"I'm anticipating a good sale," said Tom Ventura, the OBS director of sales and general manager. "There has been a good mixture of buyers here. There also has been quite a bit of interest in the videos. We've sent out as many or maybe more than we have in the past."In addition, according to Ventura, "we have an excellent group of upper end horses, with more depth than we've ever had. The sale has been moving that way for a while, and we've gotten better and better horses each year. We also have plenty of horses in the $50,000 to $100,000 range. This sale has been very productive with (graduates including) Santa Anita Handicap (gr. I) winner Southern Image and (grade I winner) Peace Rules, who just won a $500,000 race (the New Orleans Handicap, gr. II)."The March sale offers a variety of 2-year-olds at many price levels, with a ceiling that has usually ranged from $300,000 to $600,000 in recent years. However, in 2002, the auction sold a horse for $1,050,000, showing potential for big fireworks. Consignors have started moving some of their better juveniles into the March sale because in provides a broader base of buyers than the February auctions in South Florida and gives them more time to prepare their horses.
Last year, 273 horses were sold for a gross of $18,196,500, an average price of $66,654, and a median price of $50,000. The gross rose 23.6% from the previous year to its second-highest level ever. The average and median declined 9.4% and 6.5%, respectively. The buy-back rate fell to 33.6% from 37.9% in 2002.