08/30/2016 9:49AM

Former OBS President Chiota dies

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-- Edited press release --

Tom Chiota, long-time past president of Ocala Breeders’ Sales Company, passed away on August 28 at the age of 70.

Chiota guided the Ocala, Fla., company from its infancy in the late 1970s as an outlet for local breeders to a thriving sales company with an international presence. Under his leadership, OBS expanded from its original six barns to its present 29 with two racetracks. The company added a feed division, OBS Feed & Supply, an intertrack wagering facility on the sale grounds, conducted an annual day of live racing, and acquired Ocala Jai Alai. After his retirement in 2012, Chiota remained active in OBS operations as a consultant.

“Tom Chiota’s steady hand in a turbulent business was vital for the growth and success of OBS,” said OBS president Tom Ventura. “It was an honor to work side by side with Tom for more than 20 years. His OBS family will miss his wit and wisdom. We extend our heartfelt condolences to his cherished family.”

His family will receive friends from 4-6 p.m., Thursday, September 1, at Hiers-Baxley Funeral Home in Ocala, with the memorial service beginning at 6 p.m. Online condolences may be expressed at www.hiers-baxley.com.