By Jessica Martini
OCALA, Fl – The Ocala Breeders’ Sales Company’s June Sale of 2-Year-Olds in Training and Horses of Racing Age, the final auction of the juvenile sales season, concluded its three-day run Friday with a colt by Scat Daddy (hip 742) attracting the day’s top price of $360,000. Another son of the late Coolmore stallion, sire of Triple Crown winner Justify, brought the sale’s highest price of $650,000 when he sold during Wednesday’s first session of the auction.
Through three sessions, OBS sold 520 horses for $17,125,500. The average was $32,934 and the median was $15,000. At last year’s two-day sale, 434 horses grossed $14,999,900 for an average of $34,562 and a median of $18,500. The buy-back rate was 21.8%.
Eleven horses sold for $200,000 or more this year, while nine hit that mark a year ago, when the top price was $320,000.
“It was a very solid sale,” OBS Director of Sales Tod Wojciechowski said at the close of business Friday. “The trend we’ve seen all year is that the top end kind of takes care of itself. It was nice to see some vibrancy in the middle and lower levels, to see some active trade there.”
The sale’s leading consignor was Wavertree Stables, with 28 head sold for $2,105,500. The leading buyer was Carlo Vaccarezza, who purchased seven horses, including the $650,000 sales topper, for $1,010,500.
Eddie Woods, who sold a million-dollar juvenile at the Fasig-Gulfstream sale and topped the Barretts April sale, said he noticed more strength at the top end of the market during this spring’s 2-year-old sales.
“I think, at the better end, there was a bit more strength,” Woods said. “There were more horses sold for better money across the board at all the sales throughout the country. I don’t think at any sale was there a horse that brought crazy money, but there was a lot of money at the better end and there was more of it. It’s a growing trend, both at the yearling sale and in every part of our industry, the top end is getting a little bit more spread out and a little stronger.”
The OBS April sale was the undisputed highlight of the season. The four-day auction produced strong results from top to bottom and featured a rejuvenated middle market.
“April was probably, across the board, one of the best sales we’ve seen in years, just because so many horses got pedaled,” Woods said. “There was so much money at every level and even the useful horses got sold.”
The lower and middle market at the June sale was bolstered by participation by Carribean entities, with the Confederacion Hipica de Puerto Rico purchasing 56 juveniles to be the sale’s fifth leading buyer, and the Royal St. Lucia Turf Club acquiring 20 head.
“It was great to have the Puerto Rican groups participating at the level that they did, as well as the St. Lucia group and the Korean groups,” Wojciechowski said. “They were very helpful to the sale. I am sure a lot of those people were here in April and didn’t get their orders filled and fortunately we were able to help them out in June.”
Woods still saw some weakness in the middle market.
“The middle market is a little tricky here,” Woods said as the June sale wound down. “On the first show day on Monday, the traffic was dismal–you couldn’t start an argument, never mind an auction. People showed up for the sale at the end of the day and it looks like the people have found the better horses. At the lower end, we had the usual South Miami and island guys. But the thing that we don’t have here anymore is an East Coast presence. There were nearly no trainers. I don’t think the money is around for that kind of horse anymore.”
The yearling sales begin next month and Woods said his approach to buying yearlings won’t change this year.
“We’ll stick with the same thing,” he said. “When we get it right, it’s always worked well. And that’s a bit of quality. We pay a little bit more for them to just get the real deal we want. The worst thing you ever say to yourself at the sale is, ‘He’ll be ok, if…’ They are never ok, if. One in 20 is ‘ok, if’ because he iffed and the other 19 didn’t. But he doesn’t pay for the other 19. So you have to be very comfortable and really like what you’re buying.”
The June sale also included a section of Horses of Racing Age, with an unraced gelding by Jimmy Creed (hip 853) bringing top price of $60,000. The 3-year-old was consigned by Gayle Woods and purchased by bloodstock agent Alistair Roden. In all, five horses sold for $96,600 and an average of $19,300.
Scat Daddy Colt to Redekop
Scat Daddy, already represented by Wednesday’s $650,000 sale topper, had another session topper Friday in Ocala when bloodstock agent Alistair Roden went to $360,000 to secure a colt by the late stallion on behalf of Peter Redekop.
“He’ll go to California, but I’m not sure just yet on a trainer,” Roden said. “I’ll have to get with those guys and see about a trainer.”
Consigned by Wavertree Stables, the bay colt (hip 742) was bred by Bryant Prentice’s Pursuit of Success, which purchased his dam Imprecation (First Defence) for $223,246 at the 2013 Tattersalls December sale. The juvenile’s second dam is Media Nox (GB) (Lycius), dam of Group 1 winner Nebraska Tornado (Storm Cat) and group winners Burning Sun (Danzig) and Mirabilis (Lear Fan). He worked a furlong last week in :10 1/5.
“He’s a Scat Daddy who breezed really well,” Roden said of the colt’s appeal. “He’s a beautiful horse with a good pedigree.”
Asked about the colt’s final price tag, Roden said with a chuckle, “I think it had something to do with the Triple Crown.” He added, “Scat Daddy is obviously a very good sire. This horse probably has more of a grass pedigree.”
Of the market in Ocala this week, Roden added, “The good ones sell for a lot of money. It’s always competitive for the good ones.”
Imprecation produced a colt by Hard Spun last year and a filly by Into Mischief this year.
Quick Double Strike for Plesa
Trainer Eddie Plesa took home a pair of juveniles in quick succession Friday in Ocala, going to $260,000 to secure a colt by Into Mischief just six hips after acquiring a colt by Uncaptured for $230,000. Both were purchased on behalf of Karl and Cathi Glassman.
“We’ve been trying to get an Into Mischief this year,” Plesa, sitting alongside his wife Laurie and retired Hall of Fame jockey Bobby Ussery, said after signing the ticket on hip 660. “He’s an outstanding stallion and this was the right time and the right price.”
The colt is out of Farayya (Hard Spun), a daughter of graded stakes placed High Cholesterol (Until Sundown) and a half to group winner Giftorm (War Pass). Bred by Janavar Thoroughbreds, the bay colt RNA’d for $80,000 at last year’s Keeneland September sale and was consigned Friday by Gene Recio.
“He has a shoulder that is second to none,” Plesa said of the colt, who worked a quarter last week in :21 2/5. “He’s just a very attractive looking individual–he’s my type of horse.”
Plesa also signed the ticket on hip 654, a colt from the first crop of Canadian champion Uncaptured.
“I think Uncaptured is as hot a 2-year-old sire as you’re going to have in the country right now,” Plesa said. “I have a couple down in South Florida right now and they both can run. I think he’s got an outstanding opportunity to be the leading juvenile sire.”
Uncaptured, who stands at Ocala Stud, has already been represented by a pair of winners at Gulfstream Park, including the impressive 10 1/2-length debut winner Capture Your Dream.
The juvenile, who worked a furlong in :10 flat last week, is out of Fabiana’s Flash (City Zip), a daughter of graded stakes winner Flashy N Smart (Smarten).
“This horse fits all the bills for us,” Plesa said of the bay. “He is a Florida Stallion Stakes horse, he’s a Florida-bred.”
The colt was consigned by Costanzo Sales. Tony Costanzo purchased the youngster for $60,000 at last year’s OBS October sale.
“He’s was just a really nice looking yearling and he turned into a really nice 2-year-old,” Costanzo said. “I was grateful to get him for the $60,000.”
Also on behalf of the Glassmans, Plesa purchased a colt by Speightstown (hip 494) for $100,000 during Thursday’s second session of the sale.
“I found the market, as a whole, was very soft,” Plesa said. “I think it’s been more of a buyer’s sale than a seller’s sale, though these two horses, if they had been in an earlier sale–especially the Into Mischief–I think they could have brought a lot more money. It’s been an opportunity for us to get something.”