Horse racing fans in The Villages have gotten used to a yearly day of horse racing at Ocala Breeders’ Sales.
Last year’s edition was the 28th version of the OBS Day of Champions.
It was a racing card that was made up of a couple pari-mutuel quarter horse races and four restricted stakes races for thoroughbreds, which consisted of only one pari-mutuel stakes race.
For the past four years, it was held in conjunction with the January sale at the facility. Before that, it was held a little later in the spring.
This year, things have changed.
This year, the Day of Champions has been changed to the 2018 OBS Day of Racing. It will be held Tuesday at the facility’s all-weather track.
For now, the Day of Champions is on the back burner.
“The Day of Champions may or may not be held this year,” said OBS president Tom Ventura. “If it is held, we are looking at a date in the late fall.”
Tuesday’s racing card will offer more wagering opportunities for the fans than the Day of Champions.
There will be eight quarter horse races and one thoroughbred race on which betting will be conducted. In the past, only two quarter horse and one thoroughbred had wagering.
Each race will have win, place, show, exacta and rolling daily double wagering. The eighth race will be the last race to begin a daily double.
The quarter horse card will include jockeys Vernon Bush and Ron Hisby.
Bush is a veteran thoroughbred rider and Hisby rides thoroughbreds across the country.
The thoroughbred race is a six-furlong starter allowance affair. It is for horses that have run for a claiming price of $10,000 or less in 2017 or 2018.
The morning line favorite at odds of 7/2 is Chilean-bred Red Cat.
Red Cat has a Villages connection as he is owned and trained by Rory Barron, son of Piedmont-resident Skip Barron.
Barron will be in Ocala leading the cheers for Red Cat.
Red Cat should fit the synthetic course at OBS well as he has had many races on synthetic surfaces.
The 6-year-old gelding is by 2006 Breeders’ Cup Turf champion Red Rocks.
Whereas the Day of Champions drew thousands from The Villages to the OBS facility, the OBS Day of Racing is expected to do the same because of the more wagering being offered.
Like the Day of Champions, there is no admission or parking fee and visitors are invited to tail-gate.
Those attending may want to bring a lawn chair because seating is somewhat limited.
Post time for the first race is scheduled to run at 1 p.m. The thoroughbred race is scheduled for a 5 p.m. start as the day’s final race.
The Day of Races is being held in conjunction with the OBS Winter Mixed, which runs Wednesday and Thursday.
Wednesday, the preferred session will be held with hip numbers 1-254 entering the ring beginning at 10:30 a.m.
Horses of racing age hip numbers 255-366 follow.
On Thursday, the open session begins at 10:30 a.m. with hip numbers 401-788.
The horses-of-racing-age is very popular to beginners to the sport as they can obtain a horse in training for a fairly decent price.
The under-tack show is scheduled for Monday.
For more information on the sale and the under-tack schedule, go to obssales.com. Past performances for the racing age horses are also on the site.
The public is invited to attend the sale sessions.
OBS is directly across from the Ocala Municipal Airport on SW 60th Avenue.
The OBS phone number is 352-237-2154.