The Ocala Breeders’ Sales Company’s March 2-Year-Olds in Training Sale, the first juvenile auction of the season, begins Monday morning in Central Florida. With 833 horses catalogued–compared to 635 a year ago–the auction has been expanded to three days this year and bidding begins each day at 11 a.m.
“We have been pleased with the amount of traffic we have seen in the barn area,” OBS Director of Sales Tod Wojciechowski said. “With all of the buyers who have contacted us about coming into town for the sale, I feel pretty good. There are an awful lot of good horses on the grounds. I feel like we should have a good sale.”
The March sale, which transitioned from a select to an open sale in 2015, has been held over two days since 2014.
“That is something that happened organically,” Wojciechowski said of sale’s expansion to three days. “We didn’t do it intentionally. The whole idea of opening March up a few years ago was to create a bigger catalogue, a better critical mass, for a buyer to come in, to make it worth his while to come to the sale. I think consignors have become more comfortable selling in March in that environment, so I think it’s just an organic growth of the sale.”
The OBS April sale has stamped itself as the premier 2-year-old sale in the country in recent years, but the March sale seems to have drawn increased attention this year even as the auction calendar was shuffled with the absence of Fasig-Tipton’s boutique Gulfstream sale.
“It’s safe to say that we see the pendulum swing on the sales seasons from year to year or over a period of time,” Wojciechowski said. “Certainly April, rightly so, has gotten a lot of attention. But I think March is doing its job and holding its own.”
Without a seven-figure horse for two years, four hit the million-dollar mark at the 2022 March sale.
Asked if that could be a trend for the March market, Wojciechowski said succinctly, “I sure hope so.”
With its appearance as the first 2-year-old sale of the year, March attracts a specific type of offering and that could cap any future expansion of the auction, according to Wojciechowski.
“Being earlier in the year, you need to make sure you bring the right kind of horse to March,” he said. “You need to bring a horse that is precocious. That type of horse is the type that does well in March. Not every horse fits that bill.”
OBS conducted a four-day under-tack preview of the March sale last week. A colt by Good Magic (hip 546, video) and a son of Not This Time (hip 654, video) shared the fastest furlong time of :9 3/5, while a colt by Bucchero (hip 406, video) and a filly by Enticed (hip 631, video) shared the fastest quarter-mile time of :20 3/5.
“The breeze show went very well,” Wojciechowski said. “It was unfortunate we had some pretty significant headwinds Friday, gusting up to 20 and 30 miles an hour. There were some horses that hopefully don’t get overlooked and the buyers pay attention to the conditions under which they had to perform. There were some nice horses in that group that maybe don’t necessarily have the same time as other horses on the grounds, but are equally as nice.
“The second set of the second day was a little slower than the first set of the other days, but I think the buying public are sharp guys and they will be able to wade through varying conditions like that and pick out good horses.”
During last year’s March sale, 374 horses sold for $49,371,00 for an average of $132,008 and a median of $75,000. A colt by More Than Ready brought the auction’s top price of $1.2 million.