OBS Winter Mixed Sale Begins Tuesday

OBS sales grounds | Photos by Z

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The Ocala Breeders' Sales Company opens its 2024 calendar with the two-day Winter Mixed Sale which begins Tuesday at noon. The auction opens with a preferred session of 137 catalogued short yearlings, broodmares and broodmare prospects. Following the preferred session, OBS will present an offering of 76 catalogued horses of racing age. The auction concludes Wednesday with 263 catalogued offerings in the company's open session, which also begins at noon.

The horses of racing age took to the OBS track Monday, with the unraced 3-year-old Saint George (St Patrick's Day) (hip 262) earning the under-tack show's bullet when working three furlongs in :32 1/5. Out of Crowninshield (Aldebaran), the chestnut colt was bred by Brent and Crystal Fernung and is consigned by the Fernungs' Journeyman Bloodstock Services.

“I thought he was going to work awful good,” said Brent Fernung. “He pulled a stifle before the April sale last year–and we thought he would work good there, too–so we just gave him plenty of time and decided to bring him back here. He stepped up and did what he was supposed to do.”

Journeyman is usually active selling at the 2-year-old sales, but Fernung agreed having an outlet to sell horses of racing age in Ocala in January is a welcome addition to the calendar.

“Historically, what we've done is we breed homebreds and sell them at the 2-year-old sales,” Fernung said. “And once that last 2-year-old sale goes by, part of the by-product of that is that horses who can't make it to those sales for one reason or another, you've got to have somewhere to go with them. It used to be, before we started doing this here, I ended up having to race all of those horses. We did OK doing that, but it turns into a two-year process before you know it.”

Of interest around the sales grounds Monday, Fernung said, “I thought it was a reasonable number of people watching the breeze show. And we have some nice mares in this sale and they seem to be getting looked at pretty regular, too. It's not a real busy place, but it never is. It always helps if it gets really cold up north right before this sale.”

“I've been saying since the end of the 2-year-old season last year, if we can just remain flat and level–and I'm not just talking about OBS, I am talking about the Thoroughbred industry in whole–it's been strong now for several years, so if we just don't lose any ground, I'd be satisfied,” Fernung said of expectations for the market. “I think that is realistic. I haven't seen anything that suggests to me that it's going to take a big downturn yet.”

During the 2023 Winter sale, 380 horses grossed $6,346,200 for an average of $16,701 and a median of $9,500. A yearling colt by Tapit brought top price of $225,000 and was one of two to bring six figures at the auction.

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