Liam’s Map Colt Sparks OBS Thursday


Hip 898 | Photos by Z

By Jessica Martini

OCALA, FL – Thursday’s fourth session of the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Company’s April Sale of 2-Year-Olds in Training may have gotten off to a slow start, but business picked up throughout the day and the session culminated with the sale’s second seven-figure transaction and figures well ahead of last year’s record-setting auction. Bloodstock agent Jacob West, acting on behalf of Robert and Lawana Low, made the day’s highest bid when going to $1.2 million to acquire a colt from the first crop of Grade I winner Liam’s Map. The gray (hip 898) was consigned by Wavertree Stables.

Through three sessions of the four-day sale, OBS has sold 508 juveniles for $56,088,500. The average of $110,410 is up 15.3% from last year’s corresponding figure of $95,746 and the median is up 18.2% to $65,000. The buy-back rate stands at 20.6%. It was 19.1% at the end of last year’s third session and improved to 18.2% with the inclusion of post-sale transactions.

The 2018 April sale set records for gross, average and median and is on target to better all of those figures this year.

“We’re pleased. I don’t want to say surprised,” OBS Director of Sales Tod Wojciechowski said when asked if the strong results had been expected.

“We saw the entries coming in and we saw the quality of horses and it was impressive. So, based on the horse flesh that we’ve seen in the barn and the pedigrees in the book, I guess in some ways it could be expected. But we are pleased with the outcome and pleased to see consignors are being rewarded for bringing in nice horses.”

Jacob West made the sale’s second seven-figure bid Thursday, following a $1-million Quality Road filly sold Wednesday.

“When the Quality Road filly sold with de Meric, I remember somebody said that is the only million-dollar horse and I thought to myself, ‘God, I hope that is the case,'” West admitted after signing for the Liam’s Map colt. “It has been strong for the right ones. I say it all the time, things really haven’t changed with the market. The good horses sell well and what the public deems as bad, nobody really wants. I know people hate hearing that, but it’s the truth. It is kind of a harsh market. If they fall in love with it, they are going to give you a lot of money for it.”

The April sale concludes with a final session Friday and Wojciechowski is expecting the competitive market to continue.

“I think there are a lot of good horses tomorrow–we’ve heard that on the sales grounds,” he said. “There are plenty of good horses left for day four.”

Friday’s session gets underway at 10:30 a.m.

Liam’s Map Colt Lives Up to the Hype

A colt from the first crop of MGISW and ‘TDN Rising Star’ Liam’s Map had plenty of buzz going into the OBS April Sale and lived up to the hype and then some Thursday, topping the session on a final bid of $1.2 million from bloodstock agent Jacob West, who was acting on behalf of Robert and Lawana Low. Hip 898 was the second seven-figure sale of the auction, which saw a Quality Road filly reach $1 million during Wednesday’s session.

“I don’t use the term loosely, but he was a freak,” West said. “I loved him from the second I saw him. There was a little bit of buzz before the sale. When you here the buzz and then they show up on the track and do everything the right way, they vet clean and they are from a good consignor, you get excited about them. When I went and saw him, I was totally in love. He was a physical specimen unlike anything I had seen in a while. I loved him. He has the right pedigree and I am lucky to have clients that trust me. I hope the Lows come up with a good name for him because he is the man.”

As for the price, West said, “That was the last bid. I have probably never prayed more. When I put in that last bid, I was just praying Ryan Mahan would drop that hammer because that was the number Mr. Low told me to go. When I had to go to that number I was nervous and started saying a couple of Hail Marys.”

Hip 898 is the highest-priced offspring thus far for first-crop sire and GI Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile winner Liam’s Map, who stands at Lane’s End Farm. When asked his impressions of the son of Unbridled’s Song, West said, “We raised him as a young horse as Taylor Made. We sold him and Jimmy Crupi bought him. He was a freak on the racetrack. Todd won’t use the word freak either that often, but he will tell you that horse did things that a lot of horses he has had in training never did.”

Bred by Phillips Racing Partnership, Hip 898 is out of the unraced Bernardini mare Amazement, who is a daughter of MGISW millionaire Wonder Again (Silver Hawk) and a half-sister to Japanese SW & MGSP Red Raven (Smart Strike). The striking gray colt breezed in :20 4/5 for consignor Ciaran Dunne of Wavertree Stables, who purchased the horse for $50,000 on behalf of Ron Fine.

“He was as well received as any horse we have ever brought to this sale,” Dunne said. “He performed. He looked the part. The really great thing is that Ronald Fein owned him and him and his wife Suzanne have been in the horse business for 30 years. His dream has always been to sell a million-dollar horse and this is it, so there you go.”

As expected, Fein was quite pleased as he exited the back walking ring following the sale.

“I always wanted to have a million-dollar horse and now we’ve got him,” Fein said. “Physically, he was nice when we bought him and it was like the good fairy sprinkled some stardust on him and he kept growing and growing and growing. We broke him and he trained absolutely beautiful.”

He added, “There is nobody better than Ciaran. We are delighted. I have been with Ciaran Dunne for 18 or 19 years and he is the best.” —@CDeBernardisTDN

Phoenix Makes Their Presence Known

Phoenix Thoroughbreds had been keeping a relatively low profile through the first two days of OBS April, but they made their presence known Thursday, purchasing a $750,000 daughter of Into Mischief (hip 787).

“I feel like I have good taste, just expensive,” Phoenix’s Tom Ludt said with a laugh. “She is beautiful. She’s smooth, she’s balanced, everything you want and you have to pay for them right now. She seemed really within herself and comfortable during the breeze.”

As for the price, he said, “That was my last bid! It really is the truth.”

Purchased by de Meric Sales for $220,000 at Keeneland September, the :21 1/5 breezer is a half-sister to SP Divisor (Harlan’s Holiday) and hails from the family of GSW & GISP Puxa Saco (Dehere).

“She has been unbelievable,” said Tristan de Meric. “She was big and immature when we bought her. She is a May foal. She was already 15.2 [hands] at the September sale and she has continued to grow and go the right way. She never had an awkward stage. She stayed balanced and is just very athletic. She is a really nice filly and did everything right for us.”

The de Merics have done quite well during this auction, including selling Wednesday’s $1-million Quality Road filly, who was also a $220,000 KEESEP buy. Nick de Meric gave his son Tristan the credit for both hip 787 and the $1-million filly.

“We put a package together and the horses have been stepping up,” Tristan de Meric said. “They have jumped through all the hoops and people have been there for them. It is just a refreshing feeling to see the market like this. We stuck our necks out a little bit and bought more expensive yearlings than we usually do and they have kind of come through. We are really proud of them and thankful for our partners.” —@CDeBernardisTDN

Ghostzapper Colt Rewards Davies

Julie Davies was short-listing yearlings at last year’s Keeneland September Sale when she noticed a son of Ghostzapper at the Gainesway consignment. When the yearling RNA’d for $80,000, Davies approached Gainesway’s Brian Graves with a proposal.

“I had short-listed him for somebody else, so that’s how I saw him,” Davies explained. “He RNA’d and I approached [Graves] and asked if I could train him and they let me take a leg. I really liked the horse, so I thought there was no harm in asking.”

The partnership proved profitable Thursday in Ocala when the colt sold for $600,000 to Stetson Racing LLC.

“He has never done anything wrong,” Davies said. “He has been an absolutely perfect horse to train.”

Hip 789 is out of group-placed Underwater (Theatrical {Ire}) and is a half-brother to group-placed Investissement (GB) (Singspiel {Ire}). He worked a furlong in :9 4/5 during last week’s under-tack preview. Graves’s pinhooking partnership Clear Ridge Stables purchased the colt for $110,000 as a short yearling at last year’s Keeneland January sale.

Of the colt’s final price tag Thursday, Davies said, “You go in hoping that this might happen. I knew he could possibly bring that money, but did I go in expecting him to go that high? No. I am elated with the result.” @JessMartiniTDN

Street Boss Colt to Stonestreet

A colt by Street Boss will be joining Barbara Banke’s Stonestreet Stables after selling for $535,000 to the bid of the farm’s John Moynihan.

“A lot of our colts are a little bit later maturing and this one kind of fit a spot for us,” Moynihan said of the purchase. “It looks like he’ll be fast and he’s ready to go. Barbara will decide [on a trainer].”

The dark bay colt (hip 856), bred and consigned by Ocala Stud, is out of the unraced Woodland Park (Bernardini), a daughter of multiple graded stakes winner Forest Heiress (Forest Wildcat). Forest Heiress is a half-sister to Wildcat Heir, a stallion who was a stalwart at Ocala Stud for years. The operation’s history with the family was instrumental in purchasing Woodland Park, with this foal in utero, for $55,000 at the 2016 Keeneland November sale, according to David O’Farrell.

“It’s a family we’re very familiar with–it goes back to our foundation family,” O’Farrell said of Woodland Park’s appeal.

He added, “We think Bernardini could be a really good broodmare sire. She is a young mare and in foal to a horse we know can get runners. We look for value and try to get some variety.”

The young Street Boss colt impressed the Ocala Stud team right from the start.

“We were very thrilled with him,” O’Farrell said. “He was such a cool horse from day one. The whole broodmare crew loved the foal. He was the favorite. Our broodmare manager’s son nicknamed him Nippy. He is 10 and this is the first horse that he’s fallen in love with and he has the horse bug because of this foal. The foal loves people and he has a great personality. He’s never had a bad day in his life.”

As for Woodland Park, O’Farrell said, “She just had a foal by Uncaptured and we are probably going to breed her back to Girvin this year.” @JessMartiniTDN

Twirling Candy Colt Heading West

Bloodstock agent Donato Lanni went to $500,000 to acquire a colt by Twirling Candy on behalf of Sheikh Rashid Humaid Al Noaimi Thursday in Ocala. The bay (hip 760) will be trained by Bob Baffert (ThoroStride walking video).

“Bob was here for a couple of days and he really liked the horse,” Lanni said. “We feel lucky to get him. It’s been very tough to buy horses. They’ve got to jump through all the hoops and there are a lot of hoops to jump through. The ones that do it, bring good money. This horse did everything you asked him to do on the track. He came home good and he looked the part. It gets harder and harder to buy those horses. ”

The juvenile, who worked a quarter-mile last week in (:20 4/5), is out of Tough Market (Suave), a half-sister to the multiple stakes winner Law Enforcement (Posse). He was bred by Machmer Hall, which was co-breeder and co-seller of a $335,000 daughter of Twirling Candy during Monday’s opening session of the April sale. The operation’s Carrie Brogden was quick to congratulate Lanni on the purchase, smiling broadly and saying, “Twirling Candy!”

“I like Twirling Candy,” Lanni said. “He was a really good racehorse and he is throwing runners. I like the sire a lot and this was a beautiful colt.”

Hip 760 was consigned by Ciaran Dunne’s Wavertree Stables and was purchased by Dunne for $140,000 at last year’s Fasig-Tipton July sale.

“I liked all the same things about him in July that I liked about him here,” Dunne said. “He’s a tall, stretchy colt with a beautiful profile. He’s a beautiful mover like he displayed on the racetrack. We were fortunate enough that he traded his walk into a breeze.”

While the youngster’s page was on the light side, Wavertree has had success this spring banking on the power of the individual over pedigree. The operation sold a son of Sky Kingdom for $875,000 at the Fasig-Tipton Gulfstream Sale.

“We toyed with the idea of taking [hip 760] to Miami, but we figured two with no pedigrees down there might be too much,” Dunne said.

He continued, “We don’t look too much at pedigrees. Larry Best was here the other day and asked, ‘How can you buy this pedigree?’ Because if he looks like that and has pedigree, he’s going home with him. We need to give up something to get them bought and normally what we give up is pedigree. Unfortunately, you can’t breeze the page down the lane.” @JessMartiniTDN

De Seroux Remains Active in Ocala

Bloodstock agent Emmanuel de Seroux continued his juvenile buying spree during OBS April’s third session, scooping up a filly by Bernardini for $500,000. He was acting on behalf of Mr. Ito from Grand Farm in Japan.

“She has a fantastic pedigree and Mr. Ito is building a racing division with top pedigrees that he wants to keep as broodmares later,” said de Seroux, who purchased champion Caledonia Road on Ito’s behalf for $2.3 million at the Fasig-Tipton November Sale. “She was a very good mover. She worked very well on the track. She has nice action and is a very nice filly. She has some turf influence in her pedigree, which he likes for Japan.”

Out of the Carson City mare Wilshewed, Hip 847 is a half-sister to Grade I winner Stormello (Stormy Atlantic) and GSW My Best Brother (Stormy Atlantic). She is a full-sister to graded winner Gala Award and SW & GISP ‘TDN Rising Star’ Cherry Lodge. A :10 flat breezer for consignor Randy Bradshaw, the bay was purchased by Rosedown Racing for $400,000 at Keeneland September. Bradshaw sold this filly’s year-older half-sister by Medaglia d’Oro to Steve Young for a sale-topping $1.1 million at last year’s renewal of this auction. @CDeBernardisTDN

Hills Continues Shopping for Sea Gull

Trainer Tim Hills added a third horse to the list of new acquisition for Patrick Welsh’s Sea Gull Capital, going to $300,000 for a colt by The Factor (hip 729) during Thursday’s session.

A :10 flat worker, hip 729 is out of MGSP Tarrip (Green Desert) and is a half-sibling to Irish SW Planchart (Gio Ponti). Bred by Castleton Lyons, the bay was acquired by Adalberto Lazano for $50,000 at Keeneland September and was consigned here by Off the Hook.

“He is a big horse,” said Hills. “I always worry about a big horse being hard on himself, but he moves like a cat. When you watch the video, he just floats over the track. The guys at the barn say he is really laid back, so he is really easy on himself. But, when he goes, he is there. I always rode horses, so I always look for a horse that could carry me around, but I don’t exercise my horses anymore. He looked like a two-turn horse and that is what my owner wanted.”

During Tuesday’s opening session, Hills purchased a pair of juveniles for Sea Gull Capital, a $430,000 Hard Spun colt (hip 207), who topped the session; and a $130,000 Girolamo colt (hip 135).

“I have bought three because my owner stepped it up big time,” Hills said. “I was always the guy that hunts around for bargains, but I don’t think the market is great for lesser horses. The owner is a Wall Street kind of guy, so he is going for it.” —@CDeBernardisTDN

American Pharoah Filly to Calhoun

A filly by Triple Crown winner American Pharoah out of a full-sister to Tapit will be joining the barn of trainer Bret Calhoun after bloodstock agent Josh Stevens made a final bid of $275,000 to acquire her for owner Tom Durant during Thursday’s session of the OBS April sale.

“What’s not to like about her?,” Stevens asked. “She’s out of a full-sister to Tapit. Obviously, the American Pharoahs have shown a little bit of success so far. I think if you could ever get a good American Pharoah, you’d love to have them, let alone with the pedigree she has. She did everything right, breeze, stride and she was very well-mannered at the barn. Tom is a guy who predominately wants to buy colts, but a filly that has her residual value, that’s something that really stood out for him.”

Out of the unraced Tap of the Day (Pulpit), hip 275 was consigned by Hartley/DeRenzo Thoroughbreds, LLC. That operation purchased the filly for $280,000 at last year’s Keeneland September sale. She worked a furlong at last week’s under tack show in :10 1/5.

Asked if he expected to get the filly Thursday, Stevens said, “You just have to keep coming up here. We didn’t really think we would be able to buy her, but I always like to come up here and give it a shot and if we don’t, we just move on to the next one.”

Stevens had made two previous purchases at the April sale, going to $270,000 for a son of City Zip (hip 492) and $150,000 for a colt by Goldencents (hip 571).

“I bought a couple for Chester Thomas, who we got By My Standards for, and then I worked with Bret all week,” Stevens said. “He’s been up there training the horse for the Derby and he came down for a day or two and we worked through the barns together. And we have a couple more to try on, too.”

Thomas would understandably be high on offspring of Goldencents; the sire’s GII Louisiana Derby winner and GI Kentucky Derby contender By My Standards, purchased by Stevens for $150,000 at last year’s OBS April sale, is by the young Spendthrift stallion.

“It’s been good that I’ve been busy, I haven’t had a whole lot of time to think about it too much,” Stevens said of the lead-up to the Derby. “I wish I could have had more time to go to the barn more than I have been, but when they post those videos of the workouts, that sure makes me feel better. Every day you wake up just praying that you don’t get that call. And touch wood, in a couple of days we’ll be good.” @JessMartiniTDN

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