THE OBS MARCH ‘EXPRESS’

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By Steve Sherack 
   Fresh off the heels of a record-setting renewal in 2013, the rescheduled and now single session OBS March Selected Sale of 2-Year-Olds in Training will take place in Ocala today at 10 a.m. A year after posting across-the-board gains, including a new top for average ($155,643) and median ($125,000), 411 head have been catalogued, 66 more juveniles than in 2013. 
   “We were really pleased–the consignors really stepped up and we have a larger catalogue than last year while the quality has remained just as deep,” OBS Director of Sales Tod Wojciechowski commented. “All indications seem to be that everything is moving in the right direction–the yearling markets were strong, the breeding stock sales were strong, and hopefully, that upper trend continues.” 
   OBS March catalogue coverboy, the unbeaten Japanese champion Asia Express (Henny Hughes), brought $230,000 from Narvick International at last year’s sale. The Florida-bred was consigned by his breeder, Ocala Stud. Other graduates from the 2013 March Sale include, GI FrontRunner S. hero Bond Holder (Mineshaft) ($125,000; consigned by Crupi’s New Castle Farm); the ill-fated GI Chandelier S. heroine Secret Compass (Discreet Cat) ($425,000; Eddie Woods), GI Darley Alcibiades S. victress My Conquestadory (Artie Schilller) ($240,000; Eisaman Equine); and impressive recent GII San Vicente S. winner Kobe’s Back (Flatter) ($480,000; Niall Brennan Stables). The unraced Pacific (Smart Strike–Mini Sermon) equaled the previous OBS record set by Garifine (Belong to Me) at the 2006 March Sale when bringing $1.8 million from Stonestreet Stables and partners in 2013. The flashy steel gray was consigned by Raul Reyes’ King’s Equine. 
   “Last year was certainly a great year for us and we are cautiously optimistic that it continues,” Wojciechowski added. “It was a great feeling in the sales pavilion for both the March and April sales, and June for that matter as well. It was a strong 2-year-old season for us. Those horses have gone on and performed well at the racetrack, and we’d sure like to see the same thing happen again.” 
   The 2-year-old auction season left the gate running with a 23.5% increase in average and a 12.5% rise in median at the one-day Barretts March Sale. A son of Giant’s Causeway brought $1.15 million from Coolmore, the first seven-figure juvenile at that venue since 2007. 
   “I’m very optimistic that it will be a good market,” consignor Niall Brennan commented. “We’ve seen the sales be very good so far this year. I think so many more buyers come to this sale because we see a much broader market here–not just high end like it was at Barretts.” 
   Thursday’s heavy rain forced the first breeze show to be postponed a day. OBS officials later decided to consolidate the two-day sale, originally slated for Monday and Tuesday, into one session in order to give buyers more time to do their homework. Brennan was all in favor of the audible. 
   “I think OBS did a great job by catering to everybody by moving the breeze show,” Brennan confirmed. “It turned out that it was the right call. Having the sale all day Tuesday, which didn’t interfere with people’s plans to leave, was a great idea by them to focus on the buyers and give buyers time to get their work done. I think it will all end up being a good thing.” 
   Brennan concluded, “At the end of the day, once you get the momentum going, it should hopefully carry throughout the day.” 
   For catalogue, outs and results, or to watch the sale live, visit www.obssales.com.

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