$1.8M Win Win Win Filly Leads the Way as Top of the Market Drives Strong March Sale

Hip 788, topper of the OBS March sale | Photos by Z

by Jessica Martini & Christina Bossinakis

OCALA, FL – With a $1-million Authentic colt early in the session and a $1.8-million Win Win Win filly late in the day, the Ocala Breeders' Sales Company's March Sale of 2-Year-Olds matched its 2023 number of five seven-figure juveniles and the auction concluded its three-day run Thursday with another strong renewal.

“Overall, it was a terrific sale and we are looking forward to April,” said OBS Director of Sales Tod Wojciechowski.

Through three sessions, 446 horses sold for $66,437,600. The average of $148,963 dipped 5.0% from 2023 and the median of $75,000 was down 6.3%. The buy-back rate was 25.3%. It was 23.2% at the close of bidding last year.

In its ninth renewal as an open sale, the March auction has now produced back-to-back competitive editions and multiple seven-figure offerings for the third straight year.

“I think consignors are probably more comfortable and feel more confident that they can put a horse in either March or April and do well,” Wojciechowski said. “It doesn't have to be either/or. It can be both. And the way we set these sales up, if you have a horse that is ready now, he is March-type of horse and if he needs just a little more time, he is an April horse, and if he needs even more time than that, he is a June horse. I think when we opened this sale up there were probably some reservations and concerns and there was a little bit of a sit-back-and-watch attitude, but I think that comfort level is there now. The consignors who have brought those type of horses the last couple of years have been rewarded and the rest of the consignors have seen that.”

Bloodstock agent Marette Farrell saw the results of that increased confidence in the March market on the OBS sales grounds this week.

“I thought the sale was deep with good horses and there were a lot of very athletic horses to choose from,” Farrell said. “I think the consignors did a good job bringing early, athletic horses here. Horses who were forward, they weren't afraid and didn't feel like they had to wait for the April sale. One consignor said to me, 'If it's a good horse, it will be found.' If it's showing a little more precocity, they are happy to bring it to this sale because they are going to find the real athletes.”

A Florida-bred filly by first-crop sire Win Win Win became the sale's highest-priced offering when selling to Amr Zedan for $1.8 million. The filly was the highest-priced horse ever sold by the O'Farrell family's historic Ocala Stud.

“They are a legacy consignor here at OBS,” said Wojciechowski. “Their history and reputation within the industry is important to both OBS and to the industry. So to see them do well was very gratifying.”

Ocala Stud's sale-topping Win Win Win filly | Photos by Z

The sale topper provided an exclamation point on a strong showing for the Florida breeding and racing industry, with a pair of seven-figure juveniles set to join the barns of trainers based in the state.

“I think what it shows is that Florida is still loaded with quality horses and quality horsemen,” Wojciechowski said.

It was the second year in a row that Zedan has walked away with the top-priced horse at the March sale. The Saudi businessman purchased subsequent Grade I winner Muth (Good Magic) for $2 million last year.

The end results of the March sale continued to show a polarization in the market.

“This year, we had a lot of horses in that middle market over the first couple of days and it's been a little tough,” admitted consignor David Scanlon. “Overall, the market has been a little bit challenging. When everything lines up, you get rewarded. Really rewarded. But the other ones that you need $100,000 for, it's been a struggle. You have to be realistic and set your reserves right. It keeps you humble.”

Farrell speculated buyers in the middle market may be taking a wait-and-see approach to the juvenile sales season.

“It's becoming increasingly the same,” she said. “The top horses are definitely gathering momentum and there is a little bit of a dearth in the rest of the market. But I think it's also because it is the first sale of the season, so some people are sitting on their hands a little bit for a lower-level horse now. They are saying, 'Well, April is coming up and there are 1,200 horses, maybe we could find the same for less.' But maybe they won't. I think that is the dilemma that everyone is facing.”

De Meric Sales was the leading consignor at the March sale, with 40 sold for $6,595,100, followed by Wavertree Stables with 14 sold for $4,960,000.

Hideyuki Mori was the sale's leading buyer. The Japanese trainer signed for 10 horses for $2,695,000.

Homebred Success for Ocala Stud

“I am absolutely speechless,” Ocala Stud's David O'Farrell said after watching the operation's homebred filly (hip 788) from the first crop of Win Win Win sell for a sale-topping $1.8 million to Amr Zedan Thursday at OBS. “I don't know whether to laugh or cry. It's incredible.”

O'Farrell knew the filly was special even before the striking bay turned in her track-record equaling :20 1/5 work during last week's under-tack preview.

“We weren't totally surprised,” O'Farrell said after watching the filly sell. “She prepped extremely well, all completely on her own. I didn't tell people what the prep time was because I don't think they would believe me. But I was super excited coming into the breeze show because I knew she was special and we were expecting that kind of breeze from her.”

David O'Farrell | Photos by Z

O'Farrell continued, “She is just a special filly. The fastest that we've had and we've been doing these 2-year-old sales a long time. She has just been a spectacular filly. She performed every time that we sent her out to the racetrack and she came back beautifully and the sky is the limit for her.”

Bred and campaigned by Live Oak Plantation, Win Win Win (Hat Trick {Jpn}) won the 2020 GI Forego S. He stands at Ocala Stud for $5,000.

“We are super excited about the stallion,” O'Farrell said. “We love what we are seeing. We have more to come in the later sales and later crops and we think he has a huge future.”

Ocala Stud has grown a reputation as launching pad for stallions to begin their careers in Central Florida before making the trek north to Kentucky. Recent stallions to take that path include Girvin and Kantharos.

“To recruit the stallion [Win Win Win] and bring on great partners in Live Oak, who bred and raced the horse, and also Airdrie Stud is a partner and to support him heavily and to carry him all the way to the 2-year-old sales for our own crop, is super rewarding,” O'Farrell said. “And to get him off to a great start, we couldn't be happier about his prospects.”

Asked what he was seeing in the stallion's first crops, O'Farrell said, “Just a ton of athleticism, super versatile, good-looking horses with big rear ends. Very smart, very quick and very athletic.”

The topping Win Win Win filly | Photos by Z/Joe DiOrio

The $1.8-million juvenile is from the same family that has put her breeder on the GI Kentucky Derby trail this year with GIII Holy Bull S. winner Hades (Awesome Slew). Ocala Stud purchased the filly's second dam, Lady Discreet (Boundary), for $45,000 from the E. P. Robsham dispersal at the 2004 OBS October sale.

Lady Discreet produced The Shady Lady (Quality Road) in 2013 and that unraced mare is the dam of Hades. Two years later, the mare produced Unanimity (Union Rags), the dam of hip 788, who RNA'd for $65,000 at the 2017 OBS March sale and was winless in three starts for the O'Farrells.

Unanimity produced a colt by Gretzky the Great this year. She also has a yearling colt by Win Win Win. @JessMartiniTDN

Wow Wow Wow

Moments before Hip 788 was to stroll into the OBS sales ring, the buzz began to intensify. Ocala Stud's daughter of Win Win Win was certainly no secret following a sparkling quarter-mile display in :20.1 last Saturday. With the bids coming hard and fast from several points in the pavilion, the price quickly surpassed the seven-figure mark and the volleys didn't seem to be slowing down any time soon. When the dust had settled, it was Donato Lanni–bidding on behalf of Amr Zedan–who held the hot draw, securing the filly for $1.8 million.

“Nothing surprises me at these sales anymore,” said Lanni. “Everyone knew she was the best. I'm just happy we got her.”

Donato Lanni | Photos by Z

He continued, “You come to a sale like this every year and you never know what you are going to see. That's what's great about the 2-year-old sales, there are some horses that just do things that are out of the ordinary. Everyone witnessed that she had a breeze that was unbelievable. And she did the same thing the week before.”

According to Lanni, the Florida-bred filly will head west to join Zedan's regular trainer, Bob Baffert.

'She is a cool filly,” Lanni said. “Every time I saw her, she was out of her stall. She just took it all in stride. She was easy to like.”

A member of the first crop of the Ocala Stud-based sire Win Win Win, the Mar. 9 foal is a daughter of the unplaced mare Unanimity (Union Rags), herself out of Lady Discreet (Boundary)–a half-sister to Grade I winners Discreet Cat and Discreetly Mine. The juvenile's 9-year-old dam, who is a half-sister to SW and GSP Courtesan (Street Sense) and SW Chary (Montbrook), RNA'd for $65,000 at this venue in 2017.

“We always come to the sales and look at horses by sires that are a bit obscure or haven't had a runner yet,” explained Lanni. “What's great is that you never know where the good ones will come from.”

With Ocala Stud's influence running through the March sale's topper top and bottom, Lanni was clearly impressed with the operation.

“She comes from a great outfit and they are honest people and I trust them,” he underscored. “And when they breeze one, you never really see one like that. She was special.”

When asked if this was his first Win Win Win purchase, Lanni quipped, “I hope she's a win win win.”  @CBossTDN

Authentic Colt Brings a Cool Million

A colt from the first crop of GI Kentucky Derby winner Authentic (hip 601) provided a jolt to the early stages of Thursday's final session of the OBS March sale when selling for $1 million to an online bid from John Stewart's Resolute Bloodstock. Consigned by Hartley/DeRenzo Thoroughbreds, the chestnut worked a furlong last week in :9 4/5. Randy Hartley and Dean DeRenzo's operation purchased the colt for $260,000 at last year's Keeneland September sale.

“Absolutely stunning physical,” Resolute's Gavin O'Connor said. “His breeze was so fluent and he looked fantastic going a fast time.”

Hip 601 | Photos by Z

The juvenile is out of stakes-placed Ruby Trust (Smart Strike), a daughter of graded winner Queen of the Catsle (Tale of the Cat).

“The cross through Authentic with Into Mischief over Smart Strike and his overall physical would make him a standout in any stallion barn in Kentucky,” O'Connor said.

Resolute Bloodstock purchased five juveniles during the OBS March sale, including a $525,000 daughter of American Pharoah (hip 370) and a $500,000 filly by Munnings (hip 453).

The result was the first million-dollar sale for Authentic, winner of the 2020 Derby and GI Breeders' Cup Classic. The Spendthrift stallion was represented by a $900,000 colt at last year's Keeneland September sale, as well two $875,000 sons at that sale and a third at the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga sale.

Hartley and DeRenzo, who sold the $1.5-million Not This Time colt during Wednesday's session of the March sale, came back later Thursday to sell a filly by Uncle Mo (hip 681) for $600,000 to Seth Morris, as agent for Hit the Bid Stables. The bay was a $290,000 Fasig-Tipton July purchase last summer.  @JessMartiniTDN

Bernardini Filly to Speedway

A filly by Bernardini (hip 613) will be joining Peter Fluor and K.C. Weiner's Speedway Stables after bloodstock agent Marette Farrell went to $875,000 to acquire the juvenile from the de Meric Sales consignment early in Thursday's final session of the OBS March sale.

Marette Farrell | Photos by Z

“She's a beautiful filly,” Farrell said. “Both Peter Fluor and K.C. Weiner were here themselves and they really liked her. And we love the fact she is by Bernardini. She traces to a really good family.”

The juvenile is out of graded-placed Salamera (Successful Appeal) and from the family of Grade I runners Piedi Bianchi and Outadore. She was bred by the Eisamans' Eico Ventures, which purchased the mare for $300,000 at the 2016 Keeneland November sale.

“She looks super athletic and we think she will come around quickly and they will have a lot of fun with her,” Farrell said of the filly who worked a furlong last week in :10 flat.

During Wednesday's second session of the auction, Farrell purchased a colt by Mitole for $725,000 on behalf of Speedway. Both juveniles will be trained by Bob Baffert. @JessMartiniTDN

Mori Extends to $800k for Son of Constitution

Ever present at North America's major sales in his trademark red jacket, Hideyuki Mori landed a son of Constitution for $800,000 early in Thursday's session at OBS. Consigned by Scanlon Training and Sales, Hip 617 breezed an eighth of a mile in :9.4 last week.

“He liked the build of the horse and of course, the most important factor was his performance on the track,” said Hideyuki Mori through an interpreter. “You get good value for the horses here. They are nice and inexpensive. In Japan, the horses are nice too, but expensive. They are also very nice here, but more affordable. That's why he keeps coming back.”

Hideyuki Mori | Photos by Z

Bred by Don Alberto, the chestnut is out of Argentine multiple group winner Sand Puce (Arg) (Footstepsinthesand).

“The intention is to get these horses to the races as early as possible. His horses usually make their debuts early, which is why they can go on to be successful. They're ready to return at three and then target group company. That's how he likes to train the horses he buys here.”

The Mar. 23 foal RNA'd for $385,000 at the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga Select Sale last summer. A full-brother to the colt, Burden of Proof, sold for $700,000 in Saratoga in 2022.

“He was training really well coming in here,” said David Scanlon. “Constitution has also been doing really well, his horses have been doing well. He has proven to show horses getting ready for Classic races. Based on the pedigree and the strength of his work, he was rewarded.

“He walked well, he breezed well and is out of a hard-knocking mare. There was a lot of interest in him from all the right parties, so everything lined up.”

Also during Thursday's session, Scanlon sold Hip 641, a colt by Liam's Map, for $500,000 to MyRacehorse. @CBossTDN

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