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Statistics from this week’s sales of juveniles in training at OBS offer more than a shade of hope that the market for racehorses and the related markets for other types of Thoroughbreds may have dragged long enough on the bottom and be again on the rise.

The average and median price indicators both rose rather nicely to $107,257 and $80,000 for the 171 young athletes sold.

The more active and effective prospects found buyers readily enough, and for the top lots — such as More Than Ready filly out of Meadow Silk ($525,000), the Giant’s Causeway out of Twenty Eight Carat ($425,000), the Smart Strike colt out of Dixie Holiday, and the Indian Charlie out of Teak Totem (both $400,000) — there was strong competition.

In fact, from the breeze day onward, there was little doubt the best individuals would be profitable. The stars on the day always are.

The bigger question was the reception likely for those very decent prospects who were just below the best and most precocious of the lots on sale. As the sale proved, there was a very fair market for most of the animals available and priced according to the market demand at present.

That helped to decrease the RNAs for the sale to just less than 28 percent after the bumpy ride last year that resulted in 42.5 percent RNAs.

All well and good. But the dark clouds are out there still. Some of the buyers at OBS March have been regular supporters of OBS in April or June, and their buying will surely be curtailed at least a bit in those markets. Furthermore, a number of sellers have chosen to keep and race their stock rather than send them through the ring when the buyer interest (as evidenced by veterinary action) was not present.

That is one rational path for owners, but it does underscore that market optimism must yet remain within limits.

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