02/14/2009 12:00AM

OBS offers 5 stakes but no parimutuels


The annual winter rite of Thoroughbred racing in Florida's horse country, Ocala, Fla., takes place again Monday when former graduates of the Ocala Breeders' Company sales ring will assemble for the Ocala Breeders' Sales Championships.

Five stakes races - four of which are restricted to horses who were sold by OBS - totaling $425,000 in purses will be decided, highlighted by the $150,000 Darley Ocala Breeders' Sale Championship for 3-year-olds at 1 1/16 miles.

There is no parimutuel wagering on any of the races, which will be run over the all-weather Safetrack surface at the Ocala Training Center.

The OBS Championship drew a full field of 12 3-year-olds, led by Southern Exchange, Swinging Bernie, Skipadate, and Sabi Sabi.

Southern Exchange figures to improve off his seventh-place finish in the Sunshine Millions Dash. The outing was the first on dirt for the two-time stakes winner and his first anywhere in nearly four months. As a 2-year-old, Southern Exchange won both the Victoria and Colin stakes running over the synthetic surface at Woodbine. He then shipped to Del Mar, where he finished fourth, beaten slightly more than a length, by leading Kentucky Derby prospect Midshipman in the Grade 1 Del Mar Futurity.

Southern Exchange, who is trained by Gregory De Gannes, worked a bullet five furlongs in 59.40 seconds at Palm Meadows on Feb. 8.

Swinging Bernie, a $200,000 purchase nearly a year ago at the OBS March 2-year-old sale, has captured 1 of 3 starts on turf for trainer Todd Pletcher. Swinging Bernie was an impressive maiden winner in his 2008 finale and likely needed his 3-year-old bow when he tired late after pressing the issue to midstretch of a first-level allowance race at Gulfstream Park on Jan. 16.

Skipadate is one of two horses trainer Mark Casse entered in the OBS Championship along with Dynamic Force.

Skipadate finished second, beaten a head, in the Grade 3 Summer Stakes at Woodbine before closing out the year finishing well back in both the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf and Grade 3 Delta Jackpot.

Dynamic Force was a sharp allowance winner over the Fair Grounds turf in his 2-year-old finale but was badly beaten trying dirt for the first time in the Grade 3 Lecomte.

Sabi Sabi rallied to a win an entry-level allowance while making his first start for trainer Eddie Plesa Jr. to close out his juvenile campaign and has worked forwardly for his 3-year-old bow in the OBS Championship.

The filly division of the $100,000 Darley OBS Stakes lured 10 3-year-old fillies, including the stakes-tested Fitz Just Right from the barn of trainer Kiaran McLaughlin. Fitz Just Right, who brought $160,000 at the OBS September sale in 2008 as the most expensive member of the field, shipped south after finishing a strong fourth following early trouble in Aqueduct's Busanda Stakes on Jan. 10.

Other top contenders in the filly division include recent Gulfstream allowance winner Best Lass, the stakes-placed Hot Chili Pepper, and three-time winner Sweetsaintomine.

The other stakes on the card are the $75,000 Darley Sprint for 3-year-old colts and geldings, the filly division of the $50,000 Darley Sprint for 3-year-old fillies, and the $50,000 Florida Thoroughbred Charity Stakes for 3-year-olds and up.