Back to the future with Astrology filly
$300,000 top lot returns to last summer's vendor
At the Ocala yearling sale last August, Mandy Pope's Whisper Hill Farm sold an Astrology filly for $50,000 to Tom McCrocklin, who was acting on behalf of a partnership group.
Pope decided she wanted her back, and during Wednesday's final session of the Ocala Breeders' Sales Two-Year-Olds and Horses-in-Training sale, the Florida horsewoman went to $300,000 to regain a filly who had meanwhile matured into a striking individual - and had also displayed her racing potential with a speedy pre-sale workout.
The purchase highlighted a strong second session that helped fuel across-the-board increases in average and median prices for a sale significantly trimmed in size this year.
From 755 catalogued in the juvenile portion of the two-day sale, OBS reported 424 horses sold for $15,216,900. Last year's four-day sale resulted in 619 head changing hands for total receipts of $17,930,900.
This year's cumulative average of $35,889 represented a 23.9 per cent gain over the $28,968 figure a year ago, while the median of $19,000 was up 46.1 per cent from $13,000. This year's RNA rate was 18.8 per cent, down from 24.3 per cent.
"It was a good sale overall," said OBS sales director Tod Wojciechowski. "A lot of horses found new homes."
With the June sale following a strong OBS April auction, Wojciechowski said the numbers bode well for the upcoming yearling sales, including OBS October.
"Hopefully the 2-year-old sellers will have money to spend at yearling sales," the OBS executive said.
The session-topping Astrology filly was bought by McCrocklin from the Summerfield consignment at last year's yearling sale. During the final under-tack show workouts, she breezed a quarter-mile in the session's best time of :20 4/5.
Produced from the winning Giant's Causeway mare Dreamingly, the filly is from the female family of Grade 1 winners Raven's Song, No Matter What, and Rainbow View, as well as Grade 2 winner and sire E Dubai.
Unlike many other lots at the sale, this filly was not entered in any other breeze-up sale because she needed time. "She was a big filly who was growing, and we didn't want to force-feed her but wanted to let her grow into herself," McCrocklin said. "She is just a big, racey, and scopey filly. She is a beautiful horse."
The strength of the sale was welcome news to consignors who endured last year's weak four-day session.
"It was a very difficult sale last year, but this year's catalogue was reduced to about half of what it was and I think the laws of supply and demand have evened out," said David O'Farrell, whose family's Ocala Stud only sells at OBS. "I think you would find a few buyers who wish they could have bought for a few dollars less, and sellers who wished they could have sold horses for a few dollars more - but at the end of the day it's been very fair trade and a very good market."
O'Farrell said it was particularly inspiring to see competitive bidding at all price levels, not just the very top and bottom.
"Last year we only had one horse sell for between $30,000-$100,000. Everything else was below $30,000 or above $100,000," he said. "This year we have been selling horses for $40,000, $50,000, and $60,000 all day long. There has been a lot of activity on those horses and it's good to see."
McCrocklin said there was a sense of urgency on the part of both sellers and buyers, prompted by the realisation the June sale is the last juvenile venue of the year.
"It is the sale of last resort," McCrocklin said. "For sellers, you either sell your horse or go to the racetrack. It really starts to sink in. I could sense a little bit of urgency on the part of agents."
Wednesday's second-highest price of $220,000 was paid by trainer Linda Rice for a Flat Out colt consigned by Bobby Dodd, agent. Produced from the winning Victory Gallop mare Dress Parade, the colt was bred in Kentucky by Richard Snyder and Connie Snyder and was bought for $110,000 from the Allied Bloodstock consignment to last year's Fasig-Tipton October yearling sale.
Rice ended the sale as leading buyer with seven purchases for $1,190,000 while Eddie Woods sold 18 head for $1,599,500, making him top consignor.
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