Eden Park Equestrian Complex

Jug Sale Looks to Build On Last Year’s Success

September 19, 2015

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By Bill Finley
Photo: Eden Park Equestrian Park in Sunbury, OH

SUNBURY, OH – Things happened at last year’s Ohio Selected Jug Sale that people thought they’d never see in the Buckeye State. Horses selling for six figures, big names like Ron Burke and Jonas Czernyson actively bidding big dollars and horses with even modest pedigrees flying off the shelves.

There is nothing quite as hot in harness racing these days as a horse bred in Ohio, a state where the industry has done a 180-degree turn thanks to the implementation of slot machines at the local racetracks. The slots brought the Jug Sale back to life after it had been shut down for four years and bought the buyers out in droves.

So what do they do for an encore? That will be answered today at Eden Park Equestrian Center where some 260 yearlings will go on the auction block. Last year’s sale was so successful that some are reluctant to predict there will be a big uptick this year, but it’s hard to imagine that the consignors won’t go home happy this afternoon. After all, they have what a lot of people want, horses that can feast on the huge pie that is the Ohio program.

“We had a lot of quality last year but we have more quality horses this year,” sales manager Randy Manges said. “That’s certainly should help it be as good, if not better, than last year. There is more product selling in Ohio now. Last year was kind of a supply and demand thing. There was more demand than there was supply. This year there is more supply, so I am hoping there is even more demand. They race for big money here. A lot of interest has been generated for this sale and I expect a big crowd.”

This sale was helped last year by the presence of three Big Bad John yearlings that sold for $93,000, $115,000 and $150,000. Never before had a horse sold at a yearling sale in Ohio gone for more than $100,000 and, even though Big Bad John has gotten off to a strong start as a sire, some believe it may be too much to expect another round of six-figure horses.

“I think the sale is going to be a good one,” said Hickory Lane Farm’s Kevin Greenfield. “A lot of people think we might not see the $150,000, $200,000 eye-popping horse but I think you’ll see an extremely strong middle. You’ll see a lot sell in the $40,000 to $70,000 range, more than we had last year.”

Consignor Marvin Raber had a similar take.

“I don’t look for it to out-perform last year,” he said. “That’s my gut feeling because last year was almost off the charts. We had $100,000 yearlings selling here in Ohio, something unheard of before last year. But I think the sale will be strong.”

There are 262 horses in the catalogue, everyone of them Ohio breds, and the sale begins at 11 am.

Last year, Big Bad John was the star sire, and there’s no reason to think he won’t have another strong sale. There are 53 Big Bad John’s in the catalogue, 31 colts and 22 fillies. His first crop are now 2-year-olds and they have made a combined $1,390,981 and have broken the 1:55 barrier 12 times.

“He’s had a phenomenal year for a new young sire,” Manges noted. “I think he has piqued a lot of people’s interest and the Bid Bad John’s should sell well.”

He will, however, have more competition this year among the pacing sire ranks as this will be the first crop of Ohio breds to sell by McArdle, who stands at Hickory Lane. There are 39 McArdles listed in the sale.

“I think a couple of my McArdles will sell really, really well,” Greenfield said..

Greenfield also brought trotter Dejarmbro into Ohio to stand at Hickory Lane, and this will be his first crop going up for bids at this sale. There are 56 Dejarmbros in the catalogue and he is the favorite to be the most popular trotting sire in the sale.

“I have a strong group of Dejarmbros to sell and I know other consignors have a strong group of Dejarmbros, as well,” Greenfield said. “They really look like trotters, long bodied with long rear ends. We put our money where our mouth is, staked them to everything, nothing left out. We’re giving them every opportunity to be Grand Circuit horses and a lot of them look the part.”

This will never be Lexington or Harrisburg, but it figures to be sale where it won’t be that hard to come away with a modestly priced yearling that can eventually pile up the earnings in Ohio or, perhaps, elsewhere.

“The people here in Ohio are looking for horses that can make money,” Raber said. “They’re maybe not looking for the kind of horses they look for in Lexington, the knock-them-out-of-the-park horse. They’re looking for a good solid horse and I think we’ll have plenty of them.”

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