03/15/2002 12:00AM

Six stakes set for Ocala racing festival


The Ocala sales and racing festival gets under way Monday with six black-type stakes worth an aggregate $370,000.

On Tuesday and Wednesday, 407 selected 2-year-olds in training will be sold by Ocala Breeders' Sales Company.

The inaugural Adena Springs South auction of its 2-year-olds in training will be held on Thursday. That sale, with 70 horses cataloged, will also be conducted by the OBS, but on the Adena Springs South premises about a 20 minutes north of Ocala.

Tops among Monday's races are two $100,000 OBS Championship Stakes at 1 1/16 miles for 3-year-olds, one for males and the other for fillies. There are companion stakes on the card, with $50,000 purses at six furlongs. The other two races on the program are semi-restricted stakes with purses of $35,000 each.

After Monday's races, attention shifts to Steinbrenner's Ramada Inn for the annual Florida Thoroughbred Breeders' and Owners' Association champions awards banquet. Florida-bred champion horses for 2001 will be honored, and several Florida breeders will be cited for various accomplishments for the year. Randy Moss of ESPN will be the master of ceremonies.

"We expect a good sale," said Tom Ventura, the general manager and sales director at OBS. "We set a record last year with a $70,000 average, and given the quality of our catalog, I do not see why we should not do as well, if not better this year. The economy has apparently stabilized. So, we are thinking positive."

The opening-day session has cataloged 204 lots, leaving 203 for Wednesday.

The 2-year-olds selling on the opening day of the auction went under tack last Sunday, and the remainder went under tack on Monday. They were scheduled to go again this weekend, beginning at 9 a.m. each day. All sales horses are videotaped.

Kentucky-breds and Florida-breds make up the bulk of the sale, with two-thirds of the lots from one of those two states.

Traditionally, this sale has also been a showcase for New York-breds as well, and 30 of them are cataloged

The Adena Springs South sale represents two-thirds of the Adena Springs crop of 2-year-olds. This sale will vary in format from the Monday-Tuesday sessions. First, the sales horses will not breeze before the auction. They will gallop instead.

All sales horses will be videotaped before auction day for potential buyers, and they will gallop around the track on sales day, with the first gallops scheduled for 9 a.m.

After the 70 horses have galloped, there will be a country-and-Western-themed lunch with barbecue and music. A pre-sale inspection is available. The auction begins at 3 p.m.

The most unusual part of Adena Springs sale is be the pre-pricing of the 2-year-olds. Not since renowned Canadian breeder E.P. Taylor pre-priced his homebreds in the glory days of the Windfields Farm a generation ago have buyers had to work with pre-pricing.

The details of the pre-pricing scheme were not yet determined as of Friday, but one way or another each sales horse will have a reserve.