By Jessica Martini
A short yearling by Union Rags topped Tuesday’s consignor preferred session of the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Company’s Winter Mixed Sale when selling for $165,000 to the Blue Sky Stables pinhooking partnership led by Brian Graves. The dark bay colt (hip 4) was consigned by Pelican State Thoroughbreds as agent for breeder David Fennelly’s Mountmellick Farm.
The yearling, out of La Milanesa (Mr. Greeley), is a half-brother to stakes winner Ginger N Rye (More Than Ready). His second dam, multiple Grade I placed Hometown Queen (Pleasant Colony), produced graded stakes winner Bowman’s Band (Dixieland Band).
“He stood out physically more than anything,” consignor Terry Gabriel said of the colt. “He’s a grand-looking horse with a big eye and a pretty walk. He was all that.”
Of the April foal’s placement in the OBS sale, Gabriel added, “He was one that was really far behind early on and we decided just to wait on him. He came around and was ready. [OBS Sales Coordinator] Chad Johnson saw him up in Kentucky 90 days ago and said, ‘You know, you should bring him here because they’re going to like him a lot.’ So he convinced me that that was the right avenue.”
Mountmellick Farm purchased La Milanesa, in foal to Liam’s Map for $170,000 at the 2018 Keeneland January sale. Her Liam’s Map colt sold for $95,000 at last year’s Keeneland September Yearling Sale.
During Tuesday’s consignor preferred section, 137 of the 186 catalogued head went through the ring, with 85 selling for $1,913,500. The average rose 34% to $22,512 and the median was up 8.3% to $13,000. The buy-back rate was 38%. The session topper was one of three short yearlings to sell for six figures on the day. The top price for a yearling at the auction in 2019 was $75,000.
Ralph M. Evans purchased the highest-priced offering in the Horses of Racing Age section, going to $125,000 to acquire Summer at the Spa (Summer Front) (hip 219) from the Niall Brennan Stables consignment. The 3-year-old filly is a winner in one start for Mike Ryan and trainer Jimmy Toner after closing stoutly to take her debut over the Aqueduct turf last November. A $60,000 Fasig-Tipton New York-bred Yearling purchase in 2018, she sold for $55,000 at last year’s OBS April Sale.
A total of 67 horses of racing age sold Tuesday for a gross of $1,314,400. The average was $19,618 and the median was $11,000.
Pelican State Thoroughbreds sold five yearlings Tuesday at OBS and Gabriel said demand in the sales ring continued to be polarized.
“We were really busy all of the way through with every horse,” Gabriel said. “They were pretty particular about what they were looking for. Like any other sale anymore, they were kind of settling on the top. So you get a pile of people on the Union Rags and you don’t get anybody on anybody else. It’s kind of the trend.”
The OBS Winter Sale continues with an open session beginning at 11 a.m. Wednesday.