$1.2-Million Tapit Colt Paces OBS March Opener

Hip 173, a son of Tapit, brings $1.2 million at OBS March | Photos by Z

by Jessica Martini & Christina Bossinakis

The Ocala Breeders' Sales Company's March 2-Year-Olds in Training Sale opened Tuesday with a solid session, and while the 2-year-old sales are usually all about speed, the day was topped by a colt by Tapit who galloped during last week's under-tack show. From the Lothenbach dispersal, the youngster sold for $1.2 million to the partnership of West Point Thoroughbreds and D. J. Stables. He was consigned by Tom McCrocklin.

“I think it points to the fact that the under-tack show is one metric,” said OBS Director of Sales Tod Wojciechowski. “There are a lot of different metrics that people use to buy horses. The under-tack shows get talked about a lot, but it's not the only thing. There were obviously people here who felt like they could get a good read on the horse and liked what they saw at the barn and what they saw on the racetrack in the way he moved. Everybody focuses on the time because it's an easy touch point, but there are a lot of other variables and intangibles that go into that decision-making process.”

During the session, 152 horses sold for $20,844,000 for an average of $137,132 and a median of $73,500. The average was down 11% from a year ago and the median dipped 18.3%. The buy-back rate for Tuesday's session was 26.9%. It was 32.1% a year ago.

“It's hard to compare day to days after the first day, but I thought it was pretty on line with last year overall,” Wojciechowski said.

Showing the breadth of the buying bench, the top 10-priced lots were purchased by 10 different buyers.

“The buying bench was pretty varied,” Wojciechowski said. “There were a lot of different people buying horses. I felt like we have good horses spread out through the entire catalogue. We obviously had some highlights today and I think we will continue to have highlights over the next two days.”

Of the top 10 sellers Tuesday, two were from the first crop of Gainesway stallion McKinzie, with Bill Childs going to $750,000 for a colt from the Wavertree Stables consignment and Belmar Racing, R.A. Hill and Gargan going to $450,000 for a colt from the King's Equine consignment. Both colts shared bullet furlong work times of :9 4/5.

The OBS March sale continues through Thursday with sessions beginning daily at 11 a.m.

West Point, DJ Stable Unite for Tapit Colt

Proving that value rarely goes unnoticed among the savvy juvenile market buyers, Hip 173, a colt by leading sire Tapit, realized $1.2 million on the OBS March Sale's opening day. With the tempo picking up noticeably as the session progressed, West Point Thoroughbreds and D J Stable teamed up to land the opening session's sole seven-figure offering. Consigned by Tom McCrocklin, the Feb. 27 foal was a member of the Lothenbach Stables Dispersal.

Jonathan Green & Terry Finley | Photos by Z

“He's the kind that we look for. We figured he'd bring a lot of money, but I think he's got plenty of upside,” said West Point's Terry Finley. “The Tapits can be across the board in terms of their mental disposition, but he has a very cool mind and acted the right way. With these expensive horses, we tend to say the same things and just keep our fingers crossed. You just hope they live up to that expectation.”

Out of Distorted Music, herself a $190,000 Keeneland September purchase in 2011, the gray is a half-brother to Grade III winner She Can't Sing (Bernardini). The colt represents the family of GI CCA Oaks heroine Music Note, dam of G1 Dubai World Cup winner Mystic Guide, in addition to French Classic scorer Musical Chimes.

“Obviously, we have a soft spot for Tapit,” explained Finley. “We love the fact that this [colt] is big and raw.”

The dispersal came up after Bob Lothenbach died suddenly at the age of 64 last fall. All of the Lothenbach horses galloped during last week's breeze sessions.

“I didn't know [Lothenbach] but I know he had a beautiful breeding program and ran a great operation,” said Finley. “We knew we were buying something from a very effective program.”

D J Stable's Jon Green was equally enthused with Tuesday's purchase.

“You look at these dispersals, and it seems like every year one jumps out of that program. We hope it works out that way. But we really thought he was the best of that group. The fact that he was galloping and not breezing, for a big horse like that, it only added to his appeal because we felt it would be more beneficial to his development. The world is his oyster.”

Partnering on a handful of horses in the past, including Grade III winner Turned Aside (American Pharoah), longtime friends Len and Jon Green and Finley thought it seemed like the right time to take the relationship to the next level.

“We have had a couple of horses with the Greens in the past, but this is by far the best we've ever got our hands on together, so we're excited to go forward,” said Finley.

Green echoed the sentiment.

“The important thing about this horse are the people behind it. Terry and I have been talking and we were just waiting for the right horse and we felt this was absolutely the right athlete to go after. He looks like he has two-turn ability and we're going to take our time with him. This was just the right opportunity.” —@CBossTDN

Not This Time Colt Heads to Japan

A colt by Not This Time (hip 183) will be heading to Japan after selling for $850,000 to the bid of bloodstock agent Shingo Hashimoto, acting on behalf of Katsumi Yoshida. The dark bay colt was consigned by Hartley/DeRenzo Thoroughbreds on behalf of trainer Tom Durant. He worked a furlong last week in :10 flat.

“His workout was really good and his appearance was really nice,” Hashimoto said. “We really liked the colt and we are very excited about him. We will bring him back to Japan and see how he goes.”

The colt is out of Dos Vinos (Twirling Candy), a half-sister to stakes winner China Grove (City Zip) purchased by Durant for $230,000 at the 2017 Keeneland September sale.

Hashimoto, who purchased a $1.05-million son of Arrogate on behalf of Yoshida at last year's March sale, was making his second purchase of the 2024 auction with hip 183. He went to $310,000 for a filly by Take Charge Indy (hip 110) earlier in the session.

Of the March sale's appeal, Hashimoto said, “It's good to know how the horses change from what we saw at the yearling sale and how they train. I think the level of training that they do in the U.S. is very high.” @JessMartiniTDN

Colts Group Adds an Uncle Mo Juvenile

The BSW/Crow Colts Group and Spendthrift Farm partnership, which has been active at the yearling sales the last few years, supplemented its 2024 roster heading to the barn of trainer Brad Cox with the purchase of an Uncle Mo colt (hip 106) for $750,000 during Tuesday's first session of the OBS March sale. The bay colt, consigned by Pick View, is out of Canteen (Candy Ride {Arg}).

Hip 106 | Photos by Z

“Everybody on the team liked him,” Liz Crow said after signing the ticket on the juvenile. “Katelyn Jackson, Ned Toffey and his son Daniel and Seth [Semkin] and then Brad Cox, everybody on the whole team felt like he fit what we were looking for.”

The partners had success buying at OBS last year, purchasing Jimmy Winkfield S. winner Bergen (Liam's Map) for $375,000 at the OBS April sale.

“It was hard to buy yearlings last year,” Crow said. “We have a small number, we only have 10, and so this will be our 11th horse for the group.”

Stock Thoroughbreds purchased the colt for $270,000 at last year's Fasig-Tipton Saratoga sale. He worked a furlong during last week's under-tack show in :10 2/5. @JessMartiniTDN

Childs Jumps into the Fray Early at OBS

Bill Childs sat chilly until the closing moments of last year's OBS March Sale to land a Justify colt for $700,000. This year, the Texas businessman reversed course and extended to $750,000 for Hip 89, a son of freshman sire McKinzie, early in the sale.

The bay recorded a :9.4 move for Wavertree Stables during last Wednesday's breeze session.

“I really liked everything about him,” said Childs. “I liked the way he worked–that was an obvious reason. But I also liked him because I thought he'd want to go two turns.”

Bill Childs | Photos by Z

Out of Breech Inlet (Holy Bull), the Ontario-bred is a half-brother to Canadian multiple stakes winner and graded placed Merveilleux (Paynter). The colt's 14-year-old dam, a granddaughter of GISW By Land By Sea, is a half-sister to GSW Bauble Queen (Arch). In foal to Olympiad, she brought $50,000 at Keeneland November last season.

“He doesn't look like a horse that should work that fast going that short,” added Childs. “But when they do, they'll often turn out to be good.”

According to Ciaran Dunne, the colt has flourished since his arrival in September.

“He's a beautiful horse and worked really well,” he said. “He is one of those rare things, he was well sold and well bought. I think it hurt him a little bit being so early in the sale. People might have been expecting him to bring a little bit more or they weren't quite ready. But I think it was a fair price for him.”

According to Childs, the colt will go to trainer Bob Baffert, who also trained the youngster's sire, McKinzie.

“It's his first crop, so we don't know how that'll go,” he added. “But based on the way they worked here, it looks like they will be good.”

Offered at last year's Keeneland September sale, the Feb. 26 foal was secured by Ron Fein's Superfine Farm for $205,000.

Asked about the feel of the market halfway through Tuesday's session, Childs said, “It was actually a little softer than I thought. I saw a few that I thought would have brought a little more money. However, I do think it will probably get stronger as the sale goes along.”–@CBossTDN

Mischief Returns to OBS

Rarely absent from the leaderboard at any sale in the country, Into Mischief was represented by Hip 202, a colt that realized a $700,000 final bid from Muir Hut Stables. Out of GSW Electric Forest (Curlin), the bay colt is a grandson of MGSW and MGISP Forest Music (Unbridled's Song), herself responsible for graded winner Uncle chuck (Uncle Mo). Spendthrift Farm was among the underbidders on the colt.

“Muir Hut Stables has put a lot into the game,” said Southern California-based trainer Mark Glatt, stationed alongside the Muir Hutt team during the bidding. “I have been trying to get them to buy an Into Mischief for some time now. We were able to get this one, so we're excited.”

The Mar. 19 foal breezed an eighth in :10.1 during the initial breeze session last week.

“We are high on the sire, of course, but also on [broodmare sire] Curlin. This colt is a very athletic horse and seems to have talent. We hope he stays sound so we can get him to the races.”

Bred by Stonestreet Thoroughbred Holdings, the bay was consigned by Old South Farm on behalf of Bow River Ranch.

“I bought him for a new group of guys. That's their first pinhooking venture,” confirmed consignor Hoby Kight, who signed for the colt after the Oregon-based group paid $250,000 at last September's Keeneland sale.

When asked what drew him to the colt, Kight explained, “Everyone knows what I like–I like a horse with angles. I like a stretchy, big and fast horse with just enough pedigree. That's what it takes. If they can run, you're good. That's what I like to buy and this colt fit the bill.”

According to Kight, the fledgling partnership also sold Hip 19, a colt by Munnings, for $250,000, in addition to a Gun Runner colt (Hip 155) for $100,000.

“For me, the sale has been very fair so far,” Kight added. “The Munnings could have been anywhere from $250,000 to $400,000, depending on the breeze. He worked with a headwind [10.1], so that might have affected things a bit, but I thought it was fair overall.”–@CBossTDN

Munnings Filly Jump Starts March Sale

With the March sale less than half-an-hour old, a filly by Munnings (hip 26) kick started the action in Ocala Tuesday when selling for $700,000 to the bid of trainer Will Walden, acting on behalf of John Sykes's Woodford Thoroughbreds. The bay filly, consigned by Niall Brennan Stables, shared the :9 4/5 bullet on the first day of last week's under-tack show.

“I thought she had all of the parts,” Walden said. “She is a little bit on the smaller side, but with plenty of muscle. She had a great walk and temperament at the barn. I thought the breeze was outstanding. It was the best gallop out of the day and it was on the toughest day. She did it into a 10 mph headwind.”

Will Walden & Niall Brennan | Photos by Z

The filly is the first foal out of the unraced Ansaam (Bernardini), a half-sister to Grade I winner Denman's Call (Northern Afleet) and from the family of multiple Grade I winner Evening Jewel. She was a $95,000 Keeneland September purchase by Ryston Stables.

“She's probably a filly who is going to be early,” Walden said. “We will get her back to Turfway and then Keeneland and start looking for starts around Churchill. We are really excited to have her.”

Walden has been buying horses for Sykes across the globe over the last several months.

“He has been a great supporter of ours,” Walden said of Sykes. “He supported us when we went overseas when we bought some out of Tattersalls. We are just trying to buy runners and get in the winner's circle. He has a breeding operation, so with this filly's pedigree and hopefully with what she does on the track, she will hold some residual value as a broodmare.”

Walden agreed, with the juvenile sales season just minutes old, it could be difficult to anticipate prices.

“I had her between $600,000 and $800,000,” he said. “I would have liked to pay six instead of seven, but she is a quality filly and we are happy we got her. But you have to trust your gut. If you like the horse, the horse speaks to you and, on numbers and on paper it works out, you have to take a swing.”  @JessMartiniTDN

All Dreams Equine Absent from OBS

Juan Centeno's All Dreams Equine consignment, which was pulled into controversy when a filly it sold at last year's OBS June sale broke down at Finger Lakes in November and subsequently tested positive for Clenbuterol, had six horses catalogued to the OBS March sale, but the entire group was scratched from the auction.

“There was some publicity about me and my consignment and I just felt like it wasn't going to be a fair judgement on the horses,” Centeno said of the decision to withdraw his horses from the auction. “I could feel the energy wasn't all there. So the best thing for the horses and for everybody else was to scratch them for now.”

Two of the horses from Centeno's March consignment were involved in incidents during last week's under-tack show, with a filly collapsing on the track following her breeze and a colt getting loose before breezing and galloping around the infield.

OBS sales officials confirmed that Centeno had voluntarily scratched his horses from that sale and that the All Dreams horses were all tested before the under-tack show, but that results of those tests were not yet available.

“Yes and he welcomed it,” OBS President Tom Ventura said when asked about testing the horses in the consignment. “We did hair samples and additional blood samples. We don't have the results to share back at this point, but whatever he had here, he welcomed any additional scrutiny that might show that they had nothing in their systems.”

Of the additional testing, Centeno said, “All of my horses were tested, I don't know the results because they have them. But I have nothing to hide. I have always been honest and I have a good record. My tests have always been clean. And anybody who has questions or wants to test the horses, they are available to be tested or inspected. Not a problem.”

He continued, “I was happy to be tested. I have nothing to hide. I treat my horses with the highest standards. I am very dedicated to my horses. I am attached to my horses. And I am very proud of what we do together.”

Trainer Jeffrey Englehart was facing a two-year suspension after the Classic Empire colt he purchased from the All Dreams consignment last summer tested positive for Clenbuterol after breaking down in November. The case against him was dropped when segmented test of the colt's hair sample revealed that the drug had been administered before Englehart had become the horse's trainer.

“I was surprised when I was accused about that,” Centeno said of speculation that he had given the colt the drug. “I never gave anything to my horses. I wanted to prove that. And for that reason, the horses are available to be tested, to show the buyers I am honest and I play by the rules.”

Of the filly that collapsed after breezing during last week's under-tack show, “The horse was fine and we asked him to keep it here so that everybody, including us, could go and inspect the horse,” Ventura said. “And we talked to the vet and we aren't sure exactly what caused it, but she came out of it fine.”

The horse that got loose on the track was also uninjured in the mishap.

“If he had gotten loose on Wednesday, he would have had the opportunity to come back and breeze on Saturday, but given that he got loose on the last day at the under-tack show, there was no opportunity for him to come back,” said OBS Director of Sales Tod Wojciechowski. @JessMartiniTDN

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