Medaglia D'Oro colt tops solid final session of OBS March at $900,000
Declines in average and median in first two-year-olds in training sale of 2019
Bereft of a seven-figure horse like the two sold during Tuesday's opening session, the Ocala Breeders' Sales March Two-Year-Olds in Training Sale closed in Florida on Wednesday with solid trade.
From 577 lots catalogued, OBS reported 309 horses sold for $44,422,500, up five per cent on the 2018 gross of $42,275,000 for 257 horses sold.
The $143,762 average represented a decline of 12.6 per cent from the $164,494 figure a year ago. The median fell 23.8 per cent from $105,000 in 2018 to $80,000 this year.
The 93 horses that went unsold represented an RNA [reserve not attained] rate of 23.1 per cent, compared with 29.2 per cent in 2018.
As the first two-year-old sale of the year, the OBS auction serves as an important indicator of the current market. If this year's edition was any indication, all signals point toward a possible easing of the steep polarisation that has been seen in nearly all recent sales.
OBS sales director Tod Wojciechowski said this year's sale saw more horses change hands at both the bottom and top of the market, indicating broad-based buying.
Wojciechowski said there were 117 lots sold this year for $50,000 or less, compared with 87 in the same price range last year.
"We were happy to see that horses got moved on at all levels," Wojciechowski said. "On the other end, we had two horses that brought more than $800,000 [last year], and this year we had six.
"I think [the March sale] continues to gain momentum, and people understand there is something for everyone here in March.
"I feel good that we had activity at all levels. There is still some polarity in the market, but we felt good about seeing a little less of that here, and hopefully that continues for the rest of the season as we move on to April, where we have 1,200 horses."
Topping the final session was a Medaglia D'Oro colt out of the graded stakes-placed winner Rashnaa purchased by Cash is King and DJ Stable for $900,000. The dark bay or brown colt was consigned as Hip 422 by King's Equine on behalf of his Kentucky breeders, Town & Country Horse Farms and Pollock Farms.
A daughter of Tapit, Rashnaa is a half-sister to black-type winner Mistda (by Runaway Groom) and stakes-placed winner Beckyboy (by Sauve). The OBS sale colt, the mare's fourth foal, worked a furlong in ten seconds during the under tack show.
John Servis, who trained last year's champion two-year-old filly Jaywalk on behalf of DJ Stable and Cash is King, described the colt as a "great big horse who's a little back at the knee, but he goes over the ground really well.
"I think he's going to be a horse we go slow with and will make a really nice racehorse. The great thing is the owners I bought him for are patient as saints."
Servis said the colt's pre-sale workout sealed the deal. While the price was more than his clients initially thought they would have to pay, Servis said they were willing to take a chance.
"Watching him move over the track and the fact he's gotten this far with no blemishes pushed me over the edge," he said. "We would liked to have gotten him for a lot cheaper, but we really liked the colt and he was one of the top horses on our list in the sale.
"I'm sure if he wasn't by [Darley leading sire] Medaglia D'Oro, he would have been a couple hundred thousand dollars cheaper."
King's Equine's Raul Reyes said he was not surprised the colt was attractive to Servis.
"That horse has an athletic body, the kind every trainer looks for," the consignor said. "The trainer could see what I could see, and that is the horse has tremendous potential."
Sharing the final session's second-highest price of $850,000 were a filly by The Big Beast (Hip 302), purchased by Lane's End Bloodstock, agent for West Point, M. Anthony, and B Sandbrook from Ocala Stud, agent; and a Palace Malice colt (Hip 325) acquired by Mike Ryan, agent, from Pick View as agent.
The sale was highlighted by the Tuesday first session that featured two juveniles sold for more than $1 million, including a son of Tapit sold for an OBS March-record $2m.
The record-priced juvenile was produced from multiple Grade 1 winner Artemis Agrotera and was consigned as Hip 33 by Sequel Bloodstock as agent for New York breeders Chester and Mary Broman. The grey or roan colt named Chestertown was purchased by Lane's End Bloodstock, agent for a group consisting of West Point Thoroughbreds, Rob Masiello, and Siena Farm, with the Bromans staying in as a partner as well.
The sale's second-highest price of $1.2m was paid by Larry Best's OXO Equine for a son of Pioneerof the Nile (Hip 194) purchased from Hoby and Layna Kight.
"It has been a good sale, and some horses sold very well," said consignor Niall Brennan. "It's the same old thing. It's chickens or feathers, all or nothing."
Brennan speculated that the OBS numbers reflect the buyer tendency to hold back on spending during the year's first juvenile sale.
"As the first sale of the year, there may be a tendency by some people to be a little conservative, overlooking those horses that could be value underneath the obvious horses," he said.
"Obviously, people are being very selective," buyer Ryan said. "The good ones are really selling, and the rest it's difficult."
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Watch how day two of the OBS March Two-Year-Olds in Training Sale unfolded