The following post was published earlier this week at Paulick Report.

While heavy rains forced OBS to sell its catalog of more than 400 horses in a one-day marathon instead of two days, from the grandstand at the OBS pavilion, the prospects for Tuesday’s sale couldn’t look brighter. The weather has improved out of sight from last week, and if the performance of buyers matches their volume and activity in looking at young horses so far, the 2-year-old sales in Florida will be off to a roaring start this year.

Furthermore, the catalog of young athletes that OBS has compiled to begin their juvenile sales season is well-stocked with fillies and colts that look the part, that clearly have some speed and natural ability, and that frequently possess enough pedigree to attract interest from a segment of serious racehorse buyers.

Among the more gifted animals in these areas is Hip 350, a fetching son of leading sire Tapit. Consigned by Eddie Woods, agent, the colt is another gray out of the major producer Rhumb Line (by Mr. Greeley) and is a full brother to Grade 1 stakes winner Zazu and to G2 winner and G1-placed Flashback, both of whom are also gray. Standing a touch over 16 hands, this colt stands over a good deal of ground and possesses the scope and quality to suggest he could become a classic prospect.

Hip 350’s sire Tapit could scarcely be having a more productive year, and on Saturday, another of the stallion’s sons, Ring Weekend, won the G2 Tampa Bay Derby. Bred in Kentucky by Gainesway Farm, the lightly raced chestnut was winning his first stakes for St. Elias Stable and West Point Thoroughbreds, and Ring Weekend now has earnings of $255,660 from six starts.

In addition to the OBS March sale having young stock by established sires like Tapit, Giant’s Causeway, Unbridled’s Song, Malibu Moon, and others, there is a flock of fillies and colts on the grounds by freshmen sires. Some of them are recent racing stars like champions Blame, Lookin at Lucky, Summer Bird, or Midshipman, classic winner Super Saver, or major G1 winners like Quality Road, Eskendereya, and Warrior’s Reward.

Midshipman, for instance, had a colt turn in the fastest time at the first breeze show with a furlong in :09 4/5. Consigned by Halcyon Hammock, that colt is out of the Montbrook mare Eye’ll Be Fine and sells as Hip 139.

The dark bay colt has already been through the sales ring twice, selling as a weanling at the Keeneland November sale for $65,000 and then reselling to Hal Hatch for $125,000 at the Keeneland September sale last year. A big and robustly made dark bay, Hip 139 has a good deal of his broodmare sire about him, but he clearly also has some of the early maturity that Midshipman showed to earn a victory in the G1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile.

In addition to the noteworthy speed from the works of young horses by Midshipman, every one of the freshmen mentioned above had one or more good results from their young horses’ breezes. The preponderance of good individuals and good works has prompted more than one savvy horseman on the grounds at OBS to say that this may be the best crop of freshmen sires in years.

That suggestion only teases the mind and raises the question of which will turn out the best.

Allowing for the presence of a dozen juveniles cataloged for a speed sensation like freshman sire Majesticperfection, it was a surprise to many that the leading freshman sire by number cataloged at this sale was Kentucky Derby winner Super Saver. He had 20 in the catalog, several of whom have scratched, but he is setting the bar rather high with the number of his young horses who worked well.

Not only have several worked fast, but they have worked well. They seemed to run quickly and efficiently, with good use of themselves. Nor are they giant horses. The Super Savers are medium-sized and well-balanced, with every indication that they might do better on the second turn of a race than they did on the first.

That would be a very significant find in the world of breeding that is always looking to discover the next good sire who can get racers that prosper at a mile and more but that still have the speed to be competitive as young horses.

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