by Jessica Martini & Christina Bossinakis
OCALA, FL-The Ocala Breeders' Sales Company's March 2-Year-Olds in Training Sale, which had four million-dollar juveniles a year ago, has matched that mark with another day to go as a colt by Good Magic topped Tuesday's trade with a sale co-record final price of $2 million. Bob Baffert, sitting in the press box alongside Donato Lanni while on the phone with Amr Zedan, made the winning bid, which matched the $2-million price tag of Chestertown (Tapit), who sold at the auction in 2019.
“It was a good day,” said OBS Director of Sales Tod Wojciechowski. “We equaled a March sale record and there were two other million-dollar sales. It shows that consignors are not afraid to bring a nice horse to the March sale. They know they can get the money for them.”
OBS president Tom Ventura added, “And the horses' race records is what brings the buyers back, so it's a good combination.”
Through two sessions, OBS has sold 293 head for a gross of $46,044,500. The two-day average of $157,148 is up 17.8% from last year's two-day auction, while the median is up 13.3% to $85,000.
With 110 horses reported not sold during the two sessions, the buy-back rate of 27.3% continued to be well ahead of last year's figure of 13.7%.
“The good horses are selling well, and some of them may be even over-selling,” consignor Eddie Woods said. “There are a lot of very average horses here and they are bringing what they are supposed to bring. Just because they go really quick doesn't mean they are nice. So when the whole package shows up and it vets well and it looks and acts like a runner, the money shows up.”
The OBS March sale concludes with a final session beginning at 11 a.m. Wednesday.
$2-Million Good Magic Colt Lights Up OBS
Bob Baffert sat in the press box on the phone with Saudi businessman Amr Zedan as Donato Lanni handled the bidding, ultimately securing a colt by Good Magic (hip 546) for $2 million late in Tuesday's second session of the OBS March sale. The bay colt, who turned heads with a :9 3/5 furlong work followed by a monster gallop-out during last week's under-tack preview, was consigned by Torie and Jimbo Gladwell's Top Line Sales.
“I kind of expected it because good horses command good prices and he was a standout,” Zedan said by phone Tuesday. “We were just waiting for this moment to come to get the opportunity to bid for him. He demonstrated an amazing breeze and he looked the part. And most importantly, Bob just fell in love with him. Donato flagged the horse. Bob–we call him the boss–arrived and he basically loved what he saw. We huddled up and the rest you know.”
Zedan was asked if either he or Baffert had hesitated at any point in the bidding as they saw off every volley of trainer Steve Asmussen, who sat in the pavilion on the phone.
“Not at all,” Zedan said. “It's very difficult to find this quality of horse. And if there is a horse that we like, our motto is we stop when we own him. I think we've demonstrated that in the past. I don't mean to come across as arrogant, but good horses command a premium and that's what it takes to get winners. Let's just hope he demonstrates that on the racetrack and he makes us all proud.”
The colt's attributes were in plain sight, according to Lanni.
“Everybody saw what he did,” Lanni said. “You come to the sales long enough, you see few horses do what he did. His breeze was extraordinary and how he came back from his breeze and how he handled himself. We are here to buy the top-end horses and he was one of the top-end horses, I believe. He did everything right.”
Zedan has made no secret that his goal in racing is to win the Kentucky Derby.
“Absolutely,” he confirmed. “That's the dream. That's our program. We start with the Derby in any given year, and we work backwards.” @JessMartiniTDN
More Magic for Gladwells
Torie and Jimbo Gladwell had already had success with a son of Good Magic at this OBS March sale–selling a colt by the champion for $725,000 during Monday's first day of the auction–but that result proved just a warm-up for the Top Line Sales team which watched as the colt the family's pinhooking partnership purchased for $190,000 at last year's Keeneland September sale sold for an eye-popping $2 million to Amr Zedan.
“I could cry, easy,” Jimbo Gladwell admitted after watching the colt sell. “We are just thrilled. It's just an unbelievable result.”
Zedan has made a habit of purchasing seven-figure juveniles out of the Top Line consignment. He gave the Gladwells their first million-dollar sale when buying future Grade I winner Princess Noor (Not This Time) for $1.35 million at the 2020 OBS April sale and he acquired this year's GIII Southwest S. winner Arabian Knight (Uncle Mo) for $2.3 million at OBS last April.
“This game is not easy by any means,” Torie Gladwell said. “Every day you wake up knowing something is not going to go right. We just pray every day that we have good luck. And we have a very good team behind us. We are very blessed.”
The $2-million juvenile, bred by Don Alberto Corporation, is the first foal out of Hoppa (Uncle Mo), a 7-year-old mare who won once in just three starts for the Solari family's operation.
“We took a shot buying that horse at the Keeneland sale,” Torie Gladwell said. “He was a little light on page, but his physical is just an 11+–that horse is just amazing on the shank. Good Magic was kind of so-so at the time that we purchased the horse. So we took a little bit of a risk. Good Magic is hot right now and the horse just bloomed into an amazing athlete. He is an average-sized horse, but he has a huge stride. And he does it so effortlessly. He is just a machine on the track. It will be fun to watch him progress.”
Don Alberto purchased the mare Handoverthecat (Tale of the Cat), with Hoppa in utero, for $170,000 at the 2015 Keeneland November sale. The mare produced a filly by Violence last year and was bred back to Tacitus. @JessMartiniTDN
Arrogate Colt Heads to Japan
A colt by Arrogate (hip 489), who topped last year's Fasig-Tipton New York-bred Yearlings sale when selling for $700,000 just days after his full-brother Cave Rock debuted with a 'TDN Rising Star'-worthy victory, will be heading to Japan after selling for $1.05 million to the bid of Northern Farm's Shingo Hashimoto.
“Obviously, I thought he was the best horse in the sale,” Hashimoto said. “He's from the last crop of Arrogate. We are going to take him back to Japan.”
The dark bay colt is out of graded-stakes winner Georgie's Angel (Bellamy Road). Since the colt was purchased as a yearling last summer, Cave Rock has gone on to win the GI American Pharoah S. and GI Runhappy Del Mar Futurity and was second in the GI Breeders' Cup Juvenile.
Hip 489, who was consigned by Tom McCrocklin on behalf of Michael Sucher's Champion Equine, worked a quarter-mile last week in :21 1/5.
“The time itself wasn't fast,” Hashimoto said. “But he was very well balanced and he looked very attractive. When we saw him at the sales barn, he walked very nicely, which I liked a lot.”
Asked if expected the seven-figure price tag, Hashimoto said, “Yes. We were trying hard to buy yesterday and we couldn't end up with some of the good ones, so we are happy to get this good colt.” @JessMartiniTDN
Arrogate Pays for McCrocklin
After watching a colt by Arrogate he had purchased for $700,000 last August at the Fasig-Tipton New York-bred Yearling Sale bring a final bid of $1.05 million Tuesday in Ocala, bloodstock agent Tom McCrocklin said, “This is a success story.”
The colt was one of several high-end yearlings McCrocklin purchased last year on behalf of Michael Sucher's Champion Equine.
“It was a game plan that may not work consistently over time, but it worked today,” McCrocklin said. “I think we sold a very classy, Classic-type horse to some really good people. My goal is that he's a very good racehorse for them. The money comes and goes and pinhooking is a high wire act to begin with, but it feels really good when you bring a good, sound, beautiful horse to the sale and he is well-received and somebody takes him home. My end-goal is to sell those people a really good racehorse. It's not about me, it's about the horse and it's about the horse going forward.”
McCrocklin had more success with Arrogate just a few hips later when selling a filly by the late stallion for $950,000 to Lee Searing's CRK Stables. The filly, who worked a quarter-mile in :20 4/5 last week, was acquired on behalf of Champion Equine for $250,000 at last year's Keeneland September sale.
“Class and quality,” McCrocklin said when asked what he saw in Arrogate's offspring. “They are quality horses. And they show up when you need them to show up. And they sustain their weight and their mental toughness and they are extremely sound. They are very willing, genuine horses.” @JessMartiniTDN
Twirling Candy Colt Lights Up OBS
Solidly into Tuesday's session, the first juvenile of the day to realize seven figures lit up the board with a $1-million final bid for a son of Twirling Candy (Hip 433). Securing Hip 345–a filly by Bernardini–earlier in the day for $600,000, Sean Flanagan was back in action later to land the day's third-biggest prize. John Kimmel signed on the day's second-leading filly earlier in the session, while Jeff Mackor was on-hand to handle the signing duties on the son of the Lane's End stallion.
“I have always wanted a Twirling Candy–he's a fantastic sire,” said Flanagan, who was flanked by trainer Saffie Joseph, Jr. and Mackor during the bidding. “I didn't think he would go that high..but we're here having fun. That's the main thing.”
The Feb. 11 foal is out of GSP Divine Dawn (Divine Park), a full-sister to GSW and GISP Divine Miss Grey.
“I have a great team,” added Flanagan. “John Kimmel is a dear friend of mine and he also signed on a couple of them today. And Saffie will train all of them.”
Consigned by Eddie Woods, the colt breezed an eighth in :9.4 last week. Bred by International Equities, the grey was a $200,000 purchase at Keeneland last September.
“This horse is a magnificent horse,” said Woods. “He's been a lovely horse from the first day we worked him. He showed up every day and worked fantastic and he galloped out really well. We had a lot of the top-end people on him.”
He continued, “I didn't think he'd bring seven figures. I thought maybe he'd bring $750,000, if everyone went in on him. Twirling Candy is a very good stallion. But to say you're going to get a million might be a stretch. When you're dealing with Uncle Mo, Arrogate, Curlin, Into Mischief and all those fancy stallions, you can expect to get a million for some of them because it happens. But for this horse, I was just delighted. He's been a smart horse all year, he's found a good spot and I hope he's good to them.” @CBossTDN
Searing Gets His Arrogate Filly
Lee Searing of CRK Stables had his eye on a small group of horses, but he came away with his pick of the group when acquiring a filly by Arrogate (hip 526) for $950,000 Tuesday in Ocala. Consigned by Tom McCrocklin, the gray filly is out of graded-placed Heart of Paradise (More Than Ready). She worked a quarter-mile last week in :20 4/5.
“We came here to look at four or five horses,” Searing, who did his bidding while sitting alongside trainer John Shirreffs, said. “But we loved this horse from the minute she breezed to the time we bought her. She didn't turn a hair. And Arrogate is a top sire. It's such a shame he died.”
Searing was prepared for the filly's final price tag.
“I knew it,” he said with a rueful smile. “That was the horse. We bought one other one, but that was the horse [we wanted].”
CRK Stables has been represented over the years by Grade I winners Express Train, Switch, Beyond Brilliant and Honor A.P.
“It's always fun,” Searing said of Tuesday's bidding. “I've bought some expensive horses before, but when I can get John Shirreffs a really nice horse, it's really nice to be able to do it.” @JessMartiniTDN
Curlin Colt Brings $900K at OBS Tuesday
The fireworks continued late into the session with Hip 505, a colt by Curlin, realizing a $900,000 final bid. Terry Finley, situated out back, signed the ticket on behalf of a partnership between Talla Racing, Woodford Racing and West Point Thoroughbreds. Consigned by Al Davis's Old South Farm, the Florida-bred is out of GI Alcibiades S. winner Gomo (Uncle Mo). The colt will be trained by California-based John Sadler.
“He is a beautiful physical and is very well bred,” said Will Farish III, speaking on behalf of Ingordo Bloodstock. “We're really excited we had the chance to buy him.”
When asked about the price, he said, “We thought it would be somewhere in that range, and we were hoping it wasn't going to get out of control.”
He continued, “He was just an amazing mover. He looked great during the breeze and we went to see him a few times at the barn and we just loved the way he was walking.”
Bred by Bridlewood Farm, the bay was a $250,000 Keeneland September yearling purchase by Hoby Kight on behalf of Beryl 'Sonny' Stokes, who just passed away last week at age 89. According to Kight, Stoke's daughter Lauren is expected to take over her father's equine operation.
“I was expecting north of $500,000 by the amount of play at the barn and as well as he worked,” said Kight, who was visibly moved by the passing of his longtime friend. “He's such a beautiful horse with pedigree and everything went his way.”
He added, “I like to buy fast horses with pedigree. Every once in a while one falls in my lap. I try to scatter them out with good guys and I hope I come out with a runner.” @CbossTDN
Nyquist Colt to Ryan
Bloodstock agent Mike Ryan, bidding on behalf of an undisclosed client, purchased a colt by Nyquist (hip 472) for $600,000 during Tuesday's second session of the OBS March sale.
“I am very partial to Nyquist–I pinhooked him as a yearling to 2-year-old a number of years ago,” Ryan said. “He's a sire that we feel has tremendous upside potential. He has a couple Grade I winners in his first crop. And this colt is out of a very good mare–she won $600,000 on the dirt and was Grade I placed and a stakes winner in New York. This is a horse who is going to go two turns. That's what we are looking for, 1 1/8 miles and 1 1/4 miles, we hope he has that potential.”
The colt, consigned by Wavertree Stables, is out of Flora Dora (First Dude), who was third in the 2016 GI Coaching Club American Oaks. He was bred by Coffee Pot Stables and RNA'd for $185,000 at last year's Fasig-Tipton Saratoga sale.
Asked if a trainer had been picked out for the juvenile, Ryan said, “We are not sure. I will let the owner decide that.” @JessMartiniTDN
Flanagan Stays Active Day 2 at OBS
In addition to Tuesday's third highest-priced colt, Sean Flanagan also secured the session's second-leading filly, a daughter of Bernardini out of SW Cartwheelin Lulu (Bustin Stones). Consigned by Gene Recio, Hip 345 brought $600,000. Flanagan also purchased a filly by Midnight Lute (Hip 223) for $370,000 on Day 1.
“Gene had said to me what a nice filly she is,” explained John Kimmel. “And from a physical standpoint, she really looks the part. In this marketplace, even though it's a big price, it's kind of what you need to spend to acquire these kind of horses. I can't say anything other than at least he got himself a horse that's physically beautiful and very appealing and has the ability to be a nice 2-year-old with enough substance that can race on as a 3-year-old.”
Kimmel, acting as an agent for Flanagan at OBS, signed for both the Bernardini filly in addition to a colt by Laoban (Hip 168, $425,000) during Monday's session.
“To me he was a smacking, good-looking colt,” said Kimmel of Monday's purchase. “He looked like a racehorse and he was super clean, passed the vet and looked great on the racetrack. I was done at $300,000 and Sean carried it the rest of the way.”
He added, “He was also the underbidder on the Uncle Mo of Hartley/DeRenzo and he was the underbidder on Jimmy Gladwell's Good Magic colt [Monday]. But he's got a filly who would be a nice horse to add to his collection as a broodmare.” @CBossTDN
Vino Rosso Colt Reels in $550K on Day 2
In the waning moments Tuesday, Hip 544, a colt by Champion older horse Vino Rosso, brought $550,000, leading the Spendthrift stallion's offerings through the second day of selling. Purchased by Alex and JoAnn Lieblong, the colt was consigned by Brandon and Ali Rice's RiceHorse Stable.
“He looked like a 3-year-old among 2-year-olds,” said Alex Lieblong. “I really think Vino Rosso has a good shot at being a really good stallion. I liked the pedigree, but to me, the consignors count even more than that.”
When asked who the colt would go to, he said, “I haven't made up my mind yet who he will go to yet. I have two or three trainers, Norm Casse and Riley Mott, a couple of guys starting out, so I have to figure that one out now.”
He added with tongue firmly planted in cheek, “They're both on the plane home so they'll be arguing all the way home!”
The colt is out of the Smoke Glacken mare Hookah Lady, who is already responsible for multiple graded stakes winner Get Smokin (Get Stormy). This is also the family of female grass champion Dayatthespa (City Zip) and GSW Clev Er Tell (Tell).
The sale also represented a coup for Dr. David Suarez Fuentes, who was represented by his first yearling-to-2-year-old in training pinhook.
Explaining how his relationship began with the Rice family and his foray into the pinhooking game, the veterinary surgeon said, “I started pinhooking two years ago with [Dr. William] 'Bo' Rainbow, who introduced me to Brandon. But I have been around horses my whole life. My dream was always to be able to buy and sell horses.”
A $32,000 RNA at Keeneland November, the bay was secured for $35,000 at Keeneland last September by Establo Rafanil, Suarez Fuentes's family operation in Puerto Rico.
“He had some little things, but nothing major,” he said when asked about the bargain yearling price. “But he was beautiful and sound. After I looked at the horse and pedigree myself, and I looked at the scope since I'm my own vet, I made the decision to buy him.”
He continued, “Last year was the first time I was free to [physically] go to the sale to buy horses myself. I had been doing my residency the past few years which was very intensive. We didn't get many breaks. So, I was finally able to go to the sale and buy horses, and I selected this Vino Rosso colt.”
The Mar. 8 foal worked :9.4–the co-second fastest time for an eighth–during last week's breeze session.
“From the beginning, he looked like he would be a star by the way he looked and trained,” he said. “And the Rices have done an amazing job with him.”
Of the colt's sire, he added, “He was an amazing horse. Irad Ortiz, Jr. rode for us in Puerto Rico, so I followed Vino Rosso [ridden by Ortiz] from the beginning. That's why he was always at the front of my mind when I looked at the sale catalogues. I always looked for something by him.” @CBossTDN
Most of the stallions are already well established as either sires or on the racetrack (or both) by the time they make it onto the OBS catalogue page. Freshman sire Rogueish (Into Mischief), responsible for Hip 320, was clearly not among those. However, after the sole offering by the sire to sell drew a $220,000 final bid from Michael Sucher's Champion Equine LLC Tuesday, that may have all changed.
A $1,500 OBS Winter yearling purchase, the Apr. 3 foal returned to the ring to bring $50,000 from South Florida-based trainer Saffie Joseph, Jr. at OBS later in October. According to Joseph, he subsequently sold the son of Born to Jazz (Student Council) to a few of his partners, and they decided to run him through the sale to see if they could get a fair price. And if not, they were happy to keep him and put him in training.
Consigned under the Golden Rock Thoroughbreds banner, the Florida-bred worked an eighth in :10 flat during last week's breeze show.
“He's a big colt but he's also very forward,” said Joseph. “He's a big, good-looking horse. You would never think he should be doing what he's doing.”
The 2-year-old's sire, Rogueish, was trained by Steve Asmussen and campaigned by Ed and Krista Seltzer and Beverly Anderson. The son of GSW Verdana (Rahy), he sparkled in what would be his sole career start, a 6 3/4-length victory going six furlongs at Fair Grounds in the fall of 2018.
Retired after that due to injury, the Kentucky-bred took up stud duties at the owner's Solera Farm in Williston, Florida. The 7-year-old stands the current season for $2,500.
“I was introduced to him by Ed Seltzer, who I train for. When I saw the stallion at the farm, I looked at his record and saw that he had been trained by Steve Asmussen and he won his first start impressively. He was also by into Mischief, so I was very impressed by him,” said Joseph of the juvenile. “So when I went to the sale, I thought I could buy value by the stallion. He was obviously talented and had his career cut short by injury. I was intrigued by the horse.”
With 32 foals to his credit and 14 of racing age, the stallion was represented by six yearlings to sell in 2022 at an average of $18,783, while a total of eight weanlings averaged $22,437. Hip 320 was the stallion's highest priced sale last season. @CBossTDN
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