Three Chimneys move for smoking pinhook
$30,000 September yearling becomes $685,000 April breezer
A home-run pinhook headlined the opening session of the Ocala Breeders’ Sales spring breeze-up sale on Tuesday, with an Orb colt purchased for just $30,000 at Keeneland last September soaring to $685,000.
The colt, bred by Claiborne Farm from the first crop of its resident stallion Orb, was purchased as a yearling by Royal Flush Racing - a reflection on his small size, at that stage, and the lack of significant runners out of his dam.
But he had matured so significantly over the intervening six months that Three Chimneys Bloodstock, as agent, had the last bid at more than twenty times his September value. The colt was consigned on behalf of a client by Florida horseman Randy Miles, who picked him out as a yearling. And if his dam, the Dynaformer mare Vowel, has since been culled from Claiborne - for just $5,000, in foal to Algorithms at Keeneland last November - the fact is that she belongs to a royal Claiborne family featuring as third dam the Grade 1 winner, Preach, the dam of Pulpit.
Jacob West, director of bloodstock services for Three Chimneys, who signed the ticket enthused: "He had a nice breeze [:10 U!] and good gallop-out. He looks good and vets good. We’re pretty excited about him."
West said the colt, who cost "in the realm of what we thought he would," could be owned in partnership, but that Three Chimneys would be "pretty heavily involved." He will be trained by Steve Asmussen, who also conditions Grade 1 winner Gun Runner for the partnership of Three Chimneys and Winchell Thoroughbreds.
Trade was brisk across the board, registering significant increases in gross and average - the former rising 30.9 per cent to $15,305,700 for 169 head sold, compared with the $11,687,500 for 165 changing hands a year ago. The $90,566 session average represented a 27.9 per cent year-on-year gain from $70,833. The session median of $50,000 was up from $47,000.
With 302 cataloged for the session, 222 went through the ring after 80 head were withdrawn. The RNA rate was very similar - 23.9 per cent compared with 22.9 per cent last year - but the strength at the top of the market was vividly measured by 17 horses sold for $250,000 or more on the day, compared with nine last year.
"This sale looks a lot deeper and a lot more solid than the first three Florida sales this year," said agent Pete Bradley, who sold two lots through Eddie Woods, agent. "There is a middle market, and horses are selling in the $20,000 to $50,000 range."
Bradley himself scored an impressive pinhook success with a Creative Cause filly sold for $575,000 to White Birch Farm. Bred in Kentucky by Brereton C. Jones, she had been bought by Bradley for $75,000 at the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky July yearling sale.
Pinhooker Carrie Brogden of Machmer Hall Farm agreed with Bradley. "The middle market (buyers) finally showed up," said Brogden, who owns all or part of 18 juveniles entered in the sale. "When my trainer from Sunland Park is here, you know there’s a middle market. But purses are good and people need horses.”
Agent Justin Casse, participating in the OBS sale as both buyer and seller, said there was stiff competition for the horses he wanted. He said the relatively low RNA rate was likely a reflection of sellers taking a realistic view of the market, with a limited number of auctions remaining in the juvenile sale season.
"If you don’t get it sold here (at OBS April), you’re probably going to race it," Casse said. "This is near the end of the road."
With 11 sold for a total $1,272,500 Woods was leading consignor; John Oxley, represented by trainer Mark Casse, was leading buyer with three purchases for $1,050,000.
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