Bobby Zen

by Jessica Martini & Stefanie Grimm

OCALA, FL – The Ocala Breeders’ Sales Company’s Spring Sale of 2-Year-Olds in Training rushed across the finish line with a lively session of bidding Friday and concluded its four-day run in Central Florida with a new sales record average and median and a gross just off last year’s highwater mark.

“It certainly felt like it picked up here at the end of the four-day stretch,” said OBS Director of Sales Tod Wojciechowski. “It felt good. We were bumping up against a record [gross from] last year. And so, we feel good to be within striking distance of it again this year.”

Through four days, 630 horses sold for a gross of $81,994,000. The average of $130,149 just inched ahead of last year’s record-setting figure of $129,907, while the median rose 7.7% to a record $70,000 from $65,000 a year ago.

During the 2023 Spring sale, 698 horses sold for $90,805,000.

“The record median reflects the broad buying bench at the Spring sale,” Wojciechowski said. “The international bench of buyers continue to grow–that’s certainly an area of growth for us. They obviously like the stock that they’ve been getting. They keeping coming back and we continue to attract new international buyers as well. And then, domestically, you have somebody like Donato [Lanni] who obviously bought quite a few over the last few days. Obviously they are happy with the product they are getting.”

On behalf of various clients, Lanni purchased the top offering at each of the auctions’ four sessions. He purchased the sale’s top-priced horse, a filly by Tiz the Law, for $1.9 million Wednesday. His other session toppers included a $775,000 daughter of Caracaro Tuesday and a Nyquist colt for $550,000 Thursday.

During Friday’s final session, he purchased a filly by Nyquist for $850,000 on behalf of Susan and Charles Chu’s Baoma Corp. Lanni came back later in Friday’s session to acquire another colt by Nyquist for $525,000 on behalf of Zedan Racing Stable.

Through the four sessions, Lanni signed the ticket on nine juveniles for a total of $7,010,000. Under the Three Amigos buying name of Bob Baffert clients Mike Pegram, Paul Weitman and Karl Watson, Lanni signed for an additional three lots for $2,175,000.

The $1.9-million sale topper was the only seven-figure juvenile of the 2024 auction, compared to three a year ago, but, this year’s sale did match its 2023 number of horses to sell for $500,000 or more with a final of 28.

Despite the record-setting statistics, a large number of horses catalogued to the auction never went through the ring. From a catalogue of 1,208 horses, only 783 were offered. There were 153 not sold for a buy-back rate of 19.5%.

A year ago, the catalogue featured 1,222 head and 840 of those went through the ring. Of those offered, 142 failed to meet their reserves for a buy-back rate of 16.9%.

“We were certainly disappointed in the outs,” Wojciechowski said. “There were a lot of outs over the course of the four days and that’s something we will address in the future.”

Consignors and buyers alike returned to the same word to describe the market in Ocala this week.

“Spotty,” John Kimmel echoed the common refrain. “It seemed like the ones we were interested in certainly didn’t have any trouble finding buyers.”

Nick Sallusto, active on both the buying and selling side of the ledger this week, added, “It’s the same pattern. The quality is being pursued heavily and anything that is not perceived as top quality, it’s the same old story, it’s struggling. It’s more of the same, but maybe a little bit more than usual.”

Another Nyquist for Lanni From Wavertree

Donato Lanni | Photos by Z

Donato Lanni purchased a colt by Nyquist from Wavertree Stables late in the day to top Thursday’s session of the OBS Spring Sale and Lanni returned early in the day Friday to purchase a filly by the Kentucky Derby-winning sire from the same consignment, going to a session-topping $850,000 to acquire hip 915 on behalf of Susan and Charles Chu’s Baoma Corp. The Chus campaign the promising multiple graded-stakes winning sophomore Nysos (Nyquist), who they acquired for $550,000 at last year’s OBS Spring sale.

“They absolutely love the sire,” Lanni said. “She’s a lovely filly. She worked well, came back good. She has class and a good mind. We are happy to have her.”

The juvenile is out of the unraced Amagansett (Tapit), a daughter of Twirl (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) and from the family of Group 1 winners Misty for Me (Ire) and Ballydoyle (Ire).

Nysos aside, Susan Chu also maintains a broodmare band and targets well-bred fillies at the auctions.

“She loves the fillies,” Lanni said. “She loves the breeding program and she loves her foals. She prefers fillies.”

The juvenile was bred by Bobby Flay and was purchased by Allstar Bloodstock for $200,000 at last year’s Keeneland September sale. Through consignor Paul Sharp, the breeder/celebrity chef sold a colt by Uncle Mo a few hips later for $685,000 to D.J. Stable and Robert Cotran. @JessMartiniTDN

McKinzie Colt to Flanagan

A colt from the first crop of McKinzie (hip 995) sold for $725,000 to the bid of John Kimmel and Nick Sallusto, bidding on behalf of Sean Flanagan, during the final session of the OBS Spring sale Friday. Consigned by Saul Marquez’s Caliente Thoroughbreds, the bay is out of Bernadreamy (Bernardini), a daughter of Grade I winner Dream Empress (Bernstein). He worked a quarter-mile last week in :21 flat.

“We have been following McKinzie since the yearling market,” Kimmel said. “They have done well and we were quite impressed with a bunch of them that breezed here, but this colt actually did something that you don’t see very often. For a horse with his kind of fluid action, for him to go out the way he did, he went in :21, but he also went out in :44 4/5 and another eighth in under :59. He looks like a horse that has such fluid motion, we were just surprised because he doesn’t look like he is going that fast. And then you go back and you look at the physical and you check all the boxes there. The horse passed all the technical stuff, the ultrasound and X-rays and those are the kind of horses that we try to buy. I thought the price was stiff, but I think Mr. Flanagan got a legitimate horse.”

Sallusto added, “The horse had all of the right qualities, mentally and physically. His characteristics kind of give you the chills. It’s a little uncanny how cool a character he is.”

Earlier in Friday’s session, Bradley Thoroughbreds purchased a filly by McKinzie from Julie Davies’s consignment for $675,000. And later in a bang-up session for the Gainesway stallion, a filly from Eddie Woods’s consignment sold for $600,000 to Bill Childs and a colt from Hernandez Stables sold for $350,000 to Seth Morris as agent for Hit the Bid Racing.

Through four sessions, 17 juveniles by the Gainesway stallion sold for an average of $216,735.

“They look like they have good physicals with powerful bodies,” Kimmel said of McKinzie‘s first crop of 2-year-olds. “We’ve seen them breeze very well. And he’s by a horse that won the Kentucky Derby in Street Sense. I think he’s a stallion that has a legitimate chance to jump up there on the freshman sire list.”

Of plans for hip 995, Kimmel said, “We will send him back to Thorostock, give him a little breather and probably get him to the races back up to Chad Brown.” @JessMartiniTDN

Another OBS Home Run for Marquez

Saul Marquez enjoyed a second home run at the OBS Spring sale Friday when his Caliente Thoroughbreds sent hip 995 through the ring to sell for $725,000 to Sean Flanagan. In his inaugural one-horse consignment a year ago, Marquez sold future graded winner Wynstock (Solomini) for $700,000. Marquez and partners had purchased that colt for $50,000 at the previous year’s Keeneland September sale.

“I am blessed to be around good people who trust me. I can’t express how happy I am right now,” Marquez said.

Of hip 995, Marquez said, “He’s an impressive colt who does everything well. He’s a two-turn horse, well-minded. He was busy all week long. He had a great workout and the sky is the limit for him.”

Marquez purchased hip 995 for $260,000 at the Fasig-Tipton July sale last summer.

“It was a partnership I put together,” he said of the pinhooking group. “He was the first horse I saw in July, number 71, I will never forget.”

Asked if the colt’s six-figure yearling price tag was a stretch for the group, Marquez said, “I took a little risk. I was coming off a good year and I said, ‘I have to roll it in again.’ That’s the only way I believe I can keep on going.”

During Thursday’s session of the Spring sale, Caliente Thoroughbreds sold a filly by Tiz the Law (hip 733) for $300,000 to Klaravich Stable. The chestnut had been purchased for $35,000 at Keeneland last September.

Looking ahead to this coming yearling sales season, Marquez said with a smile, “Let’s roll again.” @JessMartiniTDN

Orseno Strikes Early For Uncle Mo Colt

Paul Sharp and Joe Orseno | Jessica Martini

   Only minutes into Friday’s closing session, trainer Joe Orseno went to $685,000 for an Uncle Mo colt (hip 920) on behalf of D. J. Stable LLC and Robert Cotran, the owners of this year’s GIII Holy Bull S. winner Hades (Awesome Slew). The colt, who is out of GSW/MGISP America and a half to MGSW/GISP and ‘TDN Rising Star‘ First Captain (Curlin), was a $345,000 RNA as a yearling at Fasig-Tipton October last year. Paul Sharp, selling the colt on behalf of Bobby Flay Thoroughbreds, joined Orseno as he signed the ticket.

“They [D.J. Stable and Robert Cotran] were all over this horse right from the start,” said Orseno. “We’re happy to get him.”

Competition for the colt was plenty and Orseno noted that the price was more than they expected to pay.

“Good horses cost money,” he said.

Sharp, who opted to gallop the colt instead of breeze him, added: “He developed slowly, but he started to really turn here lately. He’s a very nice horse. We just took our time with him. There was no intention to ever breeze him. The horse is very big and he’ll be late developing. We always wanted to do right by the horse.”

The price marked the highest of the week, by far, for a horse that galloped.

“There’s always a concern given how we sell 2-year-olds these days,” said Sharp on whether a breeze vs. gallop would affect the sales price. “But the opportunity to get a horse with a pedigree like that and a physical that matches up–he’s very, very beautiful with beautiful action, even in the gallop.”

The gallop clearly didn’t bother Orseno or the colt’s new owners.

“We’re not looking to run him in June or July,” Orseno said. “Right now he looks like he’s going to be October or November. I’m hoping to be ready for Keeneland in the fall, but if he’s not ready, we’ll take our time.” @SGrimmTDN

On Point Finds Success With Tiz the Law

The connections of On Point Training and Sales were all smiles Friday when their New York-bred filly by Tiz the Law (hip 928) and out of a stakes-placed dam brought a final bid of $600,000 from Donato Lanni made on behalf of the Three Amigos.

“She always showed up for us,” said On Point’s Ortiz Victor Rivera. “She’s an easy keeper, stays in her feed tub and she takes care of herself. And when we asked her to work a couple of times on the weekends, she was always there. You wish you had 10 of these.”

The filly, from the first crop of Classic-winning Tiz the Law, went the way of On Point for just $30,000 at Saratoga last August.

Rivera continued: “She has that walk that when you see it, you just know. And [at Saratoga], she had all her lines, just hit every mark. She’s our first Tiz the Law. This is the only one we could get our hands on, they’re very expensive!”

The Three Amigos, who also picked up a Caracaro filly (hip 199) for $775,000 and a colt by Bolt d’Oro (hip 351) for $800,000 earlier in the week, provide all the opportunity that On Point feels their filly deserves.

“It’s a huge connection,” Rivera said. “This is the best opportunity in the world for her. If she can’t make it there, she can’t make it anywhere.”

A small operation, On Point had just two horses entered at OBSAPR. Their other entry, a filly from the first crop of Curlin‘s Honor (hip 978), sold for $40,000. @SGrimmTDN

Flashy McKinzie Colt Rewards Hernandez

Hip 1188 | Jessica Martini

While most shoppers at Keeneland last September likely noticed the flashy white face and blue eyes, Angel Hernandez noticed an attractive individual with an impressive pedigree. Hernandez was able to purchase the colt, from the first crop of McKinzie, for $32,000. The Ocala horseman was rewarded Friday when the youngster (hip 1188) sold for $350,000 to Seth Morris, as agent for Hit the Bid Racing.

“I know people focus on him because of his color, because of the blue eyes and a lot of white, but the first thing I liked about him was his body,” Hernandez said. “I liked the big hip, strong butt and the pedigree. His first dam is by Curlin and the second dam is by Tapit. So I thought good would have to come out of that.”

Hernandez admitted he had expected he would have to pay more for the colt last fall.

“I was surprised because I was willing to go to $40,000 and I got him for $32,000,” he said. “I couldn’t tell why–maybe there was something that I missed. But I think people focused more on the color and they forgot to see what was in front of them, the beautiful body. So I thought I had made a good buy.”

The juvenile worked a furlong at last week’s under-tack show in :10 flat.

“He put a lot of weight on and he just grew up,” Hernandez said of the colt’s development. “He was a little baby and he’s a big man now.”

This is just the second year Hernandez has been consigning under his own name, but he has spent two decades working for Nick de Meric.

“I don’t pinhook a big group, normally six or seven,” Hernandez said. “This year, I did 10, which was one of my biggest years.”

On what Friday’s sale–his highest result so far–felt like, Hernandez said, “Amazing. I don’t have words to explain.” @JessMartiniTDN

The post $875k Nyquist Filly Leads Way as OBS Spring Sale Sets Records Again appeared first on TDN | Thoroughbred Daily News | Horse Racing News, Results and Video | Thoroughbred Breeding and Auctions.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Got questions? Please complete the form below and we’ll get back to you asap.

Join Bobby's Newsletter

Enter your email to sign up for Bobby’s newsletter get new racing tips right in your inbox.