The best news coming out of the Ocala Breeders' Sales February 2-year-olds in training sale was the conscientious effort to moderate the under tack works. No horse worked an eighth in under :10 and the fastest quarter-mile was :21. Last year at this sale, the fastest eighth was :9 3/5, and the fastest quarter-mile was :20 2/5. Now, make no mistake, a horse working in :10 is still cooking on high heat. But every effort should continue to make the under tack works a demonstration of form and athletic potential instead of an All American Futurity-like dash to the wire.
Some consignors reported that horses came out of their works with less soreness, and three horses brought prices of $400,000 or more. The overall average was down 8.4% but that is significantly better than the 33.7% drop seen in 2009. Healthier horses. Competitive prices. It all sounds like a move in the right direction. — Eric Mitchell