Wednesday, February 17, 2010

OBSFEB: How my seven fared

Earlier today, I posted my seven selections from the sales catalog for the Ocala Breeders' Sales Company February Selected Sale of 2-year-olds in training.

I chose a colt and a filly by Montbrook, a colt by Officer, and a trio of fillies by Orientate, Smoke Glacken and Posse. All were selected because I believe from their pages that they possess precocity on both sides of the family that should let them follow-through and race this year at age 2, while not (perhaps) being so strong on commercial sire power that they would in any way threaten to be a sales-topper. In fact, I was hoping they'd stay comparatively cheap among the offerings Tuesday in Ocala.

"Cheap," I suppose, is in the eye of the beholder.

The average price of the 66 head that sold on Tuesday was $97,182, an 8.4 percent decline from a dour 2009 and the lowest since the OBS February sale average was $82,118 in 1998. The average would have been much worse if not for three horses selling for $400,000 or more, much higher than the $340,000 sales-topper of 2009. Leading the way was a $475,000 Tiznow colt. The Blood-Horse reports that the median was down to its lowest point since that figure was $65,000 after the 1999 February 2-year-old sale. The B-H didn't enumerate the 2010 median, but by my calculations, the figure was $67,000.

So how did "my" horses fare? Here they are, by hip number.

Hip No. 7: Chestnut colt by Officer-Purer Than Pure, by Turkoman, consigned by the Jerry Bailey Sales Agency, was bought for $85,000 by one of the game's more notable players, Dogwood Stable. Though Officer's fee has plummeted to $10,000, this colt is both half to three blacktype horses (a G3 winner, a stakes winner who is a G1-placer, and stakes-placed sibling) and he also fired a 10 1/5 eighth-mile in the under tack show. It's difficult for me to consider $85,000 to be "cheap," but getting a good-looking colt who drilled sharply and is half to two horses with graded blacktype, for less than the sales average, might still be considered a "bargain."

Hip No. 57: Bay colt by Montbrook-Valid Invitation, by Take Me Out, consigned by Ocala Stud, was a $65,000 RNA. This fellow ran a nice 21 2/5 for a quarter-mile and looked pretty good to me in doing it, by the video. He is also half to a 2-year-old stakes-placer of 2009. Whomever was the last bidder is probably disappointed this colt didn't sell for $65,000, because getting him for roughly the sale's median price would have to be considered a reasonably good deal. But obviously nobody was willing to go any higher, and considering Montbrook's fee has dropped to $7,500 and there really isn't enough page to support this colt as a stallion unless he were to run like a super-horse and "make" himself, I wouldn't have bid him up any higher, either. (As though I'd have the money to bid him up this high.) ... It will be interesting to see what Ocala Stud's next move is with this colt, since he didn't sell Tuesday.

Hip No. 59: Bay filly by Wildcat Heir-Vany's Storm, by Storm Creek, consigned by M&H Training and Sales, sold for just $20,000 to Martin J. Scafidi, and I think she could be a real bargain. Her 10.3 eighth wasn't blazing, but I wouldn't put too much emphasis on that. She has two half-siblings who were winners at 2 and one of them went on to be stakes-placed. There's considerable performance under second dam Vany, by Lord Vancouver. And Wildcat Heir got a sick number of 2-year-old winners as a freshman sire last year (39), so I think there's every reason to believe this filly can be a useful racehorse, and soon. And she'll have a lot easier time earning back her purchase price than will that Tiznow colt who cost almost a half-mil.

Hip No. 101: Dark bay or brown filly by Montbrook-Cutoffs, by Notebook, consigned by Ocala Stud, went for $90,000 to Repole Stables. Her dam is a full sister to SPECIAL REPORT, who was a winner in one start at 2 and won a pair of Calder stakes races at 3. The sisters also have three blacktype half-siblings -- all by the sire of Hip 101, Montbrook, and all winners at 2. I guess the price doesn't surprise me. But the fact that I somehow overlooked writing about her until June does. (I detailed only six picks instead of the seven that the headline touts, and nobody corrected me).

Hip No. 116: Dark bay or brown filly by Orientate-Ed's Holy Cow, by Bet Big, is out of a half-sister to Holy Bull and sold for Blazing Meadows Farm (Tim Hamm, agent) at a price of $40,000. She drilled only 10.4 at an eighth-mile, but I liked the way she moved and she has a full sister who won at 2 and 3 and has been stakes-placed at Saratoga and Delaware Park. Another half-sibling has won 10 times. I think the buyers Mike Conners, Kevin Jacobsen and Jim Hawkins are probably content they were able to get her for a price more than one-third below the sale's median.

Hip No. 148: Chestnut filly by Posse-Lotsofdiamonds, by Grand Slam, also sold below the sales median, bringing $50,000 for consigner Blue River Bloodstock. Harry J. Loso was the buyer. A pretty decent 10.2 drill and considerable 2-year-old performance on her page (and by other runners from her sire) made me select this one as a potential bargain. Again, $50,000 is no impulse purchase -- at least, if your title isn't "Sheikh" -- but I think the odds are in her favor to be a serviceable racehorse. Unmentioned in my prior endorsement of her is that she's a New York-bred, so she can run in restricted company for very nice purses at Saratoga, Belmont and Aqueduct.

Hip No. 157: Chestnut filly by Smoke Glacken-Minado, by Coronado's Quest, was the decided "non-bargain" of the day among my selections. The SGV Thoroughbreds consignment went for a cool $120,000 to West Point Thoroughbreds, Buzz Chace as buyer's agent. Her page shows All Rainbows -- dam of Kentucky Derby winning champion filly Winning Colors and half-sister to champion Chris Evert -- as the third dam. And she burned up the track for a pretty brisk 10.1 in the under tack show. And she has a big engine and looks like she means business. But I was a little surprised the price went so high, so fast. But Buzz Chace and West Point have pretty good track records of uncovering 2-year-olds that win, so they know their stuff.

Good luck to all the aforementioned buyers and their new charges. After all, if every one of these colts and fillies goes on to be an effective racehorse, I'll look pretty smart.

Meanwhile, it's worth mentioning that the real steals of the day might well have been the last two horses to sell.

Hip No. 159 was a Cherokee Run filly already named Run Kitten, out of the stakes-placed Mountain Cat mare, Mountain Kitten. The filly "only" ran a 10.3, but she's half to a pair of winners and buyer Shirley Duco bought her at the cheapest price in the whole sale -- just $15,000.

And, Hip 160 is by one of my favorite recent racehorses, Artie Schiller, whose first crop are 2-year-olds this year. This filly ran a brisk 10.1 and her dam is a G3 stakes-placed Miswaki mare, Ms. Isadora, who has already produced a G2-placed foal in Isabull (by Holy Bull, 3rd in the 2008 Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn Park). Second dam Ms. Eloise (Nasty and Bold) was twice a G1 winner, and produced six stakes horses. How James L. Koley bought this girl for $45,000 -- well below the sales median and less than half the average -- is beyond me, but if I were Mr. Koley, I'd be tickled.

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