01/10/2003 12:00AM

Florida breeding: Let the winter auction season begin

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The Ocala Breeders' Sales Company's winter mixed sale begins the 2003 Florida auction schedule. The OBS has cataloged 915 horses, mostly broodmares and yearlings, to sell Monday through Wednesday.

The scene switches to Calder Race Course Feb. 4 for the OBS selected sale of 2-year-olds in training. Calder is also the venue for the annual Fasig-Tipton selected sale of 2-year-olds in training Feb. 25.

It's back to Ocala for the third and final winter selected sale of 2-year-olds in training on March 18 and 19. The day before the sale, the OBS racing festival will be run. It comprises six stakes worth a total of $370,000.

The March 20 Adena Springs Farm auction of 2-year-olds in training, held under the auspices of the OBS, will, like last year, be conducted under a tent at the farm.

The first of two OBS open sales of 2-year-olds in training begins on April 22 and continues for four sessions. The second is scheduled for June 17 and 18. Tom Ventura, OBS general manager and sales director, noted the strength of the middle of the bloodstock market, which he doesn't expect will change this year.

"There are many new stallions coming on line, especially in the local market, and I think buyers will respond positively to these newcomers," he said.

Among the Florida-based stallions with first yearlings in Monday's winter mixed sale are two sons of Saint Ballado: graded stakes winners Straight Man, who stands at Signature Stallions (formerly DunHill Stud), and Sweetsouthernsaint, who stands at Ocala Stud. Straight Man has had a book of at least 100 mares in both seasons he has stood; there are 12 mares in foal to his cover in this auction along with nine yearlings. Sweetsouthernsaint has five in-foal mares and six yearlings.

New name, old property

William C. Schettine has become the latest operator of the stallion facility that began some 20 years ago as Patricia Kennedy's Hyllview Stallion Station. Hyllview's leading stallions at that time were Canadian champion Norcliffe and the French-raced Mr. Prospector stallion Diamond Prospect. Schettine, a New Yorker, is leasing the facility from the property owners, who did business as DunHill Stud. Schettine has changed the name from DunHill Stud to Signature Stallions and has retained DunHill's management and staff.

Schettine, who is in the gas pipeline business, is a relative newcomer to the game - he made his first Thoroughbred purchases in 1998. But he has wasted little time building an empire. Among the nine stallions standing at Signature Stallions are the Schettine purchases Straight Man, Texas Glitter, and Unbridled Time.

Among the first of Schettine's

75 broodmare purchases is Felicita, bought in foal to Dehere for $42,000 at the 1998 Keeneland fall sales. He sold the resulting foal for $175,000 at the 2000 Fasig-Tipton July yearling sales. That filly is the Grade 1 winner and millionaire Take Charge Lady.

Stallion seasons for charity

Monday evening, following the opening session of the OBS winter mixed sale, the Florida Thoroughbred Charities will auction off stallion seasons in the OBS Kennedy pavilion. The latest stallion count is 94, and among them are Florida's two highest-priced stallions: Adena Springs's Red Bullet ($30,000) and Ocala Stud's Montbrook ($20,000). Those wishing to make telephone bids may do so by first arranging credit with the OBS.

Florida Thoroughbred Charities also holds a fund-raising event Sunday, the Black Tie & Blue Jeans party and silent auction at Steinbrenner's Ramada Inn. Festivities begin at 6:30 p.m. with a $25 contribution to the FTC needed for admission.