Following the Ocala Breeders' Sales Company's grand slam season opener, Fasig-Tipton steps to the plate next Tuesday, Feb. 24, for its sale of 2-year-olds in training at Calder Race Course in South Florida. Fasig-Tipton will be trying to maintain the momentum generated by OBS at Calder on Feb. 3, when a sale record was established for average price and the company sold its most expensive juvenile ever, a $1.6-million Wild Rush colt."We are extremely optimistic," said Boyd Browning, the executive vice president and chief operating officer of Fasig-Tipton. "The OBS sale continued to demonstrate the strength that we saw in the Thoroughbred market the latter part of 2003. We've also got an outstanding catalogue in terms of pedigrees and physicals. When you look through it, there's not too many horses you see and say, 'Oops, how did that one get in there?' I think we're going to have a very, very good sale."One indication of quality is the average price paid by pinhookers to acquire their horses as yearlings. This year's figure of $102,524 is a sale record. The catalogue includes horses by such standout sires as A.P. Indy, Gone West, Seattle Slew, Seeking the Gold, and Storm Cat.Last year, the market Fasig-Tipton was fairly stable. The 246 horses sold grossed $29,077,000, down 1.4% from 2002. The average of $209,187 also was down 1.4%. However, the median dropped 14.3% to $150,000. The buy-back rate fell slightly, from 45.3% in 2002 to 43.5% in 2003.Fasig-Tipton officials were pleased with the results because early in 2003 there was a lot of concern about the health of the American economy and the looming war with Iraq. This year, the main conflict is over, and there's plenty of evidence that the economy is on the rebound, creating a more favorable climate for business upswings.Prior to shipping their horses to Calder, consignors told Fasig-Tipton "their farms were busier than they had ever been with people looking," Browning said.