01/20/2006 1:00AM

Tiger Ridge, Wildcat Heir prove popular at charity auction


There was much on the plate for Florida breeders and owners this past week. A number of farms conducted stallion shows from Jan. 14-18. The annual Florida Thoroughbred Owners' and Breeders' Association awards banquet was held on Monday evening, Jan. 16. Tuesday, the Ocala Breeders' Sales mixed sales began, and on Tuesday evening Florida Thoroughbred Charities Inc. held its annual auction of no-guarantee seasons.

There were 128 seasons offered at the auction Tuesday, and they grossed $258,000. A no-guarantee season usually is pegged at 60 percent of the advertised guaranteed fee. Those stallion seasons that met that criteria and more were Exchange Rate (Padua Stables), Montbrook (Ocala Stud), Tiger Ridge (Hartley/DeRenzo-Walmac South) and Wildcat Heir (Cloverleaf II). The latter two had bids that exceeded their respective guaranteed prices. Tiger Ridge, who stands for $7,500 live foal, brought a bid of $9,000, while Wildcat Heir, who is advertised at $8,000 live foal, brought a bid of $8,200.

Afleet Alex is state's horse of the year

The Florida breeders association uses a point system to determine its divisional championships. Since the cumulative point totals are published weekly, there were no surprises at the annual awards banquet. There was some speculation as to whether horse of the year would go to Afleet Alex, with his dual classic victories, or the brilliant sprinter Lost in the Fog. Afleet Alex, however, had more than enough staying power to win the title.

The Florida breeders split the leading sire award by giving one award to Ocala Stud's Notebook for being the leading deceased sire of 2005 and Get Away Farm's Double Honor for being the leading living sire of 2005. The two stallions were quite close statistically, with Notebook winning the photo.

It's an easy game

Sam Dedovic proudly tells you that he is or was a "kid from Brooklyn."

"Before I moved here in 1994, Aqueduct and Belmont were my playgrounds," he said.

Dedovic, now fortyish, is a hard-scrabble sort of a guy who began the Ocala chapter of his life working in an Ocala pizza shop - Little Italy - for his cousin. Six years later he opened his own pizza restaurant, calling it Sammy's.

Sammy's is a popular oasis for horsemen, and one of Dedovic's regular customers is Jim Cavanaugh, who, with brother George, has been in the horse business for decades.

"I kept hearing about all this money being made in the horse game," said Dedovic, "so I asked Jim about getting me involved. I wanted to make some easy money."

Dedovic got his wish in November. Cavanaugh put together a syndicate of five to pinhook a broodmare. The business plan was simple: Buy at Keeneland in November, sell at OBS two months later. The group, on the advice of Richard Kent from Kaizen Sales, bid $30,000 at Keeneland for the 3-year-old broodmare Megaphone in foal to Buddha. Megaphone was promptly entered in the OBS January mixed sale with Kaizen Sales as the consignor.

As the partnership sat side by side in the OBS sales auditorium, Megaphone, Hip No. 56, took her place in the ring. The bidding began moderately and then picked up steam. Soon the $30,000 original purchase price was passed. Then the bidding passed the $50,000 mark, the $60,000 mark, and finally settled at $70,000.

Dedovic was ebullient.

"What a game, what a game!" he repeatedly said.

When asked if this was the beginning of an ongoing business for him, Dedovic without hesitancy said: "I think what I am going to do is speculate in broodmares and invest in yearlings. You know, I really consider myself to be a lucky guy!"

When further asked if the purchase of yearlings was for pinhooking or racing purposes, Dedovic's reply was that there are lots of ways to play this game and he and his partners will work it out.