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'It's all top-end' says leading vendor as OBS two-year-old sale closes

Strong Mandate colt and Uncle Mo filly lead trade n Florida

Uncle Mo: responsible for the $775,000 joint session-topping filly
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A Strong Mandate colt and a filly by Uncle Mo each brought $775,000 to top Wednesday's second and final session of the 2018 Ocala Breeders' Sales March sale of two-year-olds in training in Florida.

Carolyn Wilson purchased a son of Strong Mandate consigned by Wavertree Stables (Ciaran Dunne), agent. The bay colt, whose furlong workout in 9.8 seconds was co-fastest at the distance during the under tack session on Saturday, is out of Magestic Stinger, by Majestic Warrior, a half-sister to stakes winner Tiz Blessed.

A daughter of Uncle Mo consigned by Eddie Woods, agent, also brought $775,000 with agent Alex Solis II signing the ticket on behalf of LNJ Foxwoods. The bay filly, who breezed a quarter-mile in 21.4 seconds on Saturday, is a half sister to Graded stakes winner Southern Honey, out of Mama Tia, by Carson City.

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Eddie Woods, the leading consignor with 15 sold for $4,915,000, said the sale reflected the ongoing trend, in which the top is strong and there is a steep drop-off after that.

"It's all top-end," Woods said. "There is still no comfortable ceiling where you can get the nice, useful horses sold. The top horses are always going to sell, but there is nobody here to buy those good, professional horses that are going to run out a bunch of money."

Brant buying big again

In addition to the Uncle Mo filly, Woods also sold a Quality Road filly to Peter Brant's White Birch Farm for $750,000.

The dark bay or brown filly, who turned in an under tack quarter-mile in 20.8 seconds, is out of Love This Kitty, by Not For Love, and is closely related to Grade 1 winner Hootenanny.

Trainer Chad Brown signed on behalf of Brant for the filly bred in Kentucky by Three Chimneys Farm who was bought back for $175,000 out of the Keeneland September Yearling Sale. After the filly went through the ring at Keeneland, agent Pete Bradley purchased a half interest.

"The fact they sold well didn't surprise me, but I didn't think they would get to those numbers," Woods said. "[The buyers] get on them and here they go [up in price]."

Average price down

For the session, 126 horses sold for a total of $21,980,000, compared with 153 horses bringing $29,743,500 at last year's second session.

The average price was down to $174,444 from last year's $194,402, while the median price was up at $120,000 compared with $87,500 in 2017. The buyback percentage was 29 per cent, compared to 26 per cent a year ago.

Cumulatively, 254 horses sold for $42,592,000, compared with 301 bringing a March sale record gross $56,510,000 last year. The average price was $167,685, down from a record $187,741 last year, while the median price was $110,000, the highest for the expanded-format March sale, compared to $95,000 a year ago. The buyback percentage was 30 per cent; it was 27 per cent in 2017.

'Difficult to match 2017 figures'

While there were no seven-figure transactions, OBS president Tom Ventura said it was a good sale, as reflected in the rise in median.

"There was a lot of activity at the upper end, and it was spread out among buyers at that level," he said. "I don't know if you can gauge the success of a sale by how many $1 million horses you have. The lack of $1 million horses affected our average, which was down about 10 per cent, but on the other side, the median was up 10 per cent, which was higher than it's been since we opened up the March sale."

Ventura noted that the 2017 edition of the auction resulted in record numbers, and that 2018 had a high bar to meet to get to those levels.

"We had a very difficult sale to match with records last year," he said. "Overall, I thought it was a very good sale."

The sale topper was Hip 141, a daughter of Scat Daddy consigned by Hartley/DeRenzo Thoroughbreds, agent. The filly sold to Phoenix Thoroughbreds for $875,000. The dark bay or brown filly, whose eighth-mile workout in 9.8 seconds was co-fastest at the distance for the under tack session, is a half-sister to Graded stakes winner Sharp Sensation, out of Accusation, by Royal Academy.

The next sale at OBS is the spring sale of two-year-olds in training, which will be April 24-27, with under tack shows scheduled for April 16-21.

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There is still no comfortable ceiling where you can get the nice, useful horses sold
E.W. Terms
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