Letter to the Editor: Nick de Meric

OBS Spring 2023Photos by Z

I read the Jan. 31 article regarding Jeffrey Englehart. While sympathetic to Mr. Englehart's situation, it is apparent there are many misconceptions concerning the two-year-old sale process. As a seller of two-year-olds and an executive member of the Ocala Breeders' Sales Board of Directors, I have intimate knowledge of the efforts made by OBS and the policies created for a healthy auction environment. I would like to shed some light on these efforts.

Similar to racing, our medication policies have evolved over time creating a safer environment for horses and buyers alike and those policies are reviewed and updated annually.

The two-year-old sales are the most tested segment of the auction industry. We conduct testing at all our under tack shows and also provide buyers the opportunity to request testing at the time of purchase. In the last four years, more than 1,100 horses have been tested at our under tack shows, resulting in just two positive tests for the bronchodilator, Clenbuterol. Those horses were scratched from the sale and their sellers suffered sanctions.

On the track, we have firm rules regarding the use of a riding crop. Outriders are tasked with policing the under-tack show and a veterinarian is present observing every horse before and after their performance. In addition, all equine participants in tack shows are identified by a professional identifier before setting foot on the track. Our young racing prospects perform on Tapeta, one of the safest surfaces in North America.

Our graduates perform at the highest levels of the sport year in and year out, in almost every country that hosts Thoroughbred racing. Independently compiled statistics clearly show that graduates from two-year-old sales race more often, have longer careers with a higher percentage of wins, stakes wins and graded stakes wins than any other source of young prospects. The OBS board is sympathetic to Mr Englehart's plight and understand the predicament with which he is faced. There are new and unanswered questions resulting from the timeline of hair testing that need to be addressed industry-wide. However, to suggest that the use of Clenbuterol is 'rampant at two-year-old sales' could not be further from the truth.

The OBS Two-Year-old sale protocols can be viewed here.

Two-Year-Old Sale statistics can be viewed here.

Respectfully yours,
Nick de Meric.

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