Third Session of OBS April Ends With a Bang

Session-topping Hip 885 in the ringJudit Seipert

by Jessica Martini & Christie DeBernardis

OCALA, FL–Action started off measured at the Ocala Breeders' Sales Company's Spring Sale's third session Thursday, but picked up noticeably throughout the day, capped by a $1.7-million Tapit colt purchased by Lane's End Racing and West Point Thoroughbreds. Hip 885 was the fourth seven-figure seller of the sale so far.

There were a few new faces buying in the top end Thursday with Christine and Phil Hatfield's CHP Racing purchasing a $870,000 son of Into Mischief (Hip 844); trainer Cherie DeVaux securing a $685,000 City of Light (Hip 895) colt on behalf of a new colt-buying group; and Lauren Carlisle snagging a $650,000 Kingman (GB) (Hip 904) filly for brand new owner Rich Schermerhorn.

While leading sires Tapit and Into Mischief headlined the day's action, freshman sires continued to make a strong showing. In addition to the aforementioned City of Light, Bolt d'Oro, Army Mule, Tapwrit and Good Magic all had juveniles bring $400,000 or over.

Eddie Woods, who consigned the session topper, led all sellers Thursday with seven head bringing just north of $3,005,000. Niall Brennan, who sold both the previously mentioned Into Mischief colt and Kingman filly, also had a strong day, coming in second with six horses selling for $2,382,000.

Through the first three days of selling, 538 horses have brought $72,814,500 with an average of $135,343 and median of $70,000. There were 106 juveniles led from the ring unsold for an RNA rate of 16.5%.

During the equivalent three sessions last year, 557 2-year-olds grossed $54,811,900 with an average of $98,406 and median of $47,000. There were 79 horses that failed to sell for an RNA rate of 12.4%.

“The market is very good,” Brennan said. “Obviously, people are still focused on quality. They do their homework. Anything that is genuinely nice and shows up that way on the racetrack and vets good, sells very well. You have to jump through a lot of hoops. You are very exposed in the 2-year-old market. So, when you get through everything, you are very well rewarded. It is difficult, but when you have the right product, they sell well. If you have something that just misses the bullseye, you are going to struggle.”

Ciaran Dunne expressed similar sentiments, saying, “It is very spotty. We have obviously had a couple bright spots, but in between can be shaky. It is the nature of our game. We are so exposed between breezing, showing and vetting. There are a lot of hurdles they have to go over, but if you clear them all, you are well rewarded.”

The fourth and final session of the OBS Spring Sale starts at 10:30 a.m. Friday.

Tapit Colt Takes Off at OBS

A colt by Tapit (hip 885) became the fourth seven-figure juvenile of the OBS Spring sale when bringing a final bid of $1.7 million from West Point Thoroughbreds' Terry Finley Thursday in Ocala. The juvenile was purchased by West Point in partnership with Lane's End Racing.

“We are looking for stallion in that partnership,” Finley, who did his bidding out back alongside David Ingordo, explained. “A good number of the people in this partnership have equity in [GI Malibu S. winner] Flightline (Tapit), so everybody is excited. The economy is doing well and the horse market at the top end is really doing well.”

The colt is out of Pension (Seeking the Gold) and is a full-brother to GII Adirondack S. winner Thoughtfully, as well as a half to graded winner Annual Report (Harlan's Holiday).

West Point purchased the colt's half-brother Bugle Notes (Ghostzapper) for $825,000 at the 2016 Keeneland September sale.

“We had a half-brother who could really, really run and just got unlucky and took a bad step one day,” Finley said. “But I think he might have been among the most talented of all of our horses. That was in the back of our mind [when we were bidding today.]”

Shug McGaughey will train the youngster, who was consigned by Eddie Woods on behalf of his breeder, Antony Beck's Gainesway.
Gainesway, which purchased Pension for $160,000 at the 2008 Keeneland November sale, traditionally offers its foal crop at the yearling sales.

“We had quite a few Tapits on offer last year and the horse was a little bit immature,” Gainesway's Brian Graves said of the decision to send the colt to the 2-year-old sales. “To be honest with you, like some immature yearlings, some of the feedback we were getting on him was that he might not bring a price that would make the boss happy. Just the way the yearling sales have been for a while, he's a horse who would have ended up in Book 1 because he had a beautiful pedigree. So we just decided to give him some more time. He was a beautiful-moving horse and we thought worth a shot.”

The Gainesway team received positive feedback from Eddie Woods and expectations rose even higher after the colt worked a quarter-mile in :20 4/5.

“We didn't really have expectations when we sent him to Eddie,” Graves said. “Eddie is not a guy who overinflates things. He is a tough guy to please. So when he started giving reports on the horse, we thought we might have something. Then when he breezed and galloped out among the fastest horses in the sale, we knew he was something. I would be lying if I said we didn't think about racing him and hopefully stand him in a stallion stall one day, but there was a lot of competition for him and we are elated with this result.”

Graves concluded, “We take our yearlings to the market to sell, but if they don't want them or if it's brutally unfair, as opposed to giving them away, this is what we decided to do and it paid off.” @JessMartiniTDN

More Mischief at OBS

Not a horse sale goes by these days without Into Mischief's name among the toppers and a colt by the Spendthrift super sire (Hip 844) was in high demand Thursday, summoning $870,000 from Christine and Phil Hatfield's CHP Racing. The Hatfields did their bidding over the phone with OBS's Tom Ventura.

Purchased by Park View Stable for $180,000 at KEESEP, the bay breezed in :10 1/5 for consignor Niall Brennan.

“People just gravitated to him the last couple of days,” Brennan said. “We felt he would sell well. You never for sure how high they will go. He has stallion potential and that is what they are looking for now with these colts.”

Bred by Jane Lyon's Summer Wind Farm, Hip 844, who was given the name Hazing by his breeder, is out of No Curfew (Curlin). She is a daughter of one of Lyon's foundation mares, SW & GSP Misty Hour (Miswaki), who has produced the likes of GSW India (Hennessy), dam of MG1SW Mozu Ascot (Frankel {GB}) and SW Kareena (Medaglia d'Oro); SW Pilfer (Deputy Minister), dam of GISWs To Honor and Serve (Bernardini) and Angela Renee (Bernardini); and SW & GSP Sing Softly (Hennessy).

“He was raised right from the start,” Brennan said. “The sire is magic. This horse is just a wonderful representation of him. He is so typical of the sire. He is durable. He is tough. He is a great mover on the racetrack. He's got great balance and strength and vetted very clean.” —@CDeBernardisTDN

Shadwell Private Purchases Prove Popular

A Shadwell Farm-bred Medaglia d'Oro colt (Hip 709) consigned by Ciaran Dunne's Wavertree Stables was the second private purchase from the late Sheikh Hamdan's operation to attract a big price tag at OBS April, summoning $650,000 from BBA Ireland, which bid over the internet. Late in Wednesday's session, a Nyquist filly, who Barry Eisaman privately purchased from Shadwell, brought $700,000 from D.J. Stable.

“We have to give a lot of the credit to Steve Young,” said Dunne. “He talked us into going out [to Shadwell] to look at the horse. He was very high on him. We bought him when we were up there for the October Sale at Fasig-Tipton. He's just a nice horse. He was a little later developing. We took him down to Gulfstream, but we felt the extra couple weeks would do him good, so we decided to wait and bring him here. He is the type of horse where the best is yet to come.”

Out of the unraced Tapit mare Mahasen, Hip 709 is a half to recent Weber City Miss S. runner-up Khuluq (Bernardini), trained by Chad Brown for Shadwell. The :10 1/5 breezer's second dam is SW Muhaawara (Unbridled's Song), who also produced GSW Shagaf (Bernardini). His third dam is MGISW Habibti (Tabasco Cat).

“We liked everything about him really,” said BBA Ireland's Michael Donohoe, who returned to Ireland Wednesday. “He is a magnificent-looking colt, a nice blend of both his sire and dam sire. He breezed exceptionally well for a big, two-turn type colt. His pedigree was appealing and the update with his sister helped. So, all in all, we couldn't really fault him.”

The future plans for the colt are still undecided, but Donohoe indicated he could remain in the United States.

“I purchased him for a client who has a number of horses in Europe and the Middle East and one 2-year-old has just gone to California. So, I will try to convince my client to send the colt to Santa Anita to target those stakes 2-year-old races during the fall meet.” —@CDeBernardisTDN

New Colt-Buying Group Makes Their Presence Felt

Partnerships focused on buying Classic-looking colts are increasingly popular these days and a new group showed themselves at OBS Thursday. Trainer Cherie DeVaux struck on behalf of a group of her clients to acquire a $685,000 colt by City of Light (Hip 895).

“A couple of my clients put together a partnership to get a few really nice quality colts, who looked like they could go a route of ground,” said DeVaux, who signed the ticket alongside her husband, bloodstock agent David Ingordo. “This colt fit the profile of what we were looking for. We budgeted a bit less, but the market is really strong. To try and get these types of colts, we realize we are going to have to stretch for what we want.”

Hailing from the first crop of popular MGISW City of Light, Hip 895 breezed in :10 1/5 for Mayberry Farm. He is the second purchase of the sale for DeVaux's new group, which also bought a $385,000 colt by Upstart (Hip 135) during Tuesday's opening session.

“This is City of Light's first crop to hit the track and there has been a lot of buzz,” DeVaux said. “They are beautiful horses. He had a beautiful physical and really great breeze with a nice gallop out. He seems to be coming into his own and is a horse we have followed at Mayberry Farm. He is going the right way.”

Bred by Windylea Farm–New York, albeit in Kentucky, Hip 895 is out of SP Pleasant Mine (Mineshaft). This is also the family of GISW Swagger Jack and GSW Tap Dance. The dark bay was purchased by a Mayberry client, PSS Stable, for $170,000 at the Fasig-Tipton July Sale.

“He's been wonderful,” April Mayberry said. “I loved him from the start. He's been so cool and classy. He just does everything right.” —@CDeBernardisTDN

De Merics Find Homebred Success

De Meric Sales has enjoyed plenty of pinhooking success this week in Ocala, but Tristan and Valery de Meric hit it out of the park with a homebred son of Bolt d'Oro (hip 899) late in Thursday's third session of the OBS Spring sale. Out of Polyester (Tiz Wonderful), the first mare the couple owned, the colt sold for $675,000 to the partnership of Laurie Plesa, Leon Ellman and Glassman Racing. He was co-bred with France and Irwin Weiner.

The de Merics purchased Polyester for $90,000 as an 8-year-old at the 2018 Keeneland January sale.

“This was the first mare we owned,” Tristan de Meric explained. “The reason we owned her is because Val had a dream to have a mare in foal to Quality Road and she was the only one in the sale. We ended up buying her five years ago now. She hadn't had a winner at that time. But she's five-for-five now.”

The mare's Quality Road filly, named In a Dream, made three starts and broke her maiden last June at Indiana Grand. She returned to the de Merics' Ocala base and is currently in foal to Upstart. The mare has also been represented by graded stakes winner Harpers First Ride (Paynter).

Polyester, in foal to Authentic, was sold for $250,000 at this year's Keeneland January sale.

“It's hard enough to buy a horse like that, let alone breed one,” de Meric said of Thursday's result. “It's unbelievable.”

He agreed there was a little extra pride in having bred a sales horse.

“We are always attached to our horses, we are guilty of that,” he said. “But you don't get as attached to a horse when you buy it as when you breed them. When we buy them, there is a period of time we own them and it's usually six to 10 months, but having this one and seeing him when he was a day old over at Ocala Stud when they foaled him, we knew when we saw those angles and we saw him stand up, this was a special horse. To watch him develop and have the crew on the farm play with him all summer, it was very special.”

Polyester had good company on the de Merics' farm last summer. The only other mare on the property was Simply Confection (Candy Ride {Arg}), whose colt Simplification, bred by the Weiners, heads to the GI Kentucky Derby in two weeks.

Asked if he and his wife expected to get more involved in the breeding industry, de Meric said, “We are all in. I don't want to ever have more than five or six mares, but I love having the mares. Val does, too.”

He continued, “We do race. We offered a few people to keep a piece of him to go on and race because we do race more and more. But as a rule, we are sellers and we will always put them on the market.”

Hip 899 will be the second foal out of Polyester to race for Karl and Cathi Glassman, who purchased her son Klugman (Practical Joke) for $140,000 at the 2020 OBS October Yearling Sale. A 13-length maiden winner at Gulfstream in February, the 3-year-old won an allowance at Gulfstream just before the Glassmans began bidding on his half-brother Thursday.

“We fully own Klugman,” Karl Glassman said. “But this colt is a partnership between Laurie Plesa, Leon Ellman and Glassman Racing. Eddie Plesa will train him, so he will stay in Florida.”

Of the colt's final price, Glassman admitted, “This was a bit more than we expected. Obviously two other people really liked him, but we were going to leave with him.” @JessMartiniTDN

Upstate NY Native Jumps into the Game With Juvenile Purchases

Real estate developer Rich Schermerhorn has lived just north of Saratoga his entire life, but only attended the races for the first time last year and now he's hooked. He jumped right into ownership at OBS this week with a trio of purchases led by a $650,000 Kingman (GB) filly (Hip 904). Bloodstock agent Lauren Carlisle bid on Schermerhorn's behalf.

“I am new to this game,” said a jubilant Schermerhorn, who hopes to be racing at Saratoga this summer with his new purchases. “I am a real estate developer and I have lived 20 miles north of Saratoga my whole life. I went to the track for the first time last year and now I own six or seven 2-year-olds. I purchased three here, two solo and partnered on this one. I live across the street from Chad Brown. I feel Chad Brown is the best in the world. He is taking on anything I buy. There is more to come and I am looking forward to it.”

Consigned by Niall Brennan, Hip 904 was bred in Ireland by Demers Bloodstock and was scratched from the Tattersalls October Sale. The :10 flat breezer is out of Post Perfection (Majesticperfection), who is a half-sister to GSW Hello Liberty (Forest Camp) and SW & GSP Pious Ashley (Include). This is also the family of recent GIII Providencia S. winner and GI Starlet S. runner-up Cairo Memories (Cairo Prince).

“There is only one trainer fit for this horse. We knew that,” said Carlisle. “When she breezed, I got goosebumps. Her gallop out was great and she had a great presence at the barn.”

As for the price, she said, “That is what we expected. In this market it has been extremely hard to buy the ones you are high on.” —@CDeBernardisTDN

Cairo Prince Filly to Sadler

A filly by Cairo Prince (hip 839) will be joining the Southern California barn of trainer John Sadler after selling to the fledgling partnership between Gary Hartunian's Rockingham Ranch and Mike Talla for $575,000 at OBS Thursday. Bloodstock agent Kim Lloyd signed the ticket on the filly, who worked a furlong in :9 4/5 last week for Hal Hatch's Halcyon Hammock Farm.

“A Cairo Prince [Cairo Memories] just won a Grade III at Santa Anita, 1 1/8 miles on the turf [Providencia S.] and this filly looks like she'd love that,” Lloyd said. “We showed her to Rockingham Ranch and Mike Talla saw the video and said he wanted in. She'll go to California to John Sadler.”

The gray filly is out of the unraced Nippy (Pulpit) and is a half-sister to graded winner Gibberish (Lea) and from the family of graded winner Well Monied and Economic Model.

“She has a beautiful shoulder and balance and then, oh by the way, she's very, very fast,” Lloyd said of the filly's appeal.

Hip 839 was Lloyd's second purchase this week on behalf of the partnership. He also acquired a filly by West Coast (hip 507) for $250,000 Wednesday.

“He has some horses with us, just a few 2-year-olds,” Lloyd said of Talla. “[The partnership] is new this year.”

Bred by Dell Ridge Farm, hip 839 was purchased by Hatch for $62,000 at last year's Keeneland September sale.

“She looked fast and she was fast,” Hatch said of the filly. “All I ever did was say, 'Don't let her go too fast,' all season. We brought her over here and let her do what she could do naturally. She has just been real easy the whole way.” @JessMartiniTDN

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