More Favorable Conditions Lead To Faster OBS Saturday

Hip 1006 | Judit Seipert

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Weather conditions continued to improve on the penultimate day of the 2024 Ocala Breeders' Sales Company's Spring Sale of 2-Year-Olds in Training under-tack show and, while works failed to reach the peak set earlier in the week, the headwind that hampered Friday's show let up in time for a plethora of runners to hit the :9 4/5 mark Saturday. A total of 11 juveniles matched that mark with five of those 11 coming from sires who have their first 2-year-olds this year.

Craig Wheeler sent out his homebred son of Vekoma (hip 1006), a colt with whom his experience in the family dates back to his time as manager with Hobeau Farm.

“It always means a little more when you've had them since they were born,” said Wheeler. “It's a family that I've had a lot of success with. We bred the good ones, like [Grade I-winner] Miss Shop and so it's a super family and it doesn't surprise us that another hopeful superstar will come out of it.”

Second dam Shopping, owned by Hobeau Farm of which Wheeler managed for over 30 years, not only produced millionaire Miss Shop (Deputy Minister) but also GSW/MGISP Trappe Shot (Tapit), SW/GSP Bought In Dixie (Dixieland Band) and Shop Again (Wild Again), who would in turn produce GISW Power Broker (Pulpit). Wheeler noted that his colt's sharp work Saturday was completely par for the course.

“We were expecting it, for sure. He's been training lights out for us and we're tickled. He's so straightforward and light on his feet, and he galloped out good as well.”

With first-season sires continuing to be in demand, Vekoma was an obvious choice for Wheeler to pair with his homebred mare Blakely's Smile.

“He [Vekoma] was always on our radar,” continued Wheeler. “Watching him and all of his great races–he showed a ton of talent.”

And while the wind let up enough for a pack of horses to hit :9 4/5, conditions weren't quite as favorable as they were earlier in the week before Thursday's storms. Wheeler noted that while there were plenty of fast horses Saturday morning, it wasn't quite as good as Wednesday's tail wind. His other juvenile, a colt by Khozan named Micanopy (hip 722), was one caught breezing into the wind Friday.

“He still galloped out nice but we knew it wouldn't be blistering fast. He's getting plenty of looks [Friday] and I think it's because of how he was moving over the track. That attracts the lookers.”

Micanopy, bred by Brent & Crystal Fernung, was a $30,000 purchase by Wheeler at the OBS Yearling Sale last fall and, while the breeze may not have gone to plan Friday, Wheeler remembers what drew him to the colt in the first place.

“His walk. He has a tremendous walk with a huge overstep. I got him from my friend Brent who does a great job raising horses and so I was really confident in buying from him. And he's been training great so we're hoping to get lucky there too.”

10 other juveniles matched the :9 4/5 time including three by first-crop sire Honest Mischief (hip 870, hip 938 and hip 1011) along with a filly from the first crop by Tiz the Law (hip 928). Speightster (hip 871), Nyquist (hip 902 and hip 915), Mitole (hip 907), Twirling Candy (hip 1005) and Midnight Lute (hip 981) were also represented by Saturday's bullet.

Three hips matched the fastest quarter-mile work Saturday at :20 3/5 including a pair by Ocala Stud's Win Win Win (hip 881 and hip 1025) and a third by Frosted (hip 926).

Optimism continues to abound looking forward to next week's auction.

“This is the sale that everybody shows up for,” continued Wheeler. “There's something for everybody–top end, middle and the bottom. There's a lot of nice horses going back and forth to the track so I think that will draw people in. I'm expecting to it to be good.”

The under-tack show will conclude with a makeup session Sunday. The OBS Spring sale will be held Tuesday through Friday with bidding starting each day at 10:30 a.m.

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