Tipton Florida sale.

OBS March 2-year-olds in training sale
March 15-16, Ocala, Fla.
Sessions begin at 11 a.m. Eastern
2015 topper: $1.4 million colt by Bernardini—Misty Hour, by Miswaki, sold to Live Oak Plantation

After removing the “select” modifier from its name in 2015, this sale produced record receipts of $55,432,000 from 325 horses sold. This year’s catalog is near identical in size, up from 610 to 613, and will be the first test of the 2-year-old market with a larger sample size after the boutique Fasig-Tipton Florida sale.
While a larger catalog produced greater total sales last year, moving away from a select format did affect the average and median, which both fell from record levels in 2014. The average finished at $158,513, down 24 percent, while the median decreased 31 percent to $100,000.
First-crop stallions represented in this year’s sale include established commercial entities such as Bodemeister, The Factor, and Union Rags, but the catalog also features juveniles by Florida stallions Biondetti and Overdriven, as well as New York resident Mission Impazible.
The presale under-tack show will be conducted on the Ocala Training Center’s all-weather Safetrack surface March 9-11, beginning each day at 8 a.m. Eastern.

Barretts March selected 2-year-olds in training sale
March 30, Del Mar, Calif.
2015 topper: $400,000 colt by Twirling Candy—Dama, by Storm Cat, sold to Conquest Stables

California’s boutique juvenile auction moves back from its former position as the 2-year-old calendar’s leadoff sale. This will be its first renewal be held at Del Mar after the auction company moved its base from Fairplex Park in the middle of the 2015 season.
The final sale at Barretts’s former Pomona, Calif., location saw significant declines, with 45 horses changing hands for $6,148,000, down 42 percent. The average dipped 23 percent to $136,622, while the median fell 11 percent to $100,000.
The under-tack show will take place at Del Mar on March 28.

OBS spring 2-year-olds in training sale
April 19-22, Ocala, Fla.
2015 topper: $1.9 million filly by Tapit—Silver Wolf, by Silver Deputy, sold to Solis/Litt

The most populous of the North American 2-year-old sales comes off a renewal that sold the most-expensive offering in OBS history, who also was North America’s highest-priced juvenile of 2015. The auction also produced a record-setting average and record-tying median, each for the fourth straight year.
Seen as a market with a broad spectrum of horses for buyers at all levels, last year’s four-day sale moved 674 horses for $53,291,900, down 6 percent from the record figure of $56,965,000 established in 2014. The record average of $79,068 marked a 7 percent boost, while the median tied the all-time high of $45,000.
The under-tack show will be held April 11-16 with an 8 a.m. start time.

Equine Sales Co. 2-year-olds in training sale
May 10, Opelousas, La.
2015 topper: $65,000 colt by Gold Tribute—Estella Ella, by Lion Heart, named Cale’s Gold, sold to Jerome Namy

The third renewal of the Louisiana sale will be held later on the calendar than its first two editions to give it space from other auctions. The breeze show will be held May 8 at Evangeline Downs.
Graduates of the auction will be eligible for the following year’s Sale Stakes for 3-year-olds at Evangeline. The inaugural races, to be given an official name and conducted in May, feature divisions for males and females, each with a $75,000 purse.

Fasig-Tipton Midlantic 2-year-olds in training sale
May 23-24, Timonium, Md.
2015 topper: $1.25 million filly by Smart Strike—Crystal Current, by A.P. Indy, sold to Ben McElroy, agent

Another example of the growing profile of the juvenile calendar’s open portion, the post-Preakness Stakes sale featured the most-expensive horse ever sold at auction in the state of Maryland. This helped set or equal records for gross, average, and median.
Entries will breeze at the Maryland State Fairgrounds May 18-19.

Barretts May 2-year-olds in training sale
May 26, Del Mar, Calif.
2015 topper: $230,000 colt by J P’s Gusto—Iny Belle, by Lord Carson, named Chicken Hawk, sold to Dennis O’Neill

The auction company’s first event after moving its full-time operations to Del Mar was well received last year, posting across-the-board gains. The sale also continued to host a very small horses of racing age portion, taking advantage of the venue’s on-track location.
The training preview will take place May 25.

OBS June 2-year-olds and horses of racing age sale
June 14-17, Ocala, Fla.
2015 topper: $680,000 colt by Candy Ride—Spooky Minister, by Deputy Minister, sold to Charles Chu

The final stop on the major juvenile sale calendar has experienced a significant boost in reputation over its recent editions, punctuated by last year’s auction, which saw the record-high price set or tied four times over the four sessions. Those transactions helped drive record gross for a second straight year and set a record average.
The breeze show will be held June 5-10, beginning each day at 7:30 a.m.