by Christie DeBernardis & Jessica Martini
OCALA, FL–A son of Coolmore's super-sire Uncle Mo (Hip 206) topped the opening session of the Ocala Breeders' Sales Company's Spring Sale Tuesday, summoning $2.3 million from Gary Young, who was acting on behalf of Amr Zedan's Zedan Racing Stables. It was the first $2-million sale since 2017 when a colt by Tiznow brought a record-breaking $2.45 million.
Purchased by Scott and Evan Dilworth for $250,000 at KEESEP, Hip 206 was consigned by the Jimbo and Torie Gladwell's Top Line Sales.
“April is a good sale,” Scott Dillworth said. “It's funny I sold a filly about 10 years ago here, her name was Tanda and she topped the session at $145,000 and here today you have a horse bring $2.3 million. This sale has just grown so much. It's a phenomenal sale.”
Eddie Woods also had a big pinhooking score with the day's highest-priced filly. Hip 199, a daughter of Violence purchased for $90,000 at FTKJUL, summoned $630,000 from Carolyn Wilson Tuesday.
Justify led the freshman class Tuesday with a $600,000 colt (Hip 11), who was also bought by Young for Zedan. Other first-crop stallions to crack the top 10 were Bolt d'Oro, Tapwrit, City of Light and Mendelssohn.
A total of 159 2-year-olds sold Tuesday for a gross of $21,849,000. The average was $137,415 and the median was $70,000. Fifty-four horses were led from the ring unsold for an RNA rate of 25.3%.
There were no seven-figure sellers during last year's opening session, when 194 horses grossed $18,362,900. The average was $94,654 and the median was $50,000. Thirty-one juveniles failed to sell during that session for an RNA rate of 13.8%. These stats include post-sale figures.
Both buyers and sellers described Tuesday's opener as “spotty.”
“It's very spotty,” Gary Young said. “If you bring the right horse in, you're getting paid. If the horse has any flaws or his preview was just so, so, they are having a little trouble selling them. The buyback rate looked about what you'd expect. When you have a 1200-horse sale, they aren't all going to be like that horse in there [the session-topping Uncle Mo colt].”
Woods expressed similar sentiments, saying, “It's a little spotty. Some of my buddies are saying the same. There is the odd horse getting money and the others not. Usually the best day here for me is the last day.”
The Spring Sale continues Wednesday with the second of four sessions beginning at 10:30 a.m.
Zedan Working on His Next Derby Prospects
Amr Zedan owned the ill-fated Medina Spirit (Protonico), who crossed the line first in last year's GI Kentucky Derby, and has one of this year's Derby favorites in 'TDN Rising Star' and GI Santa Anita Derby winner Taiba (Gun Runner).
Hip 206 inspired a fast, furious and prolonged round of bidding between the Coolmore contingent out back and Young, who did his bidding on the phone with Zedan from the pressbox alongside trainer Bob Baffert and his wife Jill. The bay colt will join Baffert's barn when he returns from his suspension.
“He was just a tremendous athlete,” Young said. “Everything about his preview was good. He was very nice at the barn. Mr. Zedan wants good colts to run this time of year. We obviously did okay last year with Taiba. We are hoping between this colt and the Nyquist [purchased for $700,000 at the Fasig-Tipton Gulfstream Sale], we have some nice horses for next year. I like this horse a lot. This horse acts like he can do anything to me. He will probably get a month out at Barry Eisaman's just to unwind and then join Bob's stable when he gets back right before Del Mar.”
As for the price, Young said, “We were prepared to go over $3 million on this horse if we had to. We knew going in there were a lot of big players on him. We kind of knew it might come down to us and Coolmore.”
Bred by Corser Thoroughbreds, Hip 206 is out of Borealis Night (Astrology), who is a half to GSP Kinsley Kisses (Congrats) and Spooky Woods (Ghostzapper). Purchased by Scott and Evan Dilworth for $250,000 at Keeneland September, the bay breezed in :9 4/5 for Jimbo and Torie Gladwell's Top Line Sales.
“He is a very well-balanced horse,” said Young. “He worked well. I trust Hidden Brook. I think they do a very good job down there. Bob Baffert would know Justify better than anyone and he was very bullish on this horse. That's about where we thought he'd go. We are happy to get him. The market is very strong.”
When asked if Hip 11 was their next Derby prospect, Young said, “That's what we are shopping for. Mr. Zedan likes looking for good colts. He was obsessed with the Derby before I went to work for him.”
Bred by Bonne Chance Farm, Hip 11 is out of the SP mare Unbound (Distorted Humor) and his third dam is Hall of Famer Personal Ensign (Private Account). The :10 flat breezer was scratched from the Fasig-Tipton October Sale last year.
He was just a smaller yearling, kind of a late bloomer, and we thought a 2-year-old sale would suit that horse really well,” Bonne Chance manager John Durr said. “It paid off for us, that's for sure.” —@CDeBernardisTDN
Uncle Mo Colt a Home Run for Dilworth
Scott Dilworth knew from the first time he saw the colt that he would be coming home with a son of Uncle Mo from the Terrazas Thoroughbreds consignment at last year's Keeneland September sale. Dilworth and his wife Evan purchased the yearling for $250,000 and reaped the rewards for the investment when selling him for $2.3 million at OBS Tuesday through the Top Line Sales consignment.
“He walked out of the stall and I just said, 'Wow.' That was it,” Dilworth said of his initial impressions of hip 206. “We went to look at him a ton of times–when you like one, you go back and look at him a few times–and I remember Eduardo Terrazas asked me, 'How come you are always smiling so big whenever you come see this horse?' And I said, 'He just makes me smile.'”
Dilworth continued, “John Bassett is a good friend of mine and he helped me get started in this business. He is the one that found him the first time. We fell in love with him. He's one of those kind that you know you are going to take home.”
Of the seven-figure result, the Texan said, “This is what I live for. I get wound up about it. I feel very blessed.”
The juvenile is from the first crop of horses bred on Mark Corser's Corser Thoroughbreds. He is out of Borealis Night (Astrology), who was purchased carrying the colt for $285,000 at the 2019 Keeneland November sale.
The result was bittersweet for Corser after the mare suffered a fatal paddock accident earlier in this month.
“That was the mare's first foal and she didn't have a foal last year,” Corser said. “She just dropped a Quality Road foal and two weeks later she had a paddock accident and I had to euthanize her.”
Despite the loss of the mare, Corser agreed there was a lot of pride in having a seven-figure colt come out of his fledgling breeding operation.
“It's absolutely fantastic. Right from when that colt was born, he had an aura about him and a presence,” Corser said. “We are a small farm, just starting out. I have two young girls and all of the horses that were born that year we named. And he was named Small Mo because he was a small horse when he was born and obviously an Uncle Mo. We would go out and kiss him and watch him grow up with his friends. We watched the horse blossom. I am really happy for the new owner. I can't wait to see what the horse does. And you can rest assured that I will be putting some money on him. I will be trying to get some of that $2.3 million.”
Woods Hits a Homerun With Violence Filly
Eddie Woods had a nice score during the opening session of OBS April Tuesday, selling a $630,000 Violence filly he purchased for just $90,000 at Fasig-Tipton's July Sale last term. Hip 199 was bought by owner Carolyn Wilson, who did her bidding alongside her trainer Larry Rivelli.
“We were specifically looking for one of the best fillies in the sale and this was,” Rivelli said. “We agreed we would take one shot and this is our shot. I am very happy. I don't usually get very excited, but I am with this one and I'm happy for Carolyn.”
The conditioner continued, “She is a big, correct, beautiful filly. She got over the ground perfectly. With her size, I think she is going to get more distance. To be able to have that kick and turn of foot, how can you go wrong? I am pretty confident she will be a nice filly. She vetted perfect. She was flawless. That's what we were looking for.”
An $82,000 KEENOV weanling bred by Twin Hopes Farm, Hip 199 is out of GSW Bold Union (Dixie Union), making her a half to GSP Bold Quality (Elusive Quality). She breezed in a snappy :20 2/5 for Woods during the under-tack show.
“The filly grew up beautifully,” Woods said. “She is very well balanced and was always really quick from the get-go. She vetted extremely well and is a really pretty, flashy filly. I always thought she'd go quick. I didn't think she'd go :20 2/5, but she did. It was great.” —@CDeBernardisTDN
Union Rags Filly Caps Big Day for Dilworth
Scott Dilworth's day in Ocala wasn't over with the sale of the $2.3-million Uncle Mo colt. The Texan came back late in the session to sell a filly by Union Rags (hip 306) for $525,000 to Red Baron's Barn or Rancho Temescal LLC. The chestnut, who was consigned by Raffaele Centofanti's Centofanti Thoroughbreds, was purchased by the Dilworths for $90,000 at the 2020 Keeneland November sale, but RNA'd for $105,000 at Keeneland last September.
“She was a nice filly and we didn't get any love on her at all as a yearling,” Dilworth said. “We thought she was nice enough to take on to a 2-year-old sale and that's what we did.”
Out of Corderosa (Aldebaran), the filly is a half-sister to stakes placed Orecchiette (Harlan's Holiday) and Lane Way (Into Mischief).
The filly worked a furlong last week in :9 4/5 and Dilworth gave plenty of credit to Centofanti for Tuesday's result.
“She was kind of hard to break and they took it very slow,” he said. “We were little bit worried about when they were going to get her here, but they got her here.”
Asked to assess his day at the office, Dilworth smiled and said, “It doesn't get any better than this.” @JessMartiniTDN
Back Ring Purchase Pays for Bobo
Tami Bobo and Fernando De Jesus, who will be represented in the GI Kentucky Derby by Simplification (Not This Time), will go into the First Saturday of May off a major pinhooking score in Ocala after selling a colt by Curlin (hip 66) for $510,000 to bloodstock agent David Ingordo during the first session of the OBS Spring Sale Tuesday. The couple had purchased the youngster for $40,000 at last year's Keeneland September sale.
“He was a strong, forward Curlin,” Bobo said of the colt's appeal last fall. “They are solid, trainable racehorses. You have to love a Curlin.”
Asked if she was surprised by the colt's yearling price tag, Bobo admitted, “Shocked.”
She continued, “Every year at Keeneland, I've been blessed in that back ring. I work that back ring pretty hard. I saw him first in the back ring, followed him up and bought him. It's just my buying style. It's just myself and Fernando, so we can't short list after Book 1. So they walk in the back ring and we make split-second decisions what we are going to pay and walk up and buy them. I've made relationships over the years with consignors that I can trust, so this happened to be with a consignor I trusted and she told me everything was good. So I bought the horse based on her word.”
As for her impending date in Louisville, Bobo said, “Simplification is doing wonderful. I try not to call and get the daily updates on him because it's so nerve-wracking at this point. Life is just such a blessing to have these amazing horses. To be a part of their career paths is just amazing.”
As Bobo was talking, the Derby contender's trainer Antonio Sano walked by to congratulate her on the pinhooking success.
“He trained him this morning, came here today and he is leaving to go back to train him tomorrow,” Bobo said of her trainer, who confirmed the sophomore was doing well. “Having the relationship I have with Antonio makes me want to race more. It's like a family. It makes horse racing fun.”
Ingordo made the winning bid on the colt, who was consigned by de Meric Sales, out back standing alongside trainer John Sherriffs and CRK Stable's Lee Searing and signed under Mayberry Farm.
“I bought him for CRK Stables and he'll go to California with John Sherriffs,” Ingordo confirmed.
Bred by Stonestreet Thoroughbred Holdings, Hip 66 is out of graded winner Winding Way (Malibu Moon), a full-sister to multiple graded winner Kauai Katie.
“There wasn't anything not to love,” Ingordo said of the colt. “He's by Curlin, he has some page and he breezed beautiful (:10 1/5) and vetted good. He's the kind of horse that, if John gets him to the promised land, we can stand him as a stallion one day.” @JessMartiniTDN