OBS June Sale Starts Wednesday

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Hip 211 | Tibor & Judit Photography

By Jessica Martini

The Ocala Breeders’ Sales Company’s June Sale of 2-Year-Olds and Horses of Racing Age, which provides the final act in the 2018 juvenile sales season, begins its three-day run in Central Florida Wednesday with bidding slated to start on the first of 936 catalogued head at 10 a.m.

The June sale concludes the troika of OBS 2-year-old auctions for the year and follows on the heels of a successful April sale that saw increased participation in the middle market. OBS Director of Sales Tod Wojciechowski hopes the strength of the April sale continues into June.

“Our April sale was fantastic,” Wojciechowski said. “We were really pleased with how the April sale went. You would think, if people didn’t get their orders filled in April, certainly it would make sense that they would be here in June.”

The June sale had been originally scheduled to begin Tuesday, but officials moved the start back a day to give horsemen more travel time after a big weekend of racing at Belmont Park. As buyers started to hit the barns Monday morning, Wojciechowski said the excitement of racing’s newest Triple Crown winner could be another boon for the June sale.

“I think the results of the Belmont and the Triple Crown-a rising tide raises all ships–I think that bodes well for the industry,” he said. “We’re starting to see people showing up at the barns that you may not have seen at the breeze show. And nowadays, with the advent of video and the popularity of that, it’s not an issue if they’re not at the breeze show.”

Six horses shared the fastest furlong work time of :9 4/5 during last week’s four-session breeze show (114, 211, 332, 403, 613, 652), while a filly by Cairo Prince (hip 61) turned in the fastest quarter-mile time of :20 2/5. A colt by Uncle Mo (hip 41) had the fastest three-furlong work time of :32 2/5.

“We were very happy with the breeze show,” Wojciechowski said. “We did get lucky and dodge some weather. We had a couple of days when we had an interruption with the rain, but given the surface that we have, we were able to resume right away under the same track conditions as we started the day. So all in all, it went very well.”

Held over two sessions last year, 434 horses sold for a total of $14,999,900. The average was $34,562 and the median was $18,500. A colt by Midnight Lute brought the sale’s top price when selling for $320,000 to trainer Linda Rice. He was one of three to bring $300,000 or over.

OBS opened the juvenile sale season with its March sale and will conclude it with the June sale. Throughout the spring, there has been a familiar refrain of a still-polarized marketplace, with high demand for the top horses that sometimes seems to evaporate further down the ladder.

“We didn’t see any big surprises in the marketplace in 2018,” Wojciechowski said. “A lot of the trends that we’ve seen over the last few years, we continued to see. That being said, I expect the horses that they deem to be the best in the June sale will sell very well and hopefully we’ll be able to continue to get the other ones done, as well.”

The June sale had a pair of stakes winners over the weekend when Lovely Bernadette (Wilburn), a 2016 graduate, won the GIII Mint Julep H., and 2017 graduate King Humor (Distorted Humor) won the Ocala Flame S. at Gulfstream Park. There and Back (First Dude), who was bought back for $400,000 at last year’s June sale, graduated in his debut for trainer Bob Baffert at Santa Anita Saturday. Other recent graduates include last year’s GI Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint winner Stormy Liberal (Stormy Atlantic) and GI Clark H. winner Seeking the Soul (Perfect Soul {Ire}).

The June sale continues through Friday with sessions beginning daily at 10 a.m.

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