$775K Caracaro Filly Tops Solid OBS Spring Opener

Session-topping hip 199 | Judit Seipert

by Jessica Martini & Stefanie Grimm

OCALA, FL – While it took some time to find its stride, the first session of the Ocala Breeders' Sales Company's Spring Sale of 2-Year-Olds in Training gained momentum throughout the day and concluded with figures in line with the first session of its record-setting 2023 renewal.

“I thought it was a good day,” said OBS Director of Sales Tod Wojciechowski. “A good horse sells well and I thought we had a lot of nice horses today. Holding true to last year, that's a great start to the week. Obviously, there are a lot of nice horses left to come.”

From a catalogue of 302 juveniles, 205 horses went through the ring Tuesday for a gross of $19,725,000. The average of $136,034 was right on par with the 2023 figure of $136,665, while the median of $87,000 rose 16% from a year ago.

With 60 horses reported not sold, the buy-back rate was 29.3%.

The auction's first hour included a number of RNA's as the Spring Sale settled into rhythm and many of them were getting sold Tuesday evening after bidding had stopped for the evening.

“I think some of that was the sale just getting started,” Wojciechowski said of the measured start to the sale. “I think a little bit of that maybe getting their feet wet, getting their sea legs. I wouldn't be surprised to see a number of those horses getting sold in the post-sale setting here pretty quick.”

Bloodstock agent Donato Lanni and trainer Bob Baffert purchased the session's top-priced lot, going to $775,000 for a filly by Caracaro on behalf of Mike Pegram, Karl Watson and Paul Weitman. The filly was consigned by Global Thoroughbreds.

Pedro Lantz, bidding on behalf of KAS Stables, purchased the session's top-priced colt, a son of Global Campaign, for $650,000. The juvenile was consigned by Eddie Woods, who was the session's leading consignor with nine sold for $2,213,500.

The OBS Spring sale continues through Friday with sessions beginning daily at 10:30 a.m.

Three Amigos Strike for Caracaro Filly

A filly from the first crop of Grade I-placed Caracaro (hip 199) turned heads with a quarter-mile work in :20 2/5 during last week's under-tack show and she duly delivered in the sales ring Tuesday when selling for session-topping $775,000. Bloodstock agent Donato Lanni, alongside trainer Bob Baffert, handled bidding out back of the pavilion to acquire the speedy filly on behalf of Mike Pegram, Karl Watson and Paul Weitman. She was consigned by Global Thoroughbreds and was bred by the consignment's Rafael Celis.

The Caracaro filly's work last week | Judit Seipert

“We are happy to get her,” Lanni said. “She did everything she was asked to do. She went fast, came back great.”

The filly is out of Key d'Oro (Medaglia d'Oro), a half-sister to stakes-placed Twirled (Twirling Candy).

Caracaro, who was second in the 2020 GI Travers S. and GIII Peter Pan S., stands at Crestwood Farm for $6,500.

“He is throwing a beautiful athletic horse,” Lanni said of the stallion's first crop of foals. “You see a lot of Uncle Mo's influence.” @JessMartiniTDN

Caracaro Keeps Rewarding Celis

Caracaro is the stallion who keeps giving for Rafael Celis, who campaigned the bay in partnership with Lucas Noriego's Top Racing. After watching his homebred filly from the first crop of Caracaro sell for $775,000 at OBS Tuesday, the native of Venezuela was beaming with pride.

Rafael Celis and family | Jessica Martini

“That was our best filly in the whole program,” Celis said. “We had high expectations for her. She's by Caracaro, who is our stallion that we own with Crestwood Farm. We were really excited about her. She had been doing well all the way in training. We weren't sure if we should work her a furlong or a quarter, but she prepped really nice and we decided to go a quarter. She was really fast and the gallop out was really strong. She went out in :44 and :59, which was very good.”

Celis purchased Caracaro for $95,000 as a weanling at the 2017 Keeneland November sale. He admitted he almost had the horse sold as a 2-year-old in 2019.

“In our program, we buy weanlings and take them to the 2-year-old sales,” Celis said. “That's what we do. I almost had him sold, but he had an issue and we got him back after we sold him. So we decided to race him.”

In the COVID-delayed season of 2020, Caracaro broke his maiden by six lengths at Gulfstream Park in January and returned to just miss when second behind Country Grammer in the GIII Peter Pan S. in July. He was second behind Tiz the Law in the GI Travers S. in what proved to be his final career start.

“We qualified for the Kentucky Derby, but we couldn't make it because he had a problem with his suspensory,” Celis said. “We couldn't race in the Derby, so we went shopping around to see who wanted him as a stallion. The Crestwood people were open and we made a deal with them.”

While Celis has just 10 broodmares in the U.S., his family has plenty of experience in the breeding industry.

“We have a breeding farm in Venezuela,” he said. “So we have been in the horse business for 50 years. The name of Caracaro is actually the name of our farm in Venezuela, which my father, who passed away, named and that's why we named the horse Caracaro.”

Celis will offer two more juveniles by Caracaro this spring and has an additional 10 yearlings for next year. But he won't completely divest his foals by the stallion.

“We are going to keep two for racing,” he said. @JessMartiniTDN

Global Campaign Colt Sells To KAS Stables

Hip 291, a colt consigned by Eddie Woods, Agent III from the first crop of WinStar's Global Campaign, may be bound for Saudi Arabia after bringing a final bid of $650,000 from Pedro Lantz, acting as agent for KAS Stables. Selling late in Tuesday's session, the colt impressed Lantz not only during his :10 breeze last week but also as a yearling at OBS last October.

Global Campaign | Sarah Andrew

“I tried to buy this horse as a yearling at OBS October [last year]. And I saw his breeze–he has spectacular action and a very fluid stride.”

Buying for Saudi Arabia-based KSA Stables, Lantz noted that the colt may ship overseas but could also stay in America as KSA is looking to expand their operation. By Global Campaign, who is represented by his first 2-year-olds this year, the colt's price exceeded Lantz's expectations.

“I was expecting four [hundred thousand], maybe five [hundred thousand] but people are paying and everyone is on the same horses. So I told them [KSA Stables] to be prepared for at least five [hundred thousand] because the horse [vetted] clean and was about perfect.”

Lantz was busy throughout the day, also picking up hip 195, a filly by Nyquist also from the Eddie Woods consignment for KAS Stables bound for Saudi Arabia, and looks to stay busy throughout the remainder of the week.

“This is a sale that you can get a good horse,” Lantz continued. “I expect to go for [a few] more horses this week. There are a lot of nice horses–in the final two days especially.” @SGrimmTDN

Uncle Mo Filly to Coolmore

A filly by Uncle Mo (hip 166) jumped to the top midway through the session at OBS Tuesday when selling for $600,000 to Justin Casse, who was bidding on behalf of Coolmore's M.V. Magnier. The bay, who was consigned by Tom McCrocklin, worked a quarter-mile last week in :20 3/5. She is out of graded winner Jacaranda (Congrats), who is a half-sister to Constitution and is the dam of Grade I-placed Be You (Curlin) and stakes-placed American West (Curlin).

Justin Casse at OBS in March | Photos by Z

“She is extremely attractive,” Casse said of the filly. “It's a lovely family. The dam is a half-sister to Constitution. She's an Uncle Mo filly, everything you would want from a nice female family sire line and possible future broodmare prospect.”

McCrocklin purchased the filly for $380,000 on behalf of Michael Sucher's Champion Equine at the Fasig-Tipton October sale last fall.

Of the filly's final price tag Tuesday, Casse said, “I thought she was one of the best fillies here, so it was good to get in at that price. I haven't seen what the rest of the sale has been like, I know it's early, but we are happy to get her.” @JessMartiniTDN

Spendthrift Partners Up on Nyquist Colt

A third of the way through Tuesday's opening session, Spendthrift Farms's Ned Toffey started the action off, going to $550,000 for a colt (hip 125) by GI Kentucky Derby winner Nyquist. Bred in Maryland by Bowman and Higgins Stable, the colt was purchased as a yearling for a sale-topping $205,000 by Thorostock & Seth Morris Thoroughbreds at last year's Fasig-Tipton Midlantic Fall Yearling Sale and is out of a winning half-sister to the dam of MGISW and young Spendthrift sire Cyberknife (Gun Runner).

Ned Toffey | Spendthrift

“He was hard to miss,” said Toffey after signing the ticket. “He's a big, beautiful colt and [we] had him identified based off his breeze. I love the sire and he's just a big, athletic-looking horse.”

Toffey confirmed that the colt, who worked in :10,  will head west to race in partnership with MKW Racing and Breeding LLC.

“He'll go back to Spendthrift to get a little bit of a break and then we'll send him out to Richard Mandella.” @SGrimmTDN

Maryland Sale Topper Shines at OBS

A Maryland-bred son of Nyquist (hip 125) brought the top price of last year's Fasig-Tipton Midlantic Fall Yearling Sale when bringing a final bid of $205,000 from Thorostock and Seth Morris Thoroughbreds and he helped kick start the OBS Spring sale Tuesday when selling for $550,000 to Spendthrift Farm/MKW Racing and Breeding.

“He was an extraordinarily well-balanced, good-minded horse,” Thorostock's Nick Sallusto said after sending the colt through the ring Tuesday. “He had almost perfect conformation. He was really typical of Nyquist. We felt really lucky the day we found him.”

Nyquist | Sarah Andrew

Sallusto continued, “At the time, Nyquist wasn't as fashionable as he is right now. But I have long been a fan of his. I just felt he was a lot of horse at that particular sale and I wasn't sure I would be able to get him.”

The juvenile worked a furlong during last week's under-tack show in :10 flat.

“He's really advanced since [October],” Sallusto said. “He is a later foal, so we knew he had plenty of advancement left in him. And he still does. He has so much more to go. He has put every foot forward the right way. He never had a day of missed training. He was a lovely horse.” @JessMartiniTDN

Omaha Beach Filly Brings $390,000 For JVC Training And Sales

JVC Training and Sales's Jorge Villagomez saw a good return on investment when the Omaha Beach filly (hip 127) he purchased for clients for $40,000 at Keeneland September last year brought a final bid of $390,000 from Woodford Thoroughbreds during Tuesday's session.

“Her particularly, she's been special for a long time,” said Villagomez. “They say the cream always rises to the top and she was always very fast so it's no surprise that she came over here and did what she did.”

Omaha Beach | Spendthrift/Autry Graham

After working in :10, hip 127 stayed busy throughout the lead up to the sale.

Villagomez continued: “She had a ton of activity–almost an overwhelming amount. She was shown over 100 times and got plenty of attention [from vettings]. We're not at all surprised that she brought the kind of money she did. [Her breeze] was exceptional and everyone was on her.”

Early in the sale, Villagomez, who will sell three more hips later in the week, was cautiously optimistic on his expectations.

“For the good horses? The buyers are here. They're here for horses that breeze well and [vet] well. The rest of [the horses] will be hit or miss. But I don't think anyone will have a problem selling a good horse.” @SGrimmTDN

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