OBS Spring Sale Ticks Along Thursday

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Session-topping Hip 830 in the ring | Judit Seipert

by Jessica Martini & Christie DeBernardis

OCALA, FL – While there weren't the seven-figure fireworks of its second session, action remained brisk during the third session of the Ocala Breeders' Sales Company's Spring Sale of 2-Year-Olds in Training Thursday.

“There was still plenty of activity,” OBS Director of Sales Tod Wojciechowski said at the conclusion of business Thursday afternoon. “Maybe there was a natural ebb and flow of horses in the catalogue, but there were still a lot of horses who sold well today.”

With a handful of high-priced pinhooks, de Meric Sales was the session's leading consignor with 12 sold for $2,368,000, including the day's top-priced offering, a filly by Curlin purchased by Pete Bradley for $670,000.

Through three of four sessions, 540 horses have sold for $54,310,000. The cumulative average is $100,574 and the median is $50,000. With 98 horses reported not sold, the buy-back rate was just 15.4%.

At last year's pandemic-delayed Spring sale, 475 horses sold through the auction's first three days for a gross of $40,350,500. The average was $84,948 and the median was $49,000.

At this point in the pre-pandemic 2019 auction, 519 horses had sold for $56,217,000 for an average of $108,318 and a median of $65,000.

“There was action at all levels,” Wojciechowski said of Thursday's session. “Somebody asked me earlier in the week about the lack of Korean buyers here because of the changes in what their government allows them to purchase. I said that I felt like we had the capability of picking up that slack domestically and it has certainly borne out that way.”

Consignors and buyers alike have been impressed by the strength of the market in Ocala this week.

“It is a fantastic sale.” consignor Eddie Woods said. “I think there is more money here than there are horses to be bought. There is all kinds of money for the good horses.”

After signing the ticket on the session-topper, Bradley echoed those sentiments.

“There is tremendous depth to the market,” Bradley said. “Ciaran [Dunne] said it the other day. Even the lower end of this market is more than surviving. There are people there for $30,000 and $50,000 horses. Which we really need to see. This is as strong as I've seen this market, especially given what this world has come through. It is still awash in money. There is a lot of money out there. And this sale has been great for the guys who pinhooked this year. It took a lot of guts to pinhook this year. People in the horse business have guts and short memories. And that always helps in this game.”

The Spring Sale concludes with a final session Friday with bidding beginning at 10:30 a.m.

“I think it will be a good day,” Wojciechowski said. “People who have maybe been unable to buy anything for the last three days might have a sense of urgency and there are still some really good horses tomorrow. I expect it will be a good day.”

Bradley Splurges for Curlin Filly

Bloodstock agent Pete Bradley helped contribute to a big day for the de Meric Sales consignment when he purchased a filly by Curlin (hip 830) for $670,000 at OBS Thursday. The bay juvenile, purchased by the de Merics for $200,000 at last year's Keeneland September sale, is out of graded winner Funny Proposition (Medaglia d'Oro). She worked a furlong in :10 1/5 during last week's under-tack preview.

“I bought her for a partnership,” Bradley said after signing the ticket on the filly. “She put in one of the best works of the day. And a Curlin–what do you say? And a Curlin filly–what do you say twice? She wasn't cheap, in this market though where horses are bringing $500,000 and $600,000 with little or no pedigree–that's not a slight, that's just what it is–that's what I thought we would have to pay for her. And I got lucky and I got her.” @JessMartiniTDN

Brother to Top Oaks Contender Proves Popular 

Hip 644 has gotten a big update since the de Merics purchased him for $100,000 at Keeneland September with his full-sister Search Results (Flatter) opening her account with a trio of wins, including the GIII Gazelle S. Now one of the leading GI Kentucky Oaks contenders, she made her brother a coveted prize in Ocala and it was Lauren Carlisle who won out after a vigorous round of bidding early in Thursday's session, taking the chestnut home for $625,000.

“He is a beautiful homebred for Machmer Hall, great partners and friends of ours,” Tristan de Meric said. “They raise a horse beautifully. Obviously, the update with Search Results going to the Oaks and being one of the favorites, couldn't have had better timing. This horse did a lot of it on his own, but the update didn't hurt at all. We have high expectations for him. He should have a bright future. He was an awesome student. He wants to run. He is everything we love about Thoroughbreds.”

Carlisle was acting on behalf of an undisclosed client, but said the colt would be trained by Tom Amoss. MyRacehorse, who has been quite active at this sale, signed on as a partner.

“We are super pumped about [Search Results],” said Carlisle. “Hopefully, in a week, she might have a really big update. We thought the colt was an outstanding physical. He had a good video [:10 1/5]. There wasn't anything to not like about him.”

Hip 644 was bred by Sandy Willwerth and Carrie and Craig Brogden's Machmer Hall, which also bred his GSP dam Co Cola (Candy Ride {Arg}) and his undefeated full-sister, who was purchased by Mike Ryan for $310,000 at Keeneland September. Co Cola produced a Nyquist colt this year and was bred back to Flatter.

“Every time he breezed it was even better,” Carrie Brogden, standing alongside her mother, Sandy Willwerth. “Then we got lucky with Search Results. She was actually a day topper [at KEESEP]. We had the mare catalogued to sell in foal, but after [Search Results] was a day topper, we scratched the mare. We actually bred [Co Cola], sold her and she became a graded stakes horse. When she was done racing, Chris Brothers called me privately and we bought her back as a broodmare prospect, so it is circular for us.”

The horsewoman continued, “I love the fact it is women, Valery [de Meric] and I and my mom and Lauren. These women are making their voices heard. Twenty years ago when I moved to Kentucky, you didn't see that. Now things have changed. It was completely Valery's decision to buy that Flatter colt off of us and I encouraged her. We have one of our good luck partners Gus King in on the horse and it is just a dream.”

The de Merics and Brogdens enjoyed more success during Thursday's session. Their Curlin half-brother to champion Drefong (Gio Ponti) (Hip 744) bringing $425,000 from Mike Ryan and a Curlin filly (Hip 830) summoning $670,000 from Pete Bradley.

“I can't say enough about our relationship with the de Merics,” Brogden said. “We trust in each other. We have done so well with our homebreds and they allow us to retain pieces.”
@CDeBernardisTDN

Van Leer Perseveres for One of the Last Pioneers

It was a match race to the wire for Hip 786, but it was Gayle Van Leer who crossed the line first to take home a colt from the last full crop of Pioneerof the Nile for $575,000 on behalf of Kretz Racing. The colt will join the barn of California-based conditioner George Papaprodromou.

“These kinds of horses are so difficult to buy,” Van Leer said. “We have been trying all week, so it is nice to get something we really wanted. That was the horse we targeted from the very beginning, but it's been very tough to buy at the top end, so we are very glad to be able to get him.”

She continued, “I loved his balance. He is just put together so nicely and has a lovely stride to him. He is just a solid type that we think can be a two-turn horse.”

The dark bay colt breezed in a sharp :20 4/5 for Eddie Woods during last week's breeze show.

“I knew he would sell really well, but you never know what they can bring,” Woods said. “You need a duel like the one that just happened to make it happen for you. We had a lot of good people on him and rightly so because he is a really nice horse.”

Hip 786 is the second foal out of Fancy Day (Ire) (Shamardal), whoo is a daughter of GSW Tizdubai (Cee's Tizzy). A $145,000 RNA at Keeneland September, he was bred by WinStar and is from the last full crop of their top stallion Pioneerof the Nile, who died in March of 2019 after breeding just a few mares.

“He didn't look anything like that as a yearling,” Woods said. “He was a small, undeveloped horse, but he just bloomed through the winter and worked fantastic.”
@CDeBernardisTDN

First Pinhook a Score for Eisaman

While parents Barry and Shari Eisaman have gone from strength to strength–led by the $850,000 homebred colt by Gun Runner Tuesday–this week in Ocala, it was their 22-year-old daughter Kristina who got into the action late in Thursday's third session of the Spring sale. The younger Eisaman celebrated her acceptance into vet school by selling a colt by Klimt (Hip 902) for $310,000. She had purchased the juvenile, her first-ever pinhook attempt, for $25,000 at last year's Keeneland September sale.

Eisaman said she always planned to follow in the veterinary footsteps of her father, but it wasn't until recently that she decided to also make the family's Ocala operation part of her future.

“I always knew I wanted to do veterinary medicine, but it wasn't until I got older and was in college that I realized that pinhooking was what I wanted to do and I started getting more interested in what my parents do,” Eisaman said Thursday afternoon. “I always knew I wanted to do something with horses, but it wasn't until this past year that I knew this is what I wanted to do.”

Her decision was helped along by the pandemic, which last spring interrupted her studies at the University of Florida.

“I kind of think COVID had a lot to do with it, because I never would have come home,” Eisaman said. “I would never have come back to the farm and I would never have started working  with my dad. So it's a blessing in disguise. I found what I want to do and I've found my passion. I am so thankful for that.”

With her new found direction, Eisaman headed to Lexington with her parents last September.

“I had just gotten off the plane [in Lexington] and I was standing there with my parents,” Eisaman recalled. “And my mom said, 'We are just looking at what catches our eye.' And this chestnut colt came in and I said, 'Hey, mom. Look at this.' We looked further into him and decided let's go for him. And we did.”

Eisaman signed her first ticket on the colt from the first crop of GI Del Mar Futurity winner Klimt last fall and watched him blossom into his 2-year-old form which saw him work a furlong at last week's under-tack show in :10 flat. The colt was purchased Thursday by Kaleem Shah, who also campaigned his sire.

“He has changed a lot,” Eisaman said of the juvenile. “He's always been very mature, but he's gotten bigger and he's so built. He always comes out and does the right thing. He knows what he supposed to do and he's very businesslike. But he's aggressive. At the breeze show, they could barely pull him up after he galloped out. He is all business. And I really like that about him. He loves to train, which I think is very important. He's very competitive. The more he trains, the more it seems like that is what he wants to do. He has the right mentality.”

The colt was popular at the barn all week, but Eisaman said she tried to temper her expectations.

“I knew he was looked at a lot and I knew that he was probably going to go for six figures, but I didn't want to get my hopes up too much,” she said. “But everybody kept saying,

'You're going to get into vet school this week and then you're going to pay for vet school this week.' Once it hit $120,000, I thought, 'That pays for my vet school.' I was kind of in shock, though. I was just watching as the numbers ticked up.”

In addition to vet school, Eisaman is hoping to invest in additional yearlings this coming fall, but she is going into the business with her eyes wide open.

“It's a hard lifestyle,” she said. “And I am aware of that and I am not going into it blindly. I am aware that it's challenging and I am looking forward to that challenge.” @JessMartiniTDN

Ramirez Scores with Shackleford Colt

Omar Ramirez, who spent the last 12 years learning the trade with the Gladwells' Top Line Sales, is consigning under his own name at just his second auction, but scored a pinhooking coup with the sale of a colt by Shackleford (Hip 747) for $285,000 to GMP Stables LLC/Anthony Melfi Thursday in Ocala. Ramirez had purchased the colt with a client for $35,000 at last year's Fasig-Tipton Midlantic Fall Yearlings Sale.

“I bought him for me and my client at the Maryland sale. That was my first time at that sale,” Ramirez said while celebrating his biggest result to date. “He had a beautiful conformation and he had a beautiful walk. His mind was so good, the same with him here. He was a classy horse. I said to my client, 'We need to get him.' I thought he might go for more, so I was very happy to get him for $35,000.”

The chestnut colt is out of Elusive Tara (Elusive Quality), a half-sister to graded winner Big Bend (Union Rags) and multiple graded placed Miss Chatelaine (Pulpit). He worked a furlong in :10 flat during last week's under-tack show.

“I knew coming into this sale he was going to be one of my big horses,” Ramirez said. “I didn't know how good he was going to work with the weather and he worked late in the afternoon. But he did everything right.”

Ramirez offered a pair of fillies in his first consignment at the OBS March sale and sold a daughter of Uncaptured for $65,000.

His eight-horse April consignment is stabled in Barn 13, just across from the Top Line consignment in Barn 14.

“I had been working for Top Line for 12 years,” Ramirez said. “They taught me a lot. They are like my family, so I love them and they've been supporting me so much. I told them this winter that I wanted to do this venture and they said ok. That's why I'm next to them.”

While Ramirez made his first trip to the Midlantic Yearling sale last fall, it likely isn't his last visit to the Timonium auction.

“I bought six horses over there and they all worked really well here,” Ramirez said. “I have a couple more coming today and tomorrow. I am sure I will go back for that sale.”

@JessMartiniTDN

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