By Christie DeBernardis
The 2-year-old sales season gets underway Tuesday with the start of the two-day Ocala Breeders' Sales Company's March Sale. Hips 1-316 sell Tuesday and Hips 317-635 go under the hammer Wednesday.
“I have been very pleased with the horses we have seen on the grounds,” said Tod Wojciechowski, OBS director of sales. “The interest from buyers has been very good.”
He added, “We have been able to add another level of horse that maybe doesn't fit the upper-echelon price range, but are very good horses. March is a key sale in the 2-year-old market.”
The industry enters the juvenile sales season on the back of an exceptionally strong season of yearling sales and a healthy breeding stock sales market.
Horsemen are optimistic that momentum will carry into the 2-year-old sales.
“The horse business traditionally goes along with the stock market,” said consignor Niall Brennan. “Obviously there are a lot of ups and downs right now because of the war in the Ukraine. I don't know that it will affect too much right now. I think the markets were prepared for it, knowing it was likely to happen. There was no big shock change for people in the market place. There might be some people that don't know what to do right now and might wait for the April sale, but I don't get that vibe. There has been a lot of interest and a lot of people that came into town early. It is a different vehicle than the yearling sales. They have to jump through a lot of hoops, but the ones that do, I think it will be a strong sale for them.”
Pick View's Joe Pickerell said he felt high demand would keep the strong market alive in the juvenile sales season.
“You would expect the momentum to continue,” Pickerell said. “Supply is down. Every trainer you speak to needs horses. We went pretty strong this year and invested heavily. We are looking forward to getting rewarded on some these.”
The OBS March sale will offer first 2-year-olds for many exciting stallions, such as Triple Crown winner Justify, regally bred Grade I winner Mendelssohn, MGISWs Bolt d'Oro and City of Light, champion Accelerate, GI Kentucky Derby hero Always Dreaming, GI Preakness S. victor Cloud Computing and more.
Last year's OBS March sale was topped by a $750,000 filly from the first crop of Practical Joke. Purchased by Hideyuki Mori from the draft of Top Line Sales, she is now named Clos de Mesnil and is a winner in Japan.
At the 2021 renewal of this auction, 325 horses summoned $37,970,000 with an average of $116,831 and a median of $60,000. These numbers include post-sale figures.
The start of Tuesday's session was delayed from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. to allow buyers more time for inspections after the last of three breeze shows scheduled for Saturday was pushed back to Sunday due to storms hitting the Ocala area. Those storms brought a tornado with them, affecting much of the Ocala area, but the OBS sales grounds, as well as most major Thoroughbred farms in the area, were left unharmed. Wednesday's session will begin as scheduled at 10:30 a.m.