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  • Writer's pictureAcadia Acres

Your Guide to Attending the Ocala Breeders’ Sales in Florida

Ocala Breeders’ Sales is a company in Ocala, FL renowned for their thoroughbred sales that happen four times a year. These events are the place for serious thoroughbred aficionados to bid on horses, but it’s also a fun public event. Especially if you’re a fan of horse racing.

Image of a horse in Ocala FL

Here are 10 ways to make the most of your trip to the Ocala Breeders’ Sales.

  1. Double Check Event Details Access the Ocala Breeders’ Sales events calendar any time to review sale dates. During the “under tack” timeframe, you can go see the horses work. Usually, jockeys are “breezing” the horses, which means they’re running them at a training pace on the grounds. A neat thing to watch. The “Closing date” is less relevant to spectators. This is the date you have to have your horse entered into the sale if you want it to be included. But it can be helpful to know that the catalog is published shortly after this timeframe, and that’s your chance to see the specific horses that will be available at the upcoming auction.

  2. Pack Your Essentials The auction itself is a couple of hours long, and you’ll want time to explore the grounds. Plan to bring water, sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat with a brim if it’s going to be hot out.

  3. Make a Dining Plan Ocala Breeders’ Sales has a cafeteria on site, but the options are a little limited. For a finer dining experience, plan on getting a bite to eat beforehand. Elevation 89 is right across the street—it’s perfect for a sit down meal or a quick lunch. You’ll find an even bigger selection of options along SW College Road, just 4 miles southeast of Ocala Breeders’ Sales. Milano Italian Grille and Bonefish Grill are closeby and have 4.5-star ratings on Google.

  4. Explore the Ocala Breeders’ Sale Grounds The public is welcome to explore most areas of the sales grounds. This includes the Ocala Breeders’ Sales barns and the outdoor covered walking ring behind the auction area itself. This is a great way to get a taste of the behind-the-scenes action and see many of the horses up close.

  5. Be a Good Friend to Horses Thoroughbreds in particular can be a bit high strung. And with all the activity and people around, they could be prone to spook. Move slowly, keep noise to a minimum, put your phone on silent, and keep your hands to yourself. It’s also a good idea to just maintain situational awareness. The horses can fly back or kick out without much warning.

  6. Arrive at the Actual Auction Early This is the best way to get seats with a view.

  7. Enjoy the Show… Err, Auction There will be an introduction and welcome from the auctioneer or Ocala Breeders’ Sales staff. Typically they’ll provide an overview of the process for newcomers at this time. Then, each horse will be presented by its handler—potential bidders will be looking at its conformation, movement, overall appearance, and pedigree. Once people have had a chance to see the horse, the auctioneering calling will begin. Potential buyers signal their bids by raising their bid cards, nodding, or making some other gesture when the auctioneer reaches the price they want to pay. When the price point gets high enough that nobody else is bidding, the auctioneer will declare the most recent bidder the winner. Unless you want a horse, be careful not to raise your hand!

  8. Make Note of Your Favorite Horses Include their name, the year it was born, and the sire. Oftentimes equestrian fans will start to find stallions and breeding lines they particularly like, jockeys they think will be winners, or trainers you think do a consistently good job picking and producing event winners. Knowing which horses caught your eye at the Ocala Breeders’ Sale will help you follow its career later on.

  9. Grab an Iconic Photo The auction ring, outdoor track, or entrance sign all make great options.

  10. Enjoy the Rest of Your Time in Ocala, FL If you still have energy after the breeder sale, definitely scope out more things to do. Read these other blogs if you need ideas! Culinary Delights in Downtown Ocala: 7 Can't-Miss Eateries for Every Palate 6 Reasons to Visit Historic Downtown Ocala FL Manatee Encounters at Silver Springs State Park Planning Your Trip to the Florida Aquatics Swimming Training Center

We hope this information has been helpful in planning your trip to the Ocala Breeders’ Sale. If you have any questions about planning your visit, or want an insider’s scoop on the local scene, swing by Acadia Acres to learn more.


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