Ashford Stud’s freshman sire Practical Joke emerged from the Ocala Breeders’ Sales March 2-Year-Olds in Training Sale as the leader of his sire class by average.
The three-time grade 1-winning son of Into Mischief had been represented by 14 juveniles cataloged in the sale of which seven were ultimately offered and five sold for an average of $296,000. Expectations ahead of the sale were high for the Practical Joke runners in part because he was among five sires in his class whose first yearlings collectively produced a six-figure average in the summer and fall. Seventy-four Practical Joke yearlings sold last year averaged $120,243.
During the OBS March under tack show, the precociousness anticipated bore out with Hip 309 in the McKathan Bros. consignment and Hip 311 consigned by Top Line Sales both working in :9 4/5, among 25 that worked an eighth in this time.
Hip 311, a filly out of the Peruvian champion older mare Valiant Emilia, would top the sale at $750,000. Japanese trainer Hideyuki Mori bought the filly, telling BloodHorse he liked the 2-year-olds by Practical Joke that he’d seen, and he liked the filly’s action on the track.
Valiant Emilia didn’t race until 3 but she apparently inherited some early speed influences from her sire, Pegasus Wind, who raced five times at 2 and was third in the Champagne Stakes (G1). Pegasus Wind is a son of Fusaichi Pegasus, who stood at Ashford Stud until he was pensioned last year.
Five of the seven Practical Joke juveniles offered all sold for six figures. Mori also bought Hip 309, going to $190,000 for the colt out of stakes-placed winner Untraveled. The second-highest-priced Practical Joke juvenile was Hip 113, a colt out of the City Zip stakes winner Mystic City, that consignor Eddie Woods sold as agent for $210,000 to bloodstock agent William Morey, who signed on behalf of Sandin Syndicate Stable.
Practical Joke ranked fifth by average among all the sires represented at the OBS March sale. The other leaders were Ashford’s American Pharoah ($430,000), Lane’s End’s Liam’s Map ($353,333), Spendthrift Farm’s Into Mischief ($307,857), and Hill ‘n’ Dale at Xalapa’s Violence ($296,667).
One of the freshman sires to see the greatest appreciation in progeny value is Lane’s End’s Unified , who ranked 11th by yearling average last year but was a close second to Practical Joke at OBS March with a $231,000 average from five sold. Carolyn Wilson bought the highest-priced Unified juvenile when she went to $530,000 for a colt (Hip 163) out of the D’wildcat mare Promise Me a Cat. The colt worked a quarter-mile in :20 2/5 during the under tack show.
Unified, a son of Candy Ride , didn’t make his first start until he was 3 but found immediate success. He won his Feb. 21 debut at Gulfstream Park and captured the Bay Shore Stakes (G3) at Aqueduct in his second start and followed that performance with a win in the Peter Pan Stakes (G2). He would later be runner-up in the Carter Handicap (G1) at 4 and retired with 4-1-0 record from seven starts.
At OBS, Unified was represented by two other six-figure sales—a $400,000 colt (Hip 110) out of multiple stakes winner Mykindasaint bought by Spendthrift Farm out Dark Star Thoroughbreds’ consignment, and a $120,000 colt (Hip 159), out of winner and stakes producer Prevention, that G.A. Thoroughbred Sales sold to Conor Foley’s Oracle Bloodstock.
Among the other five freshman sires with six-figure averages, two stand at Spendthrift. Gormley , a grade 1 winner at 2 in the FrontRunner Stakes (G1) and later winner of the Santa Anita Derby (G1), was represented by seven sold out of eight offered for a $153,857 average. Gormley’s highest-priced 2-year-old was a $550,000 colt (Hip 531) out of stakes producer Green Eyed Cat that Breeze Easy bought from Eddie Woods’ consignment. The son of Malibu Moon was represented by two other six-figure purchases, including a $250,000 filly (Hip 371) out of grade 3 winner Beat the Blues that trainer Gary Contessa bought from Eddie Woods.
Spendthrift’s multiple grade 1-winning sprinter and son of Pulpit Lord Nelson had the fifth-highest average at the OBS March sale where seven sold out of eight offered generated a $118,357 average. Bloodstock agent Donato Lanni bought Lord Nelson’s top-priced 2-year-old when he went to $385,000 for a colt (Hip 67) out of the stakes-placed Seeking the Gold daughter Luna Dorada. GOP Racing Stable consigned the colt.
Airdie Stud’s American Freedom , a multiple grade 1-placed, grade 3 winner also by Pulpit, was the fourth-leading freshman sire at the OBS March sale by average. He was represented by six sold out of seven offered that averaged $123,667. The sire’s three six-figure juveniles were topped by a $260,000 colt (Hip 461) out of the Divine Park winner Divine Happiness that Shepherd Equine Advisors bought on behalf of Larry Hirsch out Pick View’s consignment. Mori bought the second-highest-priced American Freedom juvenile, going to $160,000 to acquire a filly (Hip 41) out of stakes producer Lakefront from the RiceHorse Stable consignment.
Leading Freshman Sires by Average at OBS March 2-Year-Olds in Training Sale