08/27/2009 11:00PM

Yearling prices down sharply at OBS

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LEXINGTON, Ky. - The Ocala Breeders' Sales Company's August yearling auction continued Wednesday after two days of dramatic declines at its select and first open session.

Wednesday's session leader at 3:50 p.m. was a $45,000 Stormy Atlantic-La Defense colt that Francis and Barbara Vanlangendonck's Summerfield agency sold. The buyer was listed as MC Bros. The colt is a half-brother to 2006 stakes winner Quelle Surprise.

The OBS August yearling sale opened Monday with a single select session that produced a sale-topping $275,000 Medaglia d'Oro filly. The Summerfield agency sold the bay daughter of Lolabell to Live Oak Plantation. Lolabell is a stakes-winning Phone Trick mare and the dam of three winners to date from four starters.

Monday's select session sold 113 yearlings for $3,708,500, down 34 percent from last year's select session, which sold the same number of yearlings as in 2009. The $32,819 average price was also down 34 percent, and the median fell 38 percent to $25,000.

The three open sessions began Tuesday with similar drops. Gross for 193 yearlings fell 34 percent to $1,465,800, as compared with $2,217,500 for 198 horses at last year's equivalent session. Average declined 32 percent, from $11,199 to $7,595, and median slid 27 percent, falling from $5,500 to $4,000.

A Wildcat Heir filly consigned by the Woodside Ranch agency brought Wednesday's only six-figure price when she brought a $100,000 final bid from Repole Stable. The chestnut filly is out of the winner Afleet Closer. The Afleet mare already has produced three stakes performers. They are dual Grade 1-placed Driven by Success, by Precise End and stakes winner Diablo's Closer and stakes-placed Fleeting Diablo, both by Diablo.

The auction takes place in a season when sellers have come to expect significant downturns, especially for non-select bloodstock, during a general recession and a softer Thoroughbred market overall.

Steep declines at Doncaster

Overseas in England, Doncaster Bloodstock Sales also saw losses at its two-day St. Leger yearling auction.

The auction sold 369 yearlings (versus 401 in 2008) for about $15,567,390. That gross was down 29 percent. The average price was about $42,188, and the median was approximately $32,400; those figures also were down from last year, by 23 percent each.

Coolmore owner John Magnier's son Michael Vincent Magnier signed for the sale-topping Dansili colt. The price was about $324,000. The bay is out of listed stakes winner Cayman Sunset. A Night Shift mare, Cayman Sunset is an English champion who also was graded-placed twice in the United States.

Among the bidders on the sale-topping colt was Angus Gold, representing Sheikh Hamdan al-Maktoum's Shadwell Estate Co. Shadwell, an active bidder this summer at yearling sales in the U.S., did not leave Doncaster empty-handed. Maktoum picked up a dozen yearlings, including a pair of fairly high-priced horses on Tuesday: an Oasis Dream-Bright Moll filly from Goldford Stud for about $145,800 and a Cadeaux Genereux-Bona Dea colt from Croom House Stud for about $129,600.

Doncaster Bloodstock's general manager, Henry Beeby, acknowledged the downturns, saying, "It seems nothing is immune from the current financial climate, and we have taken a hit over the last two days in terms of statistics."

Beeby said he was pleased that 79 percent of the horses in the sale sold.

"That reflects a pragmatic approach by our vendors and the hard work of the DBS auctioneers.

"It is simply a harsh fact that people do not currently have as much money to spend on racehorses, and there was a strong element of selectivity in the trade. Whether that trend will be replicated throughout the autumn remains to be seen, but last year's sale, which seemed slightly disappointing at the time, looked pretty respectable at the end of the season and that may be the case again this year."

* Grade 2 winner Teuflesberg has been relocated from Hurricane Hall Stud in Kentucky to Journeyman Stud in Florida, where he will stand in 2010. Teuflesberg stood two seasons at Hurricane Hall, which closed earlier this summer. A 5-year-old Johannesburg-St. Michele horse, Teuflesberg won the 2007 Woody Stephens Stakes and two other stakes races. He stood for $5,000 in 2009; his 2010 fee will be announced later, Journeyman said in a release.