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Ghostzapper colt tops Adena Springs Sale

 Year  Cat  Off  Sold  % sold  Aggregate  Average  Median
 2009  70  65  48  74  2,149,000  44,771  36,000
 2008  136  126  97  76  5,283,500  54,469  28,000

A COLT fromHorse of the Year Ghostzapper's first crop brought top price of $250,000 from buyer F. Thomas Conway at the Adena Springs Sale of juveniles in training on Monday evening. The colt is out of the Dynaformer mare Collect The Cash, winner of the Grade 1 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup Stakes, and dam of two winners from four foals.

The auction, conducted by the Ocala Breeders' Sales Company,has been held at Adena Springs South in Williston, Florida, annually since 2002. It is unique among breeze-up auctions in that it is an offering of homebred lots from America's leading owner-breeder, Frank Stronach, and therefore a gauge of the health ofthe breeding, rather than pinhooking, business.

On sheer numbers, the sale was, predictably, down. The catalogue was reduced by 50.5 per cent to just 70 lots, with 65 offered and 48 sold for a total of $2,149,000 - a decline of 59.3 per cent from last year's aggregate.

The average fell moderately compared to other breeze-up sales held this year, losing just 17.8 per cent at $44,771. The clearance rate, which also fell modestly compared to last year, wassimilarly strong compared to other such auctions, with 68.5 per cent of the catalogue sold, and 73.8 per cent of the lots offered sold.

The median was a strong point, rising by 28.6 per cent to $36,000.

Because most of the lots in the auction were sired by Adena Springs' stallions, bred from the operation's impressive trove of mares, they offer a better chance than the typical two-year-old sale does to gauge the worth of their pedigrees on the market. With no pinhook profit and loss to consider, we can more readily assume that the worth of these horses reflects what buyers are willing to pay for them - perhaps a reason the clearance rate was relatively high.

Ghostzapper was the highest-priced horse to enter stud in 2006 - when these horses were conceived - with a fee of $200,000. His seven lots sold, from ten offered, brought an average of $98,429 - which would still be a loss (theoretical, since Adena Springs is not paying the fees) compared to his $125,000 fee of 2009. With his first two-year-olds to run this year, though, his value could change significantly in either direction.

El Prado, whose current two-year-olds were conceived at the height of his popularity, on a $125,000 fee, struggled. Four of his six lots went unsold, with two bringing an average of $71,000 - under his present fee of $75,000, and suggesting this veteran sire's fee may be reduced further in future.

Another sire whose results seemed to justify a recent reduction in fee is North Light. The 2004 Derby winner had four of five lots sold for an average of $21,250, less than half his initial $50,000 fee. The son of Danehill now stands for $15,000, a more realistic prospect, although he too will have his first runners this season and could gain or lose value.

It was clearly a market for more bargain-style stock, as lower-priced stallions Macho Uno and Milwaukee Brew enjoyed solid results compared to their 2006 fees. Macho Uno, ranked sixth among second-crop sires last year, stood for $15,000 when this group was conceived, and his fee is now $30,000. That still looks good compared to his $67,800 average, with five of six lots sold, at Monday's sale.

Milwaukee Brew, whose third crop races this year, had six of seven sell for an average of $29,667, compared to a $15,000 initial fee. He looks reasonably priced at today's reduced fee of $7,500.

The biggest disappointment of the sale had to beAwesome Again, the sire of Ghostzapper and Adena Springs' leading stallion. Although nine of the sire's ten offspring were sold, their average of $29,444 fell well short of his $125,000 fee, which is unchanged this season.

Adena Springs was named the Eclipse champion breeder of North America for the fifth consecutive year in January, while Stronach collected his fourth Eclipse as leading owner.

His Magna Entertainment Company, owner of numerous prominentUS racetracks, declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy this month.





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