By Jessica Martini
OCALA, FL – The Ocala Breeders' Sales Company's June Sale of
2-Year-Olds continued the trend of strong results at this spring's juvenile sales with a day of competitive bidding Wednesday in Central Florida. Gary Young made the session's highest bid, going to $425,000 to acquire a filly by Practical Joke on behalf of owner Amr Zedan.
A total of 176 horses sold Wednesday for a gross of $7,268,400. The average was $41,298 and the median was $20,000. All figures were up from, not just the pandemic-delayed 2020 June sale, but also from the auction's 2019 renewal.
During the first session of the 2020 sale, 163 head sold for $5,037,800. The session average was $30,907 and the median was $13,000. In the first session of the 2019 June sale, 204 horses sold for $6,119,500 for an average of $29,998 and a median of $17,500.
Eighteen horses sold for six figures during Wednesday's session.
“I think the sales all year have been really strong, from March to Maryland, to here, everywhere has been really strong,” said Jimmy Gladwell, who sold the session topper through his son and daughter-in-law's Top Line Sales. “I think it's a reflection of what the market is. There is a lot of money out there and a shortage of horses. Everybody always says quality sells, but it's more so this year. The market has been really deep this year.”
Young said Wednesday's results confirm the evolution of the June sale
“I think the June sale is getting better,” Young said. “People don't find it necessary to gear these horses up as early as they used to. Like with this filly here today, if you bring the right product to this sale, you will get paid.”
The June sale continues through Friday with sessions beginning daily at 10:30 a.m.
Zedan Goes Back to the Top Line Well
Amr Zedan, who purchased subsequent Grade I winner Princess Noor (Not This Time) from the Top Line Sales consignment for $1.35 million at last year's OBS Spring sale, went back to the Gladwells' consignment to acquire a filly from the first crop of Practical Joke (hip 258) for a session-topping $425,000 at OBS Wednesday. Zedan's Racing Manager Gary Young made the winning bid on the chestnut, who worked a quarter-mile in a bullet :21 1/5 during last week's under-tack preview.
“I thought her breeze was unbelievable,” Young said. “She went in :10, :21, :33 and :45 1/5. The first part of the breeze was conducted with a pretty good tail wind, but the last the part of the breeze, when she started up the backstretch, there was a pretty strong headwind hitting her in the face. And she still went from :33 to :45 1/5 from the three-quarters pole to the five-eighths pole. And they needed a pony to pull her up.”
The filly is out of stakes-placed Devious d'Oro, a half-sister to graded winner Devious Intent (Dixie Union), and is bred on the same cross as recent 'TDN Rising Star' Wit.
“I went to the barn and she is a nice, big filly,” Young said. “I think she acts and looks like she'll be a really good 3-year-old. We are planning on running her as a 2-year-old, but she looks like a 3-year-old-type filly. She looks like she'll run long.”
He continued, “We had good luck with these people when we bought Princess Noor off them last year. Time will tell, but I thought she was the best horse in the sale.”
The filly was bred by White Fox Farm and was purchased by Jimmy and Martha Gladwell for $45,000 at last year's Keeneland September sale.
“The filly was really backwards when we bought her,” Jimmy Gladwell said. “She came from a farm that was selling everything. We looked at her and she was a big stretchy raw-boned filly who was backwards. When I went in to bid on her, I had to outbid my good friend David Ingordo and you always like to see buyers like that as the underbidders.”
The filly was originally entered at the April sale, but was withdrawn due to a throat infection.
“We really always believed in the filly all year–every morning I would tease in the viewing stand that this is my Oaks filly,” Gladwell said. “We didn't think she presented herself well [at April], so we took her home. We gave her a couple little works and brought her over here and she was just fabulous.”
Gladwell gave credit to his assistant trainer and daughter Nellie Breeden for preparing the filly and his son and daughter-in-law, Jimbo and Torie Gladwell, with presenting her at auction.
Of Wednesday's result, he said, “It's more than we really expected. The filly had worked so well and galloped out so well. But it's the June sale and you just never know what's going to happen.”
Jimbo and Torey Gladwell have enjoyed plenty of success with progeny of Practical Joke this spring. Top Line Sales sold a filly by Coolmore's first-crop sire for a sale-topping $750,000 at the OBS March sale and another filly by the sire for $500,000 at the Fasig-Tipton Gulfstream sale.
Young signed the $1.7-million ticket to acquire a colt by Gun Runner on behalf of Zedan at the Fasig-Tipton Gulfstream sale in March. Asked for an update on the juvenile, now named Taiba, Young said, “He is in training at Santa Anita with [Bob] Baffert. We'll probably look at a race at Del Mar for him. He is working well. He is not all there mentally, as far as focus, but he's been working with older horses. So we are very happy with him and we are looking forward to when the light comes on. We think we will have a very nice horse.”
Uncle Mo Filly to Lanni
“She's a big, strong filly,” Lanni said of the dark bay juvenile. “It looked like they gave her the time to get here. That's the good thing about June. There are horses here who look like they were given time if they weren't ready for an earlier sale. And I love that about the June sale. This filly wasn't pushed into a sale and they gave her the time. She's a cool filly.”
Consigned by Julie Davies, the dark bay filly is out of multiple stakes winner and multiple graded placed Brooklynsway (Giant Gizmo). She worked a furlong in :10 1/5 during last week's under-tack show.
Bred by Town & Country Horse Farms and Gary Broad, she was purchased by the latter for $180,000 at last year's Fasig-Tipton February sale and RNA'd for $190,000 at the Fasig-Tipton Selected Yearlings Showcase in September.
Lanni agreed there was still demand for horses as the juvenile sales season nears its conclusion.
“There are people here. It's great to see,” he said. “There was a time that people thought June was just a get-rid-of sale. But there are some good horses who came out of this sale over the last five years plus.”
Maclean's Music Colt Sets Early Tempo
A colt by Maclean's Music (hip 101) led the way early during Wednesday's opening session of the OBS June sale when bloodstock agent Lauren Carlisle, bidding over the phone, outlasted agent Steve Young, bidding out back, to take home the juvenile for $350,000. Out of Artillery Punch (Kitten's Joy), the bay worked a furlong last week in :10 1/5. He was consigned by Jesse Hoppel's Coastal Equine.
Carlisle, who purchased the colt on behalf of the Webber family's B.C.W.T. Ltd., had been following the colt since March before finally being able to acquire him Wednesday.
“Jesse showed me this horse on the farm back in March when I was there for the March sale,” Carlisle said. “He was catalogued for March and was scratched. So I went out to the farm to see him and I loved him in March. Then in April, I went back to the farm and I tried to buy the horse privately off the farm. And that wasn't an option, so I have been waiting for the opportunity to buy this horse since March. I've been a huge fan of his since the first day I saw him. I put it in my mind that he was our horse this whole time and we just had to go and seize the opportunity and that's what we did.”
Carlisle, who is not at the June sale, did her bidding on the phone through OBS's Wes Peterson.
“For this sale, there was only one horse in the catalogue for me,” Carlisle said.
Hoppel purchased the colt for $120,000 at last year's Fasig-Tipton October sale, less than a year after he was bought back for just $6,000 at Keeneland November.
“I really felt like I had to have that horse as a yearling and I stretched farther than I typically do,” Hoppel said. “But he turned out to be the right kind. Sometimes that doesn't always work out.”
While the bay colt was making his first trip through the sales ring this year Wednesday, he had originally been entered in the OBS March sale.
“He was entered in the March sale and maybe we got ahead of ourselves a little bit,” Hoppel said. “The horse got a little shinny on us and we put him off to a later sale. It turned out. We couldn't be happier with it.”
The delay allowed Hoppel to sell after a weekend in which the colt's sire Maclean's Music was represented by Drain the Clock and Jackie's Warrior, the one-two in the GI Woody Stephens S., as well as Estilo Talentoso, who won the GIII Bed o'Roses S.
“I designed that,” Hoppel said of the update with a laugh. “I knew that was coming all along. I want to thank Woody Stephens.”
Carlisle admitted Maclean's Music's exploits this past weekend had her concerned about how much hip 101 would end up costing her.
“I was scared,” she said. “I was pretty freaked out about how much he was going to cost, to be honest. But I wasn't going to get outbid. I was buying the horse. It's been going since March and I couldn't get away from him.”
Hoppel said the horse would have attracted buyers wherever he ended up.
“He is a great individual,” Hoppel said. “I had a lot of horses in training this year, not only sale horses, but horses for end-users going to the races and he stood out among them. Anywhere I brought that horse he was going to be a standout.”
He continued, “He's a really impressive horse, not only on the Poly, but on the dirt as well. I would arguably say he was better on our surface at home than he was on this artificial surface. So I think for the people that Lauren is buying for, they are looking for a dirt horse, and maybe he's a Saturday afternoon horse. I don't know. Time will tell.”
Wednesday's pinhooking success was just the latest strong result for Hoppel this spring.
“Our sales season has been phenomenal,” he said. “For my customers, for my partnerships, for my pinhooking. We've just had an unreal year. Last year, the market was down and we bought in as hard as we ever had. And fortunately the market came in the right direction. We've reaped the rewards from that. In every sale, we've had some great successes. We are just having a great season. I am just really scared to go into the yearling market. We sold in a strong market. Now we have to buy in it. It's going to be tough. But that's the way it goes.”
Classic Empire Filly to West Point
West Point Thoroughbreds' Terry Finley signed the ticket at $300,000 to acquire a filly from the first crop of champion Classic Empire (hip 245) from the consignment of Gabriel Dixon Wednesday in Ocala. The filly is out of Decoder (War Front), a full-sister to Data Link and will be trained by that Grade I winner's conditioner Shug McGaughey.
“The female side of this family is pretty close to legendary,” West Point's Jeff Lifson said. “It's all Phipps and Claiborne and Stuart Janney–all those folks who have been such an important part of our game. And they know how to breed.”
The bay filly worked a furlong last week in :10 1/5.
“The filly had an incredible stride length and was still a little bit immature and still did what she did on the racetrack,” Lifson said. “We know Gabriel well. He's one of those great mom-and-pop type of operations who do the right thing with their horses. Collectively that's a really strong set of signals that you've got to have this filly.”
West Point Thoroughbreds has been active throughout the 2-year-old sales this spring, most notably purchasing the $1.5-million sale topper at last month's Fasig-Tipton Midlantic sale.
“I think this year, we piggybacked off what we saw in the pandemic year, which was a lot of pent-up demand,” Lifson said. “I don't think it's a surprise to anyone that a lot of people who are racing are dying to go watch their horses and spend time with them. And that includes our partners. We may have been a little bit stronger at the 2-year-old sales this year than in years past, just in terms of numbers and maybe a few higher-priced horses, but it's all driven from the partners, from the people who really write the checks and support all of this.”
McGaughey trains the promising First Captain (Curlin)–who was tabbed a 'TDN Rising Star' following a May 29 allowance score–for West Point and partners.
Hip 245, bred by Classic Empire's breeders Steve and Brandi Nicholson, was purchased by Dixon for $22,000 at last year's Keeneland September sale.
“I just liked her frame and her walk,” Dixon said of the filly's appeal last fall. “She was a little bit immature through her knees at the time and I could see why people might not like her, but I forgave her for that. I had a very good hunch that she would outgrow that problem and she did come Christmas time. She just had a little bit of epiphysitis in her knees. So she grew out of that and she just matured and did everything well over the winter. She just went from strength to strength.”
Dixon said the filly had originally been targeted at the OBS April sale.
“Bringing her here did her more favors just by giving her the extra time,” he said. “I had her in the April sale originally, but I scratched her out of there. In hindsight, the extra time, the extra few months, really helped her. She is a very nice filly and her mind is fantastic. I think the Classic Empires will be a force to be reckoned with in the second half of the year. They are big horses and I think they'll mature and I can see them, especially this one, being successful later in the year.”