Scat Daddy Filly Leads Way at OBS March

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Hip 141 | Photos by Z

By Brian DiDonato & Steve Sherack

OCALA, FL – Continued strength at the top and an elevated RNA rate of 38% were among the headlines as the 2-year-old market opened up in Ocala with the two-day OBS March Sale Tuesday.

With post sale transactions still being added in the early evening, 114 juveniles switched hands for $19,713,000, good for an average of $172,921 and a median of $105,000. During last year’s opening session, 148 2-year-olds sold for $26,766,500. The 2017 day one average was $180,855 and the median was $100,000.

There are 105 fewer offerings in the catalogue at this year’s OBS March auction compared to 2017.

“Coming in with 100 less horses in the catalogue, we didn’t foresee where we could possibly have the same gross,” OBS President Tom Ventura said. “The average and the median are in the ballpark from where they were last year and the buyback rate is higher than we had hoped for. But that’s a number that’s a moving target this early in the sale–we’re 38% this year versus 28% after all was said and done with the post sales last year. That number will move down as we go through tomorrow.”

Amer Abdulaziz’s Phoenix Thoroughbreds III purchased the day’s topper, an $875,000 Scat Daddy filly from the Hartley/DeRenzo Thoroughbreds consignment.

Phoenix also acquired a $400,000 Uncle Mo filly from Crupi’s New Castle Farm.

Larry Best’s OXO Equine LLC was the session’s leading buyer. Best signed for an $850,000 Pioneerof the Nile colt and a $575,000 colt from the first crop of freshman sire Mucho Macho Man. Eddie Woods consigned the former and Richardson Bloodstock consigned the latter.

De Meric Sales led all consignors with 15 sold for $2,523,000. Woods sold six for $2,320,000.

“I thought it was very competitive up at the top end,” Ventura said. “We’re seeing a similar market place at that end. There’s certainly some weakness on the bottom side of the sale. The good thing from our end is that the bar is pretty high now so it’s going to be difficult to match up to what we did over the last couple of years. I think we have some nice horses still to go through the ring Wednesday and maybe we’ll crack that magical million-dollar mark. The activity in the barns was very strong throughout and there was a good vibe to the market, so I’m certainly not disappointed.” –@SteveSherackTDN & @BDiDonatoTDN.

Phoenix Rises Again at OBS…

Amer Abdulaziz’s Dubai-based Phoenix Thoroughbreds continued to play at the top of the market at OBS March Tuesday, as it saw off stiff challenges from several spots to take home a filly from the final crop of international sensation Scat Daddy for a session high $875,000. A $160,000 Keeneland November weanling who RNA’d for $335,000 at Keeneland September, the :9 4/5 co-bullet breezer was consigned by Hartley/DeRenzo Thoroughbreds, LLC as hip 141.

Phoenix’s U.S. head of operations Tom Ludt signed the ticket, while trainers Jeremy Noseda and Bob Baffert were close by. Abdulaziz revealed that the filly would be heading to Europe, but declined to confirm whether or not she would be conditioned by Noseda.

“She’s very athletic,” Abdulaziz said. “We love the stallion–we’ve obviously done very well with him. And she was beautiful. We’re hoping she’ll be as good as the others that we bought.”

A May 10 foal, hip 141 is half to four black-type horses, including GSW turf sprinter Sharp Sensation (Sharp Humor). She hails from the family of G1 Epsom Derby hero Benny the Dip.

Phoenix paid $800,000 for a Scat Daddy filly now named Take Me With You at last year’s Fasig-Tipton Gulfstream sale. Group 3-placed for Noseda at Royal Ascot while still a maiden, she was last seen romping by nine lengths to graduate in September. Phoenix also paid $3 million for GISW broodmare prospect Nickname (Scat Daddy) at Fasig-Tipton November, and has done very well with its 2017 breeze-up purchases, which include Baffert-trained four-for-four Grade I winner and GI Kentucky Oaks hopeful Dream Tree (Uncle Mo). Baffert, of course, also conditions 2-for-2 ‘TDN Rising Star’ Justify (Scat Daddy) for different owners.

“So far, so good,” Abdulaziz said when asked about early market impressions. “We thought it was going to be a lot stronger and we thought she was going to bring a million. We got lucky with the Uncle Mo filly (hip 128)–we got her a lot cheaper than we expected. We’re done for the day now. We’ll be back tomorrow.”

Hip 128, a New Jersey-bred, cost $400,000 after working in   :10 flat. She was purchased for $200,000 by consignor Crupi’s New Castle Farm as a Fasig-Tipton July yearling. The Jan. 24 foal is the first out of stakes-placed Winiliscious (Lawyer Ron).

@BDiDonatoTDN

Best Back at It…

Larry Best of OXO Equine purchased catalog cover boy and GIII Lecomte S. winner Instilled Regard (Arch) for $1.05 million at this sale 12 months ago, and one of the bloodstock business’s most noteworthy newcomers continued to solidify his status as a major player with Tuesday’s acquisition of hip 151, a Pioneerof the Nile colt who tied for the first breeze show’s quarter-mile bullet of :21 1/5.

The May 7 foal is out of stakes winner American Lady (Stormy Atlantic) and was purchased in utero for $350,000 at KEENOV ’15 by agents Alex Solis II and Jason Litt on behalf of the Roth family’s LNJ Foxwoods. American Lady is a half to talented MGSW The Pamplemousse (Kafwain), who Solis purchased and co-owned.

“We’ve loved this colt since he was a yearling,” Solis said. “The LNJ plan is to always sell the colts and keep the fillies. We only had two colts in this crop and 12 fillies, so we held them both back to this sale and [consignor] Eddie [Woods] has been really high on him all year.”

LNJ Foxwoods’ other colt, hip 114, was withdrawn.

Of 151, Solis added, “He’s a really nice colt. He’s really well-balanced and correct. He’s just a good Pioneerof the Nile and I think he’s only going to get better. He’s a May foal and you saw how fast he breezed and he galloped out well. We wish Larry Best the best.”

Best went back to the well later in the day for another May-foaled colt, a $575,000 Indiana-bred from the first crop of GI Breeders’ Cup Classic-winning $5.6-million earner Mucho Macho Man (Macho Uno). Consigned by Richardson Bloodstock as hip 282, he was just a $12,000 Keeneland January short yearling and $170,000 KEESEP yearling purchase by Michael Neatherlin.

“I’m actually pretty happy with the two that I bought,” said Best, who was accompanied by veteran horseman John Dowd. “They’re two nice colts, so I’m satisfied. It was a good day… They both had good breezes, and coincidentally both are May foals, so they’ve got some big growth ahead of them. If they’re good now, hopefully they’ll just get better.”

Best said he didn’t have trainers picked out yet for either colt, but would send them to Eddie Woods for a bit.

As for Instilled Regard, who was most recently fourth in the GII Risen Star S. at Fair Grounds, Best said, “Instilled Regard is healthy and sound, which is the most important thing. He’s training for his next race–we haven’t picked that race yet–but there are a fair number of options.”

Best made his first splash at the 2016 Keeneland September sale, but really stepped up at last year’s 2-year-old sales. So far, he’s pleased with the results.

“I’m pretty happy–we’ve had a graded stakes winner who’s also Grade I-placed in the first year,” he said. “We’re on the Derby trail–whether we get there or not is still a question mark. … I really didn’t understand [Derby fever] a year ago. Now, with Instilled Regard, I understand why people get so excited. I’m just trying to control my excitement. As we all know, there are 20 horses who get there and only one who wins. I’m trying to look longer term, thinking about a good 3-year-old season and

4-year-old season and hopefully we have good enough results to have a stallion.”

Best noted that he has already bred some of his fillies who failed to pan out on the track, and he plans to do more breeding to race in the future. @BDiDonatoTDN

Kellys Active on Day One at OBS…

Owners Jon and Sarah Kelly made their presence felt during Tuesday’s opening session of the OBS March 2-Year-Old Sale, led by a $500,000 colt from the first crop of freshman sire Cairo Prince. The Southern California-based Paddy Gallagher will train.

“Very athletic–he looks like he’s ready to go,” said Jon Kelly, who was seated alongside advisor Jamie McCalmont. “If you watch the video, you’ll see that the guy was standing up on him and he still did [an eighth in] :10 1/5–he wasn’t even going. He’s got a good, long stride. He’s got a chance to be a nice horse.”

Hip 61, consigned by Crupi’s New Castle Farm, brought $100,000 as a FTKJUL yearling. He was bred in Kentucky by Coteau Grove Farms. The dark bay previously RNA’d for $42,000 as a KEENOV weanling. He was produced by the two-time winner Summer Shade (Stephen Got Even), a half-sister to MGSW Hot Summer (Malibu Moon).

Cairo Prince ranked second among North American freshman sires at last year’s yearling sales with 75 sold for an average of $150,786, according to TDN Sales Statistics.

Kelly also purchased Hip 18, a filly by Animal Kingdom from the Halcyon Hammock Farm, Agent II, consignment (:10 1/5), for $170,000. The former television executive’s family established and owned KCRA-TV in Sacramento, California. The Kellys campaigned GI Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup S. heroine Vacare (Lear Fan). –@SteveSherackTDN

Crupi: ‘Horse Business is Good Right Now’

Jimmy Crupi’s New Castle Farm enjoyed a nice day of selling at OBS March Tuesday. Highlights from Crupi’s draft included:

  • Hip 171, Bernardini-Awesome d’Oro (Ire) filly (:10 1/5) purchased by Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and Repole Stable for $575,000.
  • Hip 61, Cairo Prince-Summer Shade colt (:10 1/5) purchased by Jamie McCalmont, agent for Jon Kelly, for $500,000.
  • Hip 128, Uncle Mo-Winiliscious filly (:10) purchased by Phoenix Thoroughbreds III for $400,000.
  • Hip 23, Midnight Lute-Showtime Samurai colt (:10 1/5) purchased by Jerry Durant for $300,000.

Hip 171 was a $50,000 KEESEP yearling; Hip 61 was a $100,000 FTKJUL yearling; Hip 128 was a $200,000 FTKJUL yearling; and Hip 23 was a $65,000 FTKJUL yearling.

In total, Crupi sold five juveniles for $1,784,000.

“Everything is good–the horse business is good right now,” Crupi said from his golf cart back at Barn 6. “If you have the right horse and they looked good breezing, they are very easy to sell.”

He continued, “We knew we had a good bunch here. The top 10% always sell well. If you have a top horse with pedigree and they look good doing it-they don’t have to go :10 flat or :9 4/5. We sold Audible (Into Mischief) [for $500,000 at Fasig-Tipton Florida]. He went :10 2/5 and he just won the [GII] Holy Bull. So what does that mean? I think people are starting to realize that now. People are looking for Classic, two-turn horses with pedigree.” –@SteveSherackTDN

Stinson Adds ‘Saturday Afternoon Horse’…

Tom McGreevy, a long-time advisor for Rick Porter’s Fox Hill Farm, was extended to $725,000 to secure a Bodemeister colt on behalf of owner Michael C. Stinson.

Hip 108, bred in Kentucky by WinStar Farm, RNA’d for $140,000 as a KEESEP yearling. Consigned by Woodford Thoroughbreds, agent, he zipped through an eighth in :10. The son of the stakes-placed Friendly Island mare Victory Island hails from the extended female family of champion Victory Gallop.

“Obviously we liked him,” McGreevy, sporting a Battle of Midway cap, said with a laugh out back. “He’s the kind of horse we look for. It’s difficult to pay that much because it’s so difficult from here to make a good horse, but he was just one of those outstanding individuals that had all the potential to be that really top Saturday afternoon horse. That’s what we’re looking for.”

McGreevy purchased 10 yearlings in 2017 for the aforementioned Texan, who was one of the partners in the ownership group Taylor Made formed for two-time Horse of the Year California Chrome. He also bought into New Mexico’s champion Pepper’s Pride after she concluded her racing career undefeated with 19 victories. Stinson campaigned New Mexico multiple stakes winner Proceed (Desert God).

“Mike Stinson is a great guy and he’s just so enthused about the business,” McGreevy said. “He has a lot of confidence in me-I didn’t know he had that much confidence in me! [Hip 108] was just an outstanding individual and he worked great. I pay a lot of attention to demeanor-he just had all the class and confidence in the world. We’ll keep our fingers crossed. We weren’t the only ones that liked him. It’s hard to hide a good one. The good horses show up.”

McGreevy added that a decision regarding a trainer hadn’t been made yet. –@SteveSherackTDN

‘Lucky Day’ for Golden Legacy…

Hip 201 turned plenty of heads when breezing in a co-fastest :9 4/5 during one of last week’s breeze shows, and the money came for him in the ring as well with Japan’s Katsumi Yoshida taking him home for $525,000.

From the first crop of Spendthrift Farm resident, Grade I winner and OBS March grad Itsmyluckyday (Lawyer Ron), the chestnut is out of dual Grade II winner and GISP Briecat (Adcat).

He was sold by Golden Legacy on behalf of an undisclosed client who purchased him privately from Spendthrift.

“He bought two horses privately,” explained Golden Legacy’s Blas Perez. “He bought them to race, and he sent them to me and I kind of liked this guy, so I talked him into putting him in the sale.”

When asked to describe the colt, Perez said, “He’s very athletic and smart. He was very laid back, but he did everything right from the beginning. He just kept improving every time. I think he’s going to be a real nice racehorse–not just a speedball.”

Perez knew hip 201 would do well, but didn’t know how well.

“I knew we had some big guns behind him,” he said. “I never overprice my horses, but I knew a lot of people liked him and there would be plenty of money for him.”

Itsmyluckyday, who stands for $5,000, had 25 yearlings sell in 2017 for an average of $18,856. If Perez’s impressions are accurate, the stallion’s first crop could be poised for a solid year on the track despite him flying a bit under the radar so far.

“I have one homebred by the same sire,” Perez said. “He’s a little bit smaller than [hip 201], but he’s just as athletic as him and just as smart.” @BDiDonatoTDN

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