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Ontario A Force In Harrisburg

Published: November 6, 2014 9:28 pm ET

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At the conclusion of the Standardbred Horse Sales Co.'s yearling portion of the Black Book Sale, the presence of Ontario-based buyers was evident in both quantity and quality of horses purchased.

Over four days in Harrisburg, Pa. with 1,089 yearlings sold, the results show that connections from Ontario were listed as the buyer of record on 202 yearlings -- more than any other state or province. In terms of numbers, Ontario took home more yearlings than Pennsylvania (180), New Jersey (177), New York (127) and Florida (75).

Of those 202 yearlings purchased, 147 of them were Ontario-sired. There were 267 Ontario-sired yearlings in the sale; the total spent on those yearlings exceeded $7.34 million, averaging $27,493.

In terms of money spent, Ontario-based buyers shelled out more than $6.25 million for those 202 yearlings. That total ranked second only to the $8.53 million spent on yearlings by New Jersey-based horsemen. New York was next, shelling out $4.96 million.

As a country, Canadians purchased 259 yearlings and doled out more than $8.03 million for them.

This Day Forward topping the closing portion of the auction. Sold as Hip 1083, This Day Forward -- a daughter of Bettors Delight-Bridesmaid Hanover -- was purchased for $95,000 by Bryan Montgomery of Cream Ridge, New Jersey. The filly is a first foal from the family of Betterthancheddar (1:48 - $1,634,314).

Hip 938 Time To Talk went to Jerry Silva of Long Beach, New York for $75,000. The daughter of Conway Hall is the first foal out of Talktalktalk – a sister to V Eight (1:54.4 - $426,565) and Marla Bar (1:56.2 - $240,637).

“My father Ed bought Martine Lobell (the dam of Talktalktalk), who is a Joie De Vie sister to Mack Lobell (1987 and 1988 Horse of the Year),” said Mark Mullen, proprietor of Fair Winds Farm, which bred, raised and sold the filly.

“The timing worked to our advantage. She (Martine Lobell) was selling before Mack came into his own so he was able to buy her for not a lot of money. She was crooked as a dog’s hind leg and we never raced her, just bred her and the rest is history. We also kept Martine’s daughter Marla Bar, she was the first crop of Malabar Man. We were here trying to sell her (as a yearling) and she was a pretty filly and I thought she’d do some good but then I realized she hadn’t been out of the stall; no one was looking at her.

“She’s beautiful, she’s racy, she’s correct, she had a smart head on her and a nice video. Everybody looked at her and everybody liked her," added Mullen. "We kept Talktalktalk because I wanted to keep a daughter out of the family. I’ve kept three of them, I kept Talktalktalk and Bar Ballad (a daughter of Marla Bar) who sells a Muscles Yankee later (he went for $25,000) and I also kept Model Behavior (a daughter of Marla Bar) who has a 1:55.1 record and $28,000 and she seems like she is going forward.

“Bob Baggitt trained Talktalktalk, but we didn’t have any good luck with her so I was committed to the family and I thought I’d breed her and we got a very pretty filly.”

Hip 917 Manofmanyimages went to Pat Waldo of Mooers Forks, New York for $70,000. The Manofmanymissions-Spicey Image colt is a half-brother to OSS graduate Magic Spice (1:55.2 - $184,966).

Hip 1057 Twin B Thong was purchased for $65,000 by Casie Coleman of Cambridge, Ontario. The daughter of Sportswriter-Beach Bound has five siblings with earnings in excess of $100,000 including Sea Dragon (1:50.3 - $330,225) and Twin B Hollister (1:51.4 - $258,304).

The final session brought the gross sales to $35,831,500 for this year’s edition of the Harrisburg Yearling Sale. A total of 1,089 yearlings were sold, with the average price recorded at $32,903.

The 2013 edition of the Harrisburg Yearling Sale saw 1,047 yearlings go through the ring for gross sales totalling $25,959,500. Last year’s average price was $34,345.

“I think we’re going to fall just short of last year’s gross, so we did sell more horses and the average is down, but very clearly, people still wanted horses,” said Paul F. “Pete” Spears, Sales Company CEO. “I’m not really sure why they didn’t pick it up earlier in the week, but the demand was still strong to the end. There were a lot of people around the back ring, still a lot of people bidding; horses sold very well near the end. I think people just missed some opportunities early. I’m encouraged with the way Wednesday and Thursday went.

“We didn’t really do anything different this year than we did last year. Certainly, we will spend some time going over the numbers and trying to break things down and that is an ongoing discussion until the end of the year.”

Asked if there might be consideration given to selling fewer horses, which might then produce a higher average, but lower gross, Spears was firm in the company’s commitment to the small breeder.

“I think we as an industry have to decide what our goals are,” he said. “Are our goals to make our average look higher? I can’t pay my bills with average. I pay my bills with dollars -- gross.

“We’ve made a commitment to the remaining small breeders in the mid-Atlantic region to sell their animals. There are no B sales any more. What do I do with the little guy who’s hung in there through thick and thin, taking a pasting year after year and still wants to be part of this? Do I tell him to go away and we won’t sell his animal for him? There’s nowhere for him to go. The New Jersey Classic’s gone, the Adios Sale is gone, Morrisville is much smaller than it used to be. We’re here to try to promote the industry that way and we have a commitment to help these people. So if my average suffers from that, I’m very proud to let my average suffer.”

The sale shifts its focus to the mixed portion on Friday and Saturday.

(Quotes from Harness Racing Communications)

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