'This horse will be more brilliant' - $1.3 million Into Mischief colt heads the way of music producer Rich Mendez at OBS

The Into Mischief colt who sold to Randy Hartley and Dean DeRenzo for $1.3 million on the final day of the OBS Spring Sale
The Into Mischief colt who sold to Randy Hartley and Dean DeRenzo for $1.3 million on the final day of the OBS Spring SaleCredit: OBS Sales

Top consignors Randy Hartley and Dean DeRenzo switched to the buyers' side of the auction ring during the final day of the Ocala Breeders' Sales Spring Two-Year-Olds in Training Sale and went to $1.3 million to acquire an Into Mischief colt for new player and music producer Rich Mendez, who buys under the name More Play. 

The bay colt comes from the Grade 3-placed stakes winner Singing Kitty, by Ministers Wild Cat.

During last week's under tack show, the juvenile sped an eighth-mile in :09 3/5, which was the co-fastest time of the entire preview. 

"We're helping these guys do a couple of different things; it's a group of guys, Rich Mendez is the head of it," said Hartley. 

"This horse looks like if he hits a Graded stakes, he could make it as a stallion; he went in :09 3/5, unbelievably. He's super fast and really good-looking, he's a little shin tender, and he still went out there and put it down on the line. 

"We like that in a horse when they can be big and strong. Ciaran [Dunne] has talked about this horse all year. I've talked to everybody on the farm that works with this horse, everybody loves him, and we all felt like this was the horse."

Consigned as hip 967 by Dunne's Wavertree Stables as agent, the colt was bought by Dunne's and Paul Reddam's Red Wings pinhooking partnership during last year's Keeneland September Yearling Sale for $300,000.

More Play picked up a Good Magic colt (hip 323) on the first day of the sale for $450,000 from the S G V Thoroughbreds draft. The colt, who is a half-sibling to Grade 2 winner Sarah Sis, breezed an eighth-mile in :10 last week during the under tack show.

"We went to $1.8 million on the Gun Runner colt (hip 782); I loved that horse, he is a beautiful horse, but I wanted this horse (hip 967) more," said Hartley. 

"To me :09 3/5 is a lot faster than :10 1/5, and this horse will be more brilliant. I promise you, first time out, they will not catch this horse; we're hoping for good things."

The immediate plans for these horses are still being determined, but Hartley had a strong feeling they would head west to trainer Bob Baffert.

"My guy loves Baffert; whenever he flies to LA, he first goes to Bob's barn," said Hartley.

While new to the industry, Mendez is getting involved in a big way and his More Play partnership intends to be active at the yearling sales this year with a budget of around $25-30m, according to Hartley.

Bob Baffert: landed ninth Haskell Stakes with Authentic at the end of a week in which he received a 15-day ban for failed drug tests
Bob Baffert: likely trainer of the Into Mischief coltCredit: Edward Whitaker

"Mendez is new to racing; he has raced only one horse before but is so in love and enthusiastic about the game," he said. "He's young and involved; he loves the farm and seeing his horses."

The fourth session saw 165 horses trade hands of the 193 through the ring, recording gross receipts of $22,609,000. An average price of $137,024 and a median of $65,000 were recorded. A buy-back rate of 14.5 per cent accounts for the 28 juveniles who failed to meet their reserve price.

"Good horses are selling very well," said consignor and OBS vice-president Barry Eisaman. "I think it's surprising that we can market so many horses to so many good people, and year after year, it keeps going. I think it's been fine.

"[We saw] a little more of the middle market [compared to the March Sale]. You could not say this sale was weak at the top. It seemed like March was even stronger in the top third. It's been a pretty good marketplace."

Into Mischief
Into Mischief

Friday's session saw nine horses sell for $500,000 or more by sires Nyquist (hip 928 - $535,000, hip 1024 - $900,000, and hip 1219 - $550,000), Lookin At Lucky (hip 942 - $500,000), Into Mischief (hip 967 - $1,300,000 and hip 1036 - $725,000), Gun Runner (hip 1068 - $525,000), Audible (hip 1093 - $535,000), and Solomini (hip 1109 - $700,000).

As for the market at the Spring Sale, consignor Karl Keegan of Lucan Bloodstock said: "It's been very tough. I have scratched a lot of horses this week, and horses that are clean and x-rayed. I don't want to bring them up and expose them. We will have to move on and go racing with them.

"It's a lack of a middle market. That [type of] owner that would come to these sales and buy a horse, or a couple of horses for $50,000 or $75,000 and send to a trainer isn't here. You have a lot of New York trainers that aren't here. I don't know if it's the economy, and people don't want to spend. I thought we were overpaying for yearlings in Kentucky last year. I felt myself stretching $25,000, $30,000 or more than I valued the horses at."

Cumulatively over the past four days of selling, OBS reports, 698 horses changed hands of the 840 to go under the hammer for gross receipts of $90,755,000, for an average price of $130,021 and median of $65,000. The buy-back rate for the four-session sale was 17 per cent, representing the 142 horses who failed to meet their reserve.

Three horses sold for $1m or more - a colt by Gun Runner for $2.2m, an Arrogate colt for $1.45m, both to Donato Lanni. along with Friday's session-topper.

During the 2022 sale, 711 horses sold of the 837 on offer for a gross total of $92,129,000. An average price of $129,577 and a median of $65,000 was achieved. The RNA rate was 15 per cent to represent the 126 horses that failed to sell.

At the conclusion of the four-day sale, Wavertree Stables sold 37 horses for $9,041,000 to be the sale's leading consignor by gross. Agent Lanni made five purchases over the week totalling $5.8m, including three for client Zedan Racing Stables to the tune of $4,550,000, to be the leading buyer.

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Published on 29 April 2023inNews

Last updated 10:52, 29 April 2023