$400K Twirling Candy Filly Sets the Pace at OBS June Sale Thursday

Hip 509, the Twirling Candy OBS June Thursday topper | Judit Seipert


OCALA, FL – The Ocala Breeders' Sales Company's June Sale of 2-Year-Olds in Training continued its steady course Thursday, with figures through two of the auction's three sessions in line with its 2023 statistics.

During two sessions, 384 juveniles have sold for $14,402,900, with the average of $37,508 ticking up 3.1% from a year ago and the median remaining steady at $20,000. With 125 horses reported not sold, the buy-back rate was 24.6%.

Through two sessions a year ago, 410 juveniles had grossed $14,922,600 for an average of $36,397. The buy-back rate was 21.9%.

For the second day in a row, the session was topped by a $400,000 filly from the Tom McCrocklin's consignment. Thursday's top offering was a Twirling Candy full-sister to GI Preakness S. winner Rombauer who was purchased by John Stewart's Resolute Bloodstock.

Despite the two session toppers, McCrocklin admitted the June market was “tenuous.”

“It's tough,” McCrocklin said. “I am of the opinion we might be getting into a little sales fatigue, a little financial fatigue. You know when you've been at the mall since March and your credit just went over the limit and it's time to go home. I think a lot of buyers feel that way right now.”

The record rain fall in South Florida this week may have kept some potential buyers away, McCrocklin added.

“Unfortunately, they had historic rain in Miami yesterday, so I don't think anybody came up from Gulfstream,” he said. “I don't know that they would have come in anyway, but that sure didn't help. It's June and it's hot and it's a lot of work. You have to really be motivated to be here and buying horses. Having said that, there is some tremendous value here. For people who are skeptical, there is some tremendous value at OBS June. There really is. I told somebody earlier, you could buy a racing stable here and come out ok. I'd like for them to consider that going forward.”

McCrocklin added, “We've done very well and we are very grateful to the people who bought our horses, but it is tough right now.”

Hartley/DeRenzo Thoroughbreds consigned Thursday's second-highest priced offering, a filly by Justify who was purchased by Tom Durant for $310,000.

Randy Hartley | Photos by Z

“The market just seems saturated,” Randy Hartley said. “We have how many Thoroughbreds that were born this year? Say 16,000 to 17,000. When I started there was 40,000. And now you have 6,000 or 7,000 going to the yearling sale and 3,000 are coming here now. There used to be maybe 1,000–there were 300 horses in the sale, we didn't have a June sale then. I feel like the market is changing a little bit. How you get more people in, I don't know.

“The yearling sales are probably going to be good, because those people who have a gazillion dollars, they don't care about buying one. But it's the guy who has $100,000 and his wife says no, maybe you shouldn't spend that $100,000–that's who we are missing.”

Hartley theorized that the added technology available to buyers at the 2-year-old sales may be hindering the market.

“I know modern technology is a good thing, but I feel like now it's gotten out of hand,” he said. “Now with the videos walking, videos breezing, the pictures, the gallop-out times, the breeze times, there are seven things and chances are something is going to come up on one of those things. Versus coming here and just going with your gut. I think Bob Baffert is the best horse picker there is in the world because he picks his own horses. He's a gut-feel buyer. I think when you see something yourself [in person] versus just flipping through, sometimes you see something you might not have liked otherwise. I think technology is great, but at the end of the day, I think you have to go with your gut.”

The OBS June sale concludes Friday with a session beginning at 10 a.m.

Twirling Candy Filly to Resolute

A Twirling Candy full-sister to GI Preakness S. winner Rombauer (hip 509) matched the top price of Wednesday's opening session when bringing a final online bid of $400,000 from John Stewart's Resolute Bloodstock Thursday in Ocala. Like Wednesday's session topper, a daughter of Tiz the Law, the juvenile had RNA'd at the OBS Spring sale, worked a quarter-mile in a bullet :20 2/5 during last week's under-tack preview, and was consigned by Tom McCrocklin.

“She has the pedigree and the residual value is there,” Resolute's Gavin O'Connor said of the filly's appeal. “At that price, she made a lot of sense. She looked very clean and comfortable going in :20 2/5 and she galloped out well. The pitch was that we would have a go at her and basically, as good as she made it look and as comfortable as she was, with the residual value of the pedigree, she looked like the right acquisition for Resolute Racing. We were delighted to get her at that price.”

The filly, bred by John and Diane Fradkin, RNA'd for $570,000 as a weanling at the 2022 Fasig-Tipton November sale and again for $225,000 as a yearling at last year's Keeneland September sale before selling to Mustang Farm for $140,000 at the Fasig-Tipton October sale. She worked a furlong in :10 flat before RNA'ing for $285,000 at the OBS Spring sale in April.

“We didn't see her in April,” O'Connor said. “But her work this time just looked a little bit more clear and concise. She had obviously come on from April.”

Resolute purchased five horses at the OBS March sale, led by a $1-million son of Authentic. The operation now has some two dozen 2-year-olds on its roster with a group of yearlings waiting in the wings for next racing season.

John Stewart in the winner's circle last weekend with Didia | Sarah Andrew

“I know the boss is keen to build out many more active racers, so we can have more of a presence on the big days within the racing calendar,” O'Connor said. “So we are slowly, but surely, getting there and we've got another 14 or 15 yearlings to break next year to add to the racing stable as well. And we are always open to ready-made racers as well.”

O'Connor said no trainer had yet been picked out for the filly.

Among Resolute's March purchases was a $500,000 daughter of Munnings, who like hip 509, was consigned by McCrocklin.

“I am very happy Resolute bought her,” McCrocklin said of Thursday's purchase. “We sold them a Munnings filly in the March sale, so they must be happy with how she came out of the sale. We need more people like Mr. Stewart to be in the game, supporting the industry, so it's a good result and we are really happy. We think she is a genuinely nice filly.”

McCrocklin admitted having a pair of fillies bring $400,000 at the June sale after RNA'ing at the April sale was a definite longshot.

“It's like the quote from Dumb and Dumber, 'One in a million,'” he said with a laugh. “It's highly unlikely. It's difficult to do. And all the credit goes to the horses.”

Justify Filly to Durant

A filly by Justify (hip 624) will join Tom Durant's Midwest-based stable after selling for $310,000 during Thursday's second session of the OBS June sale. The bay is out of Etching (Paynter), a daughter of GI Kentucky Oaks winner Summerly (Summer Squall). She was consigned by Hartley/DeRenzo Thoroughbreds, which purchased her for $275,000 at Keeneland last September.

“Tom saw her breeze and he loved her,” said Randy Hartley. “He's a good client of mine and he asked me what I thought about her. I told him she's a nice filly. We had her in the last sale and she worked in :10 flat and the sales people just didn't get on her. They got on the other fillies more than her. She came back and worked excellent. Tom loves Justify and she's a filly with a nice pedigree. She's going to Texas and he's going to race her out there. He will win some stakes with her and he will have a nice little mare for down the road.”

Smullen on the Board at OBS

Heather Smullen, who celebrated her first win as a trainer at the end of May at Gulfstream, was in action building up her stable at OBS Thursday where she purchased a colt by Win Win Win (hip 377) for $6,000.

Heather Smullen aboard Tiz the Law in 2020 | Sarah Andrew

“I have some people who just want to buy in portions,” Smullen said. “Ideally, I would love to pick up more clients up here and get a couple of nice 2-year-olds.”

Consigned by Ocala Stud, hip 377 is out of Adios Annie (Adios Charlie), a half-sister to Grade I-placed Candrea (Trippi).

“He was just a value play,” Smullen said. “He is a nice little horse with a nice stride on him. And he's a Florida-bred, so he fits in down there. I really like the Win Win Wins. He's late to mature, so he has some growing to do, but that's okay.”

Smullen has served as an assistant trainer for Arindel Farms and to trainers Dale Romans and Phil Serpe. She currently has 15 horses in her South Florida-based stable, which has been dealing with historic rains this week.

“All of Gulfstream had issues with the rain, but you just handle it,” she said. “We found dry stalls and put them in the dry stalls and carry on.”

Smullen will continue shopping into the last session of the June sale Friday.

“If anyone has anything they want to buy themselves and want to send down, I'd love to have more,” Smullen said.

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