by Jessica Martini, Christie DeBernardis and Steve Sherack
A daughter of freshman sire Not This Time (Hip 1254) was the first juvenile to reach the million-dollar mark during the Ocala Breeders Sales Company's Spring Sale towards the end of the second session Wednesday. The fleet-footed bay, who worked the fastest quarter-mile of the sale in :20 1/5, was also the first ever seven-figure sale for her consignor Top Line Sales. She was purchased by Gary Young.
“There is still some money for a good horse,” said Young. “There is no middle market. If a horse checked all the boxes, they were going for decent money, not like anything like they were before the world turned upside down. It is not the most stable market right now is the best way to put it. That should be no surprise to anyone though.”
A total of 143 horses changed hands for a gross of $15,209,000 Wednesday for an average of $106,357 and a median of $57,000. Last term 182 juveniles brought $22,902,500 with an average of $125,150 and median of $75,000.
Through the first two days of the four-day auction, 395 Thoroughbreds have summoned $28,103,500 with an average price of $97,582 and an a median of $50,000. At this point last term, 434 horses brought $38,248,500 for an average of $109,595 and a median of $65,000.
During Tuesday's opening session, 192 juveniles grossed $12,166,500 with just six bringing over $300,000 compared to Wednesday when 11 eclipsed that number.
“It had a feel of being stronger today than [Tuesday],” said Barry Eisaman, who sold a homebred filly by The Factor (Hip 388) for $320,000 Wednesday. “I have not seen the numbers yet, but having a million-dollar horse sell late in the day, I think the numbers are going to be pretty good. We all entered this
2-year-old sales season uncertain. No one could predict what was coming down the pike. The stock market has gone up. I think many people are tired of being quarantined and are ready to go do something. Racing has opened up in multiple states. There was some buyers who felt bargains were going to happen and came to gather up those bargains. When you get enough of those folks, the sale ends up okay. I think, at most levels, this one has been okay. It is not continuing 2019 business as usual, but it is a beginning for our industry. Horses are beginning to get sold and money is starting to change hands. Hopefully our industry can rebound and we can get back to last year or the year before's levels. For now it is certainly better than no sale or being quarantined.”
“Obviously this year it was a little difficult coming in to determine what the market would be,” Brennan said. “We are just very grateful to have a sale. There are still a good few people here even though it's obviously restricted travel and we couldn't have an international presence. At the same time, there are people here actively wanting to buy. They are doing their homework. The nicer horses are well sought after. I think the genuinely nice horses with a good pedigree, who vet clean, it seems like there are people here for them and they want to buy them. There is always money for quality. I think that's always going to be true in the horse market.”
He continued, “When you've got more horses than buyers, the lower horses are going to suffer. And you're going to see that in a lot of RNA's and scratches. But if there is a market here, I think the momentum will carry through to the end of the week for the nice horses who people want.”
A total of 261 of the 656 juveniles catalogued through the first two days were withdrawn from the sale.
I think people are making every effort to sell their horses, but I think scratches and late scratches are a combination of two factors,” Brennan said. “One is vet issues. Post-breeze X-Rays reveal if there are chips or injuries and that can really hurt your chances of selling. And I think some of the scratches are due to that and some due to just lack of interest for those lesser horses. Maybe they didn't breeze well or didn't show well at the barn. There are not enough buyers here so those ones, there are just no homes for them.”
The OBS Spring Sale continues through Friday with sessions starting at 10 a.m. daily.
Not this Time Filly Goes to the Top of the Class
A filly from the first crop of 'TDN Rising Star' Not This Time (Giant's Causeway) became the first seven-figure sale for Jimbo and Torie Gladwell's Top Line Sales when summoning $1.35 million from agent Gary Young, who was acting on behalf of an undisclosed client. She was also the first million-dollar horse so at halfway point of the OBS Spring Sale.
“It was our first million-dollar horse ever,” an ecstatic Torie Gladwell said. “We got close last year with the Into Mischief filly, Clivetty [$900,000 at OBSOPN], but we didn't own that horse. She was a client's [Carlo Vaccarezza] filly. We actually own a little piece of this filly, so that makes it even better. I am happy for everyone involved. It was surreal and crazy. I was crying.”
The horsewoman added, “She is just special. We have called her the unicorn the whole time we've had her.”
The Gladwells snatched up hip 1254 for $135,000 at Keeneland September, signing under the name of their longtime friend and partner Mark Marino.
“Mark is a really good friend of ours and we sign his name every now and then on horses we want to put in different partnerships,” Gladwell said. “It was a group of friends and everybody is very happy.”
The bay filly breezed the fastest quarter-mile of the sale when covering the distance in :20 1/5.
Oussama Aboughazale's International Equities Holdings purchased the filly's Grade III-winning dam Sheza Smoke Show (Wilko) for $185,000 with Hip 1254 in utero at the 2017 Keeneland November Sale.
“That was a battle,” Young said after securing the filly. “Originally we were just going to go to a million on her, but in the heat of the battle, we just kept going back and forth, back and forth. But, we got her and hopefully she will turn out to be what we think she is.”
The bloodstock agent continued, “I thought her work was unbelievable. Obviously, it was the fastest work that has ever been performed at the track, but it was also the way she did it. Even after doing 3/8ths in a sublime time of :32 or :32 1/5, I think I had, she still took the turn like a pro and galloped out the fourth furlong in good rhythm. Considering she had already been 3/8ths in :32 and change, that's saying something. I went to see her at the barn and she is just a beautiful filly.”
Not This Time won two of his four starts as a 2-year-old during his brief career, including the 2016 GIII Iroquois S. He came up a neck shy of champion Classic Empire (Pioneerof the Nile) in his final start in the GI Breeders' Cup Juvenile. The Taylor Made stallion already has two winners from his first crop, making him the leading freshman sire of 2020 so far.
“Not This Time is off to a great start at stud and he was a talented horse, who had his career cut short,” Young said. —@CDeBernardisTD
Candy Ride Colt Green All Over
Len and Jon Green went to $800,000 to secure a colt by Candy Ride (Arg) (hip 561) to run in the colors of their D. J. Stable Wednesday in Ocala. The Greens did their bidding on the phone with trainer Mark Casse joining the party line.
“I was on the phone with my dad and Mark Casse, who is going to be training the horse, and collectively we decided to go ahead and make that last bid,” said Jon Green. “We were already way past our budget, but we just felt like if you are looking for that kind of two-turn Derby horse, this is what you picture when you close your eyes at night. We were all on board to take a big, big swing at this one and I'm glad he'll end up representing our colors, hopefully sooner rather than later.”
The bay colt, who worked a furlong in :10 1/5 at last week's under-tack preview, was consigned by de Meric Sales and Green said his faith in the consignor gave him extra confidence to keep bidding.
“The de Merics are good friends and are really quality people,” he said. “We have done business with them for over 20 years and Nick told us, as he told a lot of people, that this is the type of horse that can go and run for you on a Saturday. And that's why we are in this business.”
Also this week in Ocala, D. J. Stable acquired a filly by Into Mischief (hip 282) for $300,000 Tuesday, but Green said bidding was competitive for those prized lots in the catalogue.
“We have literally been outbid on five or six to one,” he said. “So it was fun to get this one, but it's been a frustrating day, too. You go through and do all the work and get your list and everything, but you know what, there are a lot of smart people in this business that have a lot deeper pockets.”
He continued, “I think the top horses are selling very well. I think other horses are not finding the market as favorable. But if you are really going to go after a top athlete, whether it's a Candy Ride colt or an Into Mischief filly or something that has pedigree, looks and athleticism, you are going to have to spend a lot of money for it.”
While travel restrictions and concerns may have kept many people away from the sales grounds, Green said they are still plenty busy bidding remotely.
“From my desk in New Jersey, my understanding is that there aren't physically as many people there,” he said. “But I think the top end-users are being represented. If you go through the results, you are seeing a lot of the similar people that you see that buy at the 2-year-old sales. And they are still buying good, quality horses. You are still seeing West Point Thoroughbreds buying horses, Dennis O'Neill is buying horses, Cash is King is buying horses. So you are still seeing the racing operations down there that are buying. Obviously, I'm in New Jersey, Chuck Zacney is in Pennsylvania and Dennis O'Neill is probably in California. But we all still have people who are down there beating the bushes and trying to find good horses.”
Rare Juvenile Offering Rewards Dell Ridge
Hip 561 is out of Tamboz (Tapit), a full-sister to GI Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile winner Tapizar who has already produced multiple graded stakes placed Battalion Runner (Unbridled's Song) and Oceanwave (Harlan's Holiday). He was a rare 2-year-old offering from his breeder, Dell Ridge Farm.
“We always liked him all year long as a yearling and we decided to hold on to him to go to a 2-year-old in training sale,” explained Dell Ridge manager Des Ryan. “Tristan [de Meric] came out to look at him on the farm and he said he'd love to have him. He picked the sale and he's been very high on the horse all spring, the whole way along.”
With a boutique broodmare band of some 20 to 25 head, Dell Ridge traditionally offers much of its foal crop at the yearling sales.
“It is very unusual,” Ryan agreed of the farm's lone 2-year-old offering this year. “We used to sell 2-year-olds years ago, but it didn't fit our program and we will mostly sell them as yearlings now. Last year we had one with Tristan and this one again this year with him. He does a great job, he and his wife Valery, they are super good people. And I have to give him all of the credit.”
Dell Ridge purchased Tamboz, in foal to Tiznow, for $440,000 at the 2012 Keeneland November sale.
“It's a lovely family,” Ryan said. “Everything the mare throws runs. She has just been a phenomenal producer. She's always been a great mare to us and she always shows a nice horse. This particular colt was well-balanced and I loved the way he moved across the paddock. He was always a good horse, he was easy to be around and very straightforward.”
Of the colt's final price, Ryan added, “I think the price is great when you consider this market. We did have high expectations for him. He had all of the right people on him and he is a very nice horse. But whenever you get $800,000 in a market like this, it's very gratifying.”
Dell Ridge Farm is breeder of Grade I winners like Morning Line and Honor Code and Ryan said maintaining the farm's select broodmare band is always a work in progress.
“We don't race a lot, but we do keep one or two fillies a year and then we go out and buy some foals in the sales–pedigreed fillies in the sales in November if we see value there as well,” Ryan explained. “So we are always trying to add to our broodmare band. It's an ongoing process. We have had luck breeding Morning Line and Honor Code and those sort of horses over the years. We are trying to keep up with it.”
Distorted Humor Filly Joins Baoma Roster
Susan and Charlie Chu's Baoma Corp., which enjoyed graded stakes success with Bast (Uncle Mo) earlier this year, hopes to have a replacement for that talented filly with hip 1253, a daughter of Distorted Humor purchased for $700,000 Wednesday in Ocala.
“Bob [Baffert] and Donato [Lanni] called me this morning and told me they had found me a good horse,” Susan Chu said. “And then when I watched the breeze and the video, the filly looks beautiful.”
Chu said the filly's final price tag exceeded her expectations.
“When I was on the phone with Bob bidding, I was thinking probably half a million is probably a good price, but then the price just kept going. I know Bob. Bob never stops. When he says, 'Susan, I've got you a good horse,' then he'll just keep going and he'll never stop.”
Hip 1253 is expected to ship to Baffert's Southern California base Thursday morning, but Chu was able to virtually catch up with her new acquisition before she ships out of Florida.
“Jill and Bode [Baffert] and Donato showed me the filly on Facetime. They wanted me to see her,” Chu said.
Originally targeted at the canceled Fasig-Tipton Gulfstream sale, hip 1253 was consigned by Niall Brennan. Brennan purchased the filly for $100,000 at last year's Fasig-Tipton Saratoga New York-bred Yearlings Sale.
“We were delighted with that result,” Brennan said. “The Distorted Humor filly, they are not making too many more of them and he's a wonderful broodmare sire, so I think if she's a good filly, she'll have a lot of residual value down the road. And it doesn't hurt she's a New York-bred filly.”
He continued, “She is a filly with a future. She is not a Quarter Horse type. We never really worked her hard on the farm at all. She just did everything nice and easy. The first time we really asked her to run was over here at the sale, but she had the class, the ability and the quality to do it.”
Brennan's consignment also included a filly by Constitution who sold for $475,000 early in Wednesday's session of the Spring Sale with Ben McElroy signing on behalf of Narvick International. Out of Rebuke (Carson City), the filly is a half-sister to recent 'TDN Rising Star' Scolding (Carpe Diem) who sold for $475,000 at this auction last year. Bred by Andrew Rosen's AR Enterprises, she worked a quarter last week in :20 4/5.
“Several people had seen the filly at the farm earlier in the spring and she was already on some people's radar,” Brennan said of the filly. “And then when she breezed so well and came through the breeze show so well, I think she had already proven herself. And of course, the sire is doing excellent and the sister looks very promising. So the stars lined up for her.”
Pick View Sells Another Runhappy to Durant
Joe Pickerell's Pick View sent a son of Runhappy (hip 1262) through the sales ring Wednesday as the second session of the OBS Spring Sale steam rolled to its conclusion with a bevy of supplemental offerings originally destined for the boutique Fasig-Tipton Gulfstream Sale and the colt easily exceeded expectations when selling for $435,000 to the bid of Jerry Durant. Pick View sold a $475,000 Runhappy colt (hip 320) to Durant at OBS March.
“That was several bids above our reserve,” Pickerell said. “We tend to be pretty conservative with our reserves as a rule. We just try to get the horses moved along so we can do it again next year. We were pleasantly surprised with the activity he received after the breeze show. We knew he was a really strong horse, but first-year sires sometimes have a little bit of a cap on them.”
Out of Strange Romance (Mr. Greeley), the dark bay colt is a half-brother to stakes winner Ready for Romance (More Than Ready). He worked a quarter last week in :21 flat and turned heads with a powerful gallop-out.
Pickerell purchased the colt for $200,000 at last year's Fasig-Tipton October sale.
“There was a lot of substance to him last year,” Pickerell said. “There was a lot of body and a lot of athleticism. And he's grown a ton. He grew into a man of a horse. He just kept getting better all year.”
The colt was one originally intended for the Gulfstream sale, but Pickerell thinks the extra time could be good for all of the horses selling in this week's supplemental catalogue.
“I feel like it's going to help all of them,” he said. “I think we are going to see a really strong group of 3-year-olds next year due to the extra time we gave all of these horses.”
The blitzkrieg of offerings late Wednesday was no surprise to the consignor.
“Ideally it has to because those are the Miami horses selling late in the day,” Pickerell said of the uptick in later bidding. “So you expect it to pick up steam. There were some very special horses who sold today. I think everybody was expecting it to get exciting there at the end and it lived up to its expectations.”
Another son of Runhappy in Wednesday's supplemental section, hip 1266, RNA'd for $800,000. A half-brother to graded winner Shancelot (Shanghai Bobby), the colt was consigned by S B M Training and Sales on behalf of Bill and Corinne Heiligbrodt.
Nice Start to Spring Sale for Woodford
After kicking off the 2-year-old season with the sale of a $600,000 son of Upstart at OBS March–the most expensive colt sold at the two-day auction–Woodford Thoroughbreds has kept the momentum rolling during the first two days of trade at the OBS Spring Sale.
Highlights from the Woodford Spring Sale draft so far have included:
B-Grousemont Farm, Summerhill Farm & Ellen Chapman (KY)
*$200,000 KEESEP yearling (Woodford Thoroughbreds); $400,000 OBS Spring purchase by Spendthrift Farm
B-Gainesway Thoroughbreds (KY)
*$170,000 KEESEP yearling (Woodford Thoroughbreds); $350,000 OBS Spring purchase by Arman Shah
B-Candy Meadows (KY)
*$400,000 OBS Spring purchase by Bridlewood Farm
B-William Humphries & Altair Farms (KY)
*$225,000 RNA FTSAUG; $250,000 OBS Spring purchase by Steven W. Young, agent
“We bought some nice horses by top-brand stallions and they showed up at the right time,” Woodford's Director of Sales Beth Bayer said. “We had some good-pedigreed horses with strong gallop outs and the market was able to support them. [Woodford General Manager of Racing & Training] John Gleason liked [the Kantharos filly] all along. Once she breezed, we thought she would be very well received. She performed, showed up and did everything right. She's going to be a really nice filly.”
Bayer continued, “With everything going on in the world and in the business, the top end is still there and it's nice to see. People are hungry for good horses and they're willing to pay for the top breezes and top pedigrees for the horses that jump through all the hoops. I think people are anxious to get back into it and get horses back to the races. To see some normality again is great.” —@SteveSherackTDN
Eisaman Filly Had the it Factor for Fort
John Fort of Peachtree Stable has had his eye on Hip 388 for a while now and finally secured the daughter of The Factor Wednesday for $320,000. The gray breezed in :10 flat for Barry and Shari Eisaman's Eisaman Equine.
“I wouldn't have paid $320,000 if there was anything I didn't like,” Fort said. “She is a real sweetheart. She is the kind of girl that you take home to momma. She will go back to Eisaman for a week at least. That is where she was born and raised. I watched her train all spring, so I am very, very familiar with her.”
He added “It was a little more than I expected. It wasn't a lot more. I had the over/under at $250,000.”
When asked his thoughts on the market halfway through the second session of the OBS Spring Sale, Fort said, “It is hit or miss? I don't think this filly would have brought any more in April. In fact, maybe she would have brought less. Nobody is bidding on any horses that are below her. If you had more bidders bidding on those horses, maybe there would have been less bidders bidding on the top 2%-3% of the sale. Buyers know what they are doing and are still bidding on the same horses. There is just a small number of horses and small number of bidders. David Ingordo was the underbidder on this horse. It is kind of more of the same scenario.”
“We didn't really expect it to be that number, but she is a very nice filly,” Eisaman said. “She is very, very quick, very sound and vets very well. John Fort has been a regular customer of ours for many years. We break his horses at our farm. He saw this filly training at our farm and became attached to her.”