Million-Dollar Babies Pace OBS Wednesday

Session-topping hip 381 | Judit Seipert photo

By Jessica Martini & Christie DeBernardis

OCALA, FL – A pair of million-dollar juveniles punctuated a day of lively trade in Central Florida as the Ocala Breeders' Sales Company's Spring Sale of 2-Year-Olds reached its midway point with a second session Wednesday.

“We certainly picked up where we left off yesterday and the action was just as good, if not better, and we hope it continues to move forward into the next two days,” said OBS Director of Sales Tod Wojciechowski. “We came into the sale with some expectations given the enthusiasm that we saw in March. We were certainly hoping that would carry over. And the consignors have done a fabulous job of selecting horses, whether they need to be in March or April. And the quality of horse that they bring seems to step up every year, no matter what.”

Marette Farrell, bidding on behalf of Speedway Racing, made the day's highest bid when going to $1.5 million to acquire a colt by Quality Road. Katsumi Yoshida, bidding via the internet, made the day's other seven-figure bid when going to $1 million to acquire a filly by Juddmonte's late champion Arrogate.

During Wednesday's session, 181 head sold for $21,056,500. The average was $116,334 and the median $47,000.

Through two sessions, OBS has sold 373 head for a gross of $39,258,000 and an average of $105,532. With 78 horses reported not sold, the buy-back rate before the inclusion of post-sale transactions is 17.3%.

At the midway point of the 2020 Spring Sale–delayed two months and held amidst the pandemic which had shut down much of the sport–288 head sold for $28,103,500 for an average of $97,582 and a median of $50,000.

Half-way through the pre-pandemic 2019 Spring sale, 331 juveniles had sold for $37,416,500 before the inclusion of post-sale transactions. The average was $113,041 and the median was $70,000.

“I think we are surpassing 2019's levels,” Wojciechowski said. “There is an ebb and flow between the days, but right now, I think we are on par, if not a little ahead.”

The first session's buy-back rate, which was 19% at the conclusion of business Tuesday, continued to decline and had fallen to 14% Wednesday evening.

“It's obviously very strong for the right horses, but you can move horses on as well,” Wavertree Stables' Ciaran Dunne said of the market in Ocala this week. “We've sold everything so far and we've taken what they want to give us. But it's nice when that's there to get. So I would say the market is very respectable.”

Consignor Tom McCrocklin continued to see polarization in the market.

“It's more of the same,” McCrocklin said. “Strong at the top and struggling everywhere else. We need more owners, especially at the middle and lower end. They can't all be good horses and they need to find homes for racing. Owning a racehorse has gotten so prohibitively expensive. It is gravitating back towards the Sport of Kings.”

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

Quality Road Colt to Speedway Racing

A colt by Quality Road (hip 381) was the first to reach seven figures at this week's OBS Spring sale when selling Wednesday for $1.5 million to bloodstock agent Marette Farrell, acting on behalf of Peter Fluor and K.C. Weiner's Speedway Racing. The youngster will join the Southern California barn of trainer Bob Baffert.

“They asked me who my favorite horse in the sale was and my whole team here, Tescha von Bluecher and Zoe Cadman, every single one of us absolutely loved this horse,” Farrell said. “He just had the composure of a real racehorse. He's physically spectacular. He's got the pedigree. This horse really looked the part. They are thrilled to have him.”

Speedway has already enjoyed Grade I success with sons of Quality Road, having campaigned 2019 GI Santa Anita Derby winner Roadster.

“I was afraid that we might have to go that high,” Farrell said of the colt's final price. “They buy very few horses. They always try to zone in on the ones that they really love. They want the best they can buy.”

The juvenile, who worked a furlong in :10 flat during last week's under-tack preview for de Meric Sales, is out of multiple graded stakes winner Wasted Tears (Najran). He was co-bred by Chiquita and Jeff Reddoch's Stonehaven Steadings and Bart Evans, who bred, owned and trained Wasted Tears, winner of a half-dozen graded stakes from 2009 through 2011. The colt RNA'd for $385,000 at last year's Keeneland September Yearling Sale.

“We held on to 70% of him [after the Keeneland sale],” said Stonehaven Steading's Leah O'Meara. “We grabbed Tristan [de Meric] on the fly and said, 'We really love him. Do you love him? And they did.”

Aidan O'Meara, who serves as bloodstock director at Stonehaven Steadings, added, “He's been a class act from the moment he entered the world. He was probably the best-looking colt we've raised on the farm to this stage. He just went on as a yearling. He got unlucky at the September sale with the COVID situation and then he drew hip 10 on top of all that. We had very high expectations going out there before the sale, but then we got our hip numbers and we knew we would be compromised there and we went out and RNA'd him. I was about as disappointed as I've been coming down from the ring just because of what we thought of him. But we had a huge amount of faith in him and the De Meric's bought into him after that and he rolled down here and the rest is history.”

Wednesday's result is the first seven-figure sale for the Reddochs' operation.

“It's huge for us,” Aidan O'Meara said of the milestone. “We are a medium-sized operation and are constantly in a building mode. We are always trying to improve year over year from what we've done to date. And this has obviously taken us to another level. The stock that we have at home are our best homebreds set to come to auction. We've bought some nice mares the last couple of years trying to build up the broodmare band.”

The 16-year-old Wasted Tears has a Mendelssohn yearling filly who will be targeted at the Keeneland September sale this fall.

“I am delighted for the colt, but I'm also delighted for the mare because she's done so well for us at auction,” Aidan O'Meara said. “She's been a little bit unlucky with some of the runners who didn't get on as much as you thought they might. Her Mendelssohn is the best-looking filly on the farm this year. So this colt is validation for the mare. She's knocked on the door with some runners and she has been great to the team and for Bart.”

Wasted Tears' best foal to race to date is the stakes-placed Coffee Crush (Medaglia d'Oro), a $360,000 Keeneland September yearling purchase in 2016.

Stonehaven Steadings traditionally offers all its foals at the yearling sales.

“We may hold on to one or two horses if there is something that holds them back from being sold as a yearling,” Leah O'Meara said. “Because of the obvious situation with COVID and the pandemic, we actually held on to more yearlings than we ever have. Which was scary, but I am a true believer that God takes care of us and everything happens for a reason. And I am really proud of this horse and what he's done for us.”

The operation has one more 2-year-old to sell this week in Ocala.

“We have a filly by Malibu Moon (hip 870) with Woodford tomorrow,” Leah O'Meara said. “She is a full-sister to [multiple Grade I placed] Conquest Eclipse.” @JessMartiniTDN

Nice Guys Finish First

They say nice guys finish last, but the opposite was true in Ocala Wednesday. Steve Spielman's Nice Guy Stables purchased a filly by the late champion Arrogate (Unbridled's Song) (Hip 463) for $150,000 at Keeneland September and she summoned a cool $1 million from Japan's Katsumi Yoshida, making her the most expensive filly of the sale so far. Yoshida did his bidding over the internet.

“She is just a nice filly,” Spielman said of the :10 flat breezer. “We figured we would give her a shot through the ring and see what she brought. We don't just race. We sell too.”

Breeder Town and Country Farms purchased Hip 463's dam, MGSW & MGISP Amen Hallelujah (Montbrook), for $950,000 in foal to Distorted Humor at the 2013 Keeneland November Sale. She is the daughter of four-time stakes winner Sara's Success (Concorde's Tune).

“I loved her since she stepped foot on the farm out of the September Sale,” said April Mayberry, who consigned the filly through her Mayberry Farm. “She did everything she is supposed to do from day one. She has a great mind and is just a lovely filly. I thought she would be our sales topper. I am thrilled she went over our expectations.”

Hip 463 is from the first of just two crops by champion and three-time Grade I winner Arrogate, who was euthanized due to an undetermined illness in June of 2020.

“I absolutely love them,” Mayberry said of Arrogate's offspring. “I have another one at the farm. I have loved both of them the whole time.”  @CDeBernardisTDN

Arrogate Colt to West Point

In a busy half-hour for Juddmonte's late champion Arrogate, a colt from the stallion's first crop (hip 490) sold for $750,000 to West Point Thoroughbreds, following quickly on the heels of a $1-million filly. Out of Ask the Question (Silver Deputy), the gray colt is a half-brother to West Point's graded-stakes placed Lady Traveler (Quality Road), as well as to multiple Grade I winner Heart to Heart (English Channel).

“We are thrilled we got him,” said West Point's Jason Blewitt. “We've had success with the older half-sister Lady Traveler and obviously we all love Heart to Heart. We loved Arrogate when he was running. His Pegasus was one of the best efforts I've ever seen. We are just thrilled to add this colt to the stable.”

Of the big filly/colt double for Arrogate, West Point's Chief Operating Officer Tom Bellhouse said, “We knew she was going to ring the bell. They are all collector's items, these Arrogates. This filly and the colt were the two, at least in our opinion, that stood out in the Arrogates so far. The connection with the colt having the half-sister, we don't think she's scratched the surface yet, so we are hoping that she is going to be a graded stakes winner and this colt's value will grow further. You couldn't go wrong either way. You don't get to take home horses like this everyday, so we're very happy.”

Lady Traveler was second in this year's GIII Forward Gal S. and was most recently fourth in the Apr. 2 GIII Beaumont S.

The juvenile colt was consigned by Ciaran Dunne's Wavertree Stables on behalf of the pinhooking partnership of David Miley, John Wilkinson and Scott Ford. He worked a furlong in :10 flat during last week's under-tack show.

“He was a horse we were excited about all year,” Dunne said of the colt. “He came in and did what he needed to do. I'm delighted for the guys who are in him. They take the good with the bad and they've been a little lucky here recently, so it is well deserved. And I think West Point and their partners got a really nice colt.”

Miley, Wilkinson and Ford teamed up to sell a Quality Road colt for $1.25 million at last year's OBS Spring sale. He had been purchased for $240,000 at the previous year's Fasig-Tipton October sale.

“They are two for two,” Dunne said of the partnerships 2021 results. “They only had three horses this year. They had this one, they had a Midshipman in Miami and they have a Klimt colt in Maryland. So I'd say they are in pretty good shape.”

The Midshipman, bought for $150,000 at last year's Keeneland September sale, sold for $375,000 at last month's Fasig-Tipton Gulfstream Sale. The Klimt colt, catalogued as hip 311 in the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic 2-Year-Olds in Training Sale, was purchased for $117,000 at last year's Fasig-Tipton October sale.

The partnership has also enjoyed success on the racetrack. They campaign multiple graded stakes winner Leinster (Majestic Warrior), who was third in last year's GI Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint. Miley and Wilkinson are co-owners of Pregame (More Than Ready), who was runner-up in a Keeneland maiden race shortly after hip 490 went through the sales ring Wednesday and they will be represented by debuting Artos (Ire) (Kodiac {GB}) in Keeneland's first race Thursday. @JessMartiniTDN

Patience Pays Off For O'Callaghan

Peter O'Callaghan purchased Hip 605 for $290,000 at Keeneland November under his Northface Bloodstock with the intention of pinhooking him as a yearling. Unfortunately, that did not work out as planned as the Union Rags colt RNA'd for $120,000 at Fasig-Tipton October. But O'Callaghan persisted, sending the horse to Jimbo and Torie Gladwell of Top Line Sales, and he was rewarded late in Wednesday's session when bloodstock agent Jacob West went to $750,000 to secure the colt for Mike Repole.

“He is such a good-looking horse,” O'Callaghan said. “Jimbo and Torie were very high on him. He was a beautiful foal when we bought him. He was the best foal in that book of Keeneland November and turned into a beautiful yearling. He had a little bit of sesamoiditis as a yearling and we got badly penalized for it, which was very surprising to us. He obviously grew out of that and came back clean here. He was vetted 12 or 14 times. They were all on him. I think we put him in at around $274,000 just to get him started and he did it all on his own.”

He continued, “I couldn't sell him twice, so really all the credit has to go to Jimbo and Torie. They did it. We are very grateful to Jacob and Mike Repole. We hope he is a good horse for them. He has certainly been a good horse for everyone else along the way.”

Bred by Brandywine Farm and Parker Place Breeding, Hip 605 is out of the unraced Champagne Ice (Roman Ruler), a full-sister to GI Belmont S. victor Ruler on Rice and a half-sister to MGISW Champagne d'Oro (Medaglia d'Oro).

The dark bay colt breezed in a sharp :20 4/5 for the Gladwells and West indicated he would be trained by Todd Pletcher.

“His performance on the racetrack did not have to be explained to people,” West said. “Everybody here in the back saw him and he was unbelievable. He had the physical, the performance on the racetrack, the sire power and female family. He was legit all around. He jumped through a lot of hoops for us. We put him through the ringer and he came out smelling like a rose on the other side. We got excited and Mike Repole was dead set on jumping in and getting him.” @CDeBernardisTDN

Curlin Filly to Join Norm Casse Barn

As the second session of the OBS Spring sale was winding down, bloodstock agent Justin Casse bid $600,000 to secure a filly by Curlin (hip 594) on behalf of an undisclosed client. The chestnut filly will be trained by Casse's nephew Norm Casse. The two Casses did their bidding while standing at the back of the pavilion.

“Norman will train for a new client for him,” Justin Casse said. “He has to remain nameless for now, but hopefully you'll see it in the Racing Form sooner than later.”

The chestnut filly is out of the unraced Catch the Flag (A.P. Indy), a daughter of Canadian champion Catch the King (Seeking the Gold) and a full-sister to champion Catch the Thrill. She worked a furlong in :10 flat.

“The pedigree was important, as well as the performance,” Casse said. “Obviously these are performance-based sales. She performed well and she had the pedigree to back it up. She is a nice-looking filly.”

Looking ahead to the filly's potential value as a broodmare, Casse added, “It's nice to look at residual in all of these animals. Sometimes it gets thrown out the window at these sales, but it's always a bonus and we always consider it.”

Bred by Doug Branham's Pippa's Hurricane, the filly RNA'd for $120,000 at last year's Fasig-Tipton Selected Yearlings Showcase and was then entered in the Lexington company's October sale.

“She was in the October sale at Fasig-Tipton, but had an abscess in her foot,” explained Wavertree's Ciaran Dunne. “So they had to scratch her. We bought into her at that point. We just got lucky.”

Maclean's Music Filly Headed to California

Red Baron's Barn and Rancho Temescal continued their buying spree in Ocala Wednesday, picking up their most expensive purchase yet, a $575,000 daughter of Maclean's Music (Hip 512). The chestnut breezed in :10 flat for Paul Sharp during last week's under-tack show.

“She stood out,” said Tim Cohen, who signed the ticket on behalf of the California-based owners. “I work with Joe Miller and [trainer] Mark Glatt and we all agreed she was one of the better fillies. We stretched a little further than we wanted to, as usual, but she will be coming to California. Good fillies are hard to come by and hopefully she is one of those.”

Bred by George Krikorian, the chestnut is out of an unraced daughter of GSW Makeup Artist (Dynaformer). She was purchased for $40,000 at Keeneland September by Walnut Stream Enterprises, a Sharp partnership.

“We bought her last year on kind of a low market for Maclean's Music,” Sharp said. “We were looking for horses with nice physicals and she developed very well. Every month she got better and she peaked at the right time.” —@CDeBernardisTDN

Another Rocket for Fletcher

Frank Fletcher, who famously uses Rocket in the name of all of his racehorses as an homage to his favorite dog, will be searching for a new Rocket name after paying $490,000 to acquire a colt by Runhappy from the Wavertree Stables consignment Wednesday at OBS.

“He was a big, strong colt,” bloodstock agent Donato Lanni said after signing the ticket on behalf of Fletcher. “He was a beast. He had a great work. Runhappy is slowly coming on. I believe in that stallion. I think he's coming. And this colt is a big, strong physical. Just a cool horse.”

Out of Bible Belt (Pulpit), hip 530 is a half-brother to graded-placed Hardworkcleanlivin (Colonel John). He worked furlong in :10 flat last week.

The colt was purchased by Columbia Bloodstock for $250,000 at the 2019 Keenleand November sale and RNA'd for $120,000 at last year's Keeneland September sale.

“The Runhappy was an expensive foal who went into a yearling sale when Runhappy was not the flavor of the month, shall we say,” Wavertree's Ciaran Dunne said after the colt's bullet work last week. “So they called an audible and figured they would give him more time. He was an expensive foal and when you look at him, you can see why.” @JessMartiniTDN

 Spendthrift & MyRacehorse Back in Action for Upstart Filly

Spendthrift Farm and MyRacehorse teamed up once again in Ocala Wednesday, scooping up a daughter of Upstart for $450,000. A :20 4/5 breezer, Hip 394 was consigned by Tom McCrocklin.

“We start with the breezes and she breezed exceptionally well,” said Spendthrift Yearling Manager Seth Semkin. “She is a big, scopey filly. McCrocklin does a good job. She behaved herself every time we saw her. She will probably go to California, but we haven't made a final decision on a trainer yet.”

As for the price, he said, “That was about it right there. We thought it was going to be less then we watched yesterday. Fillies like that who are big, pretty and fast brought money.”

Bred by Bret Jones, Hip 394 is out of the unraced mare Who'sbeeninmybed (The Daddy). A $10,000 KEENOV weanling buy, she was purchased by Michael Sucher's Champion Equine for $125,000 at last term's OBS October Sale.

“She was pretty when we bought her and she has been a piece of cake all the way through,” McCrocklin said. “She made my job easy. I am very happy Spendthrift got her. They are so good for the game. I think they are the biggest supporters of the industry right now.” @CDeBernardisTDN

McElroy Strikes for Cupid Filly

A Cupid filly (Hip 576) became the latest offspring of a freshman sire to attract a good bit of attention in Ocala, bringing $440,000 from bloodstock agent Ben McElroy. He indictated on the ticket that he was acting as agent for Coolmore's M.V. Magnier, who signed the $900,000 ticket on Cupid at Keeneland September. The gray now stands at Ashford Stud.

“We bought her for a partnership to be trained by Simon Callaghan,” said McElroy, who did his bidding alongside the California-based conditioner. “Out of the fillies at the sale, she did probably the best breeze. I bought a Cupid in March too. She reminded us a lot of a filly we bought a few years ago named Fashion Plate (Old Fashioned). She went on to win a Grade I, so hopefully we have a similar result again.”

When asked his impressions on the first crop of the fleet-footed Grade I-winning millionaire Cupid, McElroy said, ” They are very good. I have only bought five 2-year-olds [so far] and two of them are by Cupid. I love the Cupids.”

Bred in Virginia by Daybreak Stables, the :20 2/5 breezer was purchased by Quincy Adams's Q Bar J Thoroughbreds for $42,000 at EASOCT after RNA'ing for $4,500 at EASDEC.

“She has filled out in all the right places and just got better every day,” Adams said. “We are blessed.” @CDeBernardisTDN

Classic Empire Filly Gets the Ball Rolling at OBS

Just 10 hips into Wednesday's session, a filly from the first crop of champion Classic Empire (Pioneerof the Nile) set the early pace, bringing $410,000 from Donato Lanni. The bloodstock agent was bidding on behalf of an undisclosed client, but said Hip 317 would be trained by Jonathan Thomas.

“She breezed great [:20 2/5] and looked good doing it,” said Lanni. “She got over the ground really well and came back great. She's a nice filly.”

These 2-year-olds will be the first runners for MGISW and Eclipse-winning juvenile Classic Empire and they have been well received at the sales thus far.

“The Classic Empires are very nice,” Lanni said. “They are very solid and very precocious, just like him.”

Consigned by Golden Rock Thoroughbreds, Hip 317 was bred by Gabriel and Aisling Duignan's Springhouse Farm and RNA'd for $37,000 at Keeneland September. The chestnut is out of the unraced Tigress Tale (Tale of the Cat), who is a half-sister to GSW & MGISP Stays in Vegas (City Zip) and SW Miss Technicality (Gio Ponti). This is alsot he family of GISW Persistently (Smoke Glacken).

“We're happy with the money and we're happy with the home she's gone to,” Spider Duignan said. “We've still go the mare and this filly is going to good hands. I think those people bought a good filly.”

The horseman continued, “She's developed really, really well since she was a yearling. Her breeze was sensational. Keiber [Rengifo of Golden Rock Thoroughbreds] did a classy job with her.” @CDeBernardisTDN

Maclean's Music Filly to My Racehorse, Saratoga Seven

A colt by Maclean's Music (hip 429) is joining the My portfolio in partnership with Saratoga Seven Racing Partners after selling for $400,000 to the bid of bloodstock agent Phil Hager Wednesday at OBS. The bay was consigned by Woodford Thoroughbreds, which purchased him for $65,000 at last year's Keeneland September sale. He worked a quarter-mile during last week's under-tack show in :20 4/5.

“We will probably send him to New York,” Hager said of the colt. “We will pick the trainer after they get him back to the farm.”

The bay colt is out of You Make Luvin Fun (A.P. Indy), a half-sister to multiple graded stakes winner Classic Elegance (Carson City) and to the dam of GI Kentucky Oaks winner Believe You Can (Proud Citizen).

“He's just a really pretty colt,” Hager, who did his bidding alongside Myracehorse's Joe Mishak and bloodstock agent Roderick Wachman, said. “He wasn't overly heavy for the sire, which we liked. His work was really good and he had a lot of class to him.” and Saratoga Seven also teamed up to buy a filly by More Than Ready (hip 414) for $250,000 Wednesday in Ocala.

“It's a small partnership group of a few guys out of Louisville,” Hager said of Saratoga Seven. “We bought a horse for them a few years ago named Honor Up (To Honor and Serve) that was a pretty nice horse. He was third in the [2019 GI] Carter.” @JessMartiniTDN

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