Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Observations from OBS March

The late Scat Daddy was represented by a $535,000 filly.
With over 300 2-year-olds finding new homes at the two-day Ocala Breeders’Co March Sale of 2-year-olds in training, there was much to take in at the second major 2-year-old sale of the season. 

While not as many horses caused the $1-million mark fireworks seen at Fasig-Tipton’s Florida Sale, there was still enough to keep buyers entertained throughout the sale.

Here are a few observations from the sale on stallions, buyers, and fairy tale purchases.

Farewell to Smart Strike – Buyers still have a few more years before they are faced with trying to purchase horses from the final Smart Strike (Mr. Prospector) crop but his farewell tour was well underway at OBS March. His only yearling to sell at Fasig-Tipton Florida earlier this month sold for $200,000 but he bested that by more than $1-million with a colt out of Grade 2-placed Glamorista selling for $1.7-million to top the sale. Overall, the former leading sire had a good few days with all four of his offerings finding new homes (one as a private sale) at prices from $125,000 to $1.7-million. Smart Strike has 97 2-year-olds, according to Equineline, so don’t be surprised if he has a few more standouts in upcoming sales.
Smart Strike
Young Sires – While not as many of the most expensive horses were by young stallions as Fasig-Tipton, the up-and-comers were still represented at OBS. Uncle Mo (Indian Charlie) had Tuesday’s session topper with Repole Stable and M.V. Magnier partnering to buy a $1.3-million colt and overall, the second-crop sire had six horses sell for over $200,000. Twirling Candy (Candy Ride) hit it out of the park with the third and fourth highest priced horses of the sale with an $850,000 colt and $825,000 filly adding to a week that started when Danzing Candy put himself on the Derby trail with a win in the San Felipe Stakes on Saturday.
Uncle Mo
Variety Abound – While all the expected stallions names were represented at the top of the list, 17 stallions made up the top 20 priced horses with only Uncle Mo, Twirling Candy and Curlin (Smart Strike) having more than one horse in the group with two each. Nearly every 2013 stud fee price range was represented in the group with some “oldies but goodies” in there like Tapit (Pulpit), War Front (Danzig), Smart Strike, Malibu Moon (A.P. Indy) and Giant’s Causeway (Storm Cat) in addition to newer stallions such as Into Mischief (Harlan’s Holiday), Curlin, Bodemeister (Empire Maker) and the aforementioned Uncle Mo and Twirling Candy all making their presence as emerging sires known.

Partnerships – Seeing major racing stables combine to buy at sales isn’t a new thing but it seemed to be all the rage here. Of the 22 most expensive horses, six were bought by partnerships with WinStar and China Horse Club partnering on four of those. The $850,000 Twirling Candy colt was one of those horses with the duo also adding Al Shaqab Racing to the group on that purchase. The partnerships definitely weren’t only put together for expensive horses with some of those big stables pairing up to buy horses in the lower six digits as well. It will be interesting to see if this trend continues at a high scale at future sales and what it means for consignors when they don’t have as many people bidding against each other for big ticket horses.

Pinhooking Success – We all hear how hard it is to make money with horses, and that is a very valid observation. Sales prep, especially for 2-year-old sales, is not cheap and it can be hard to make money on pinhooking purchases. But it also can turn out really well in some instances. For the second time in as many sales, Cary Frommer was an example of this. At Fasig-Tipton two weeks ago, she sold an Uncle Mo colt for $1-million after purchasing him as a yearling in October for $90,000. This week, Frommer came close to topping the sale with another Uncle Mo colt when one she bought for $150,000 in September sold for $1.3-million. Another success story was the Twirling Candy filly mentioned a few paragraphs above. She was bought for $50,000 as a weanling by Carrie Brogden of Machmer Hall, scratched from a yearling sale last year, came back this year to breeze a bullet last week and sell for $825,000 to be the highest priced filly of the sale.