01/14/2004 12:00AM

Keeneland sale still strong

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Keeneland continued selling half-million dollar horses on Wednesday, day three of its January horses of all ages sale. As of 5 p.m. Eastern, the session topper was Swiss Lake ($500,000), a stakes-winning 5-year-old daughter of Indian Ridge who was Group 2-placed as a juvenile.

Consigned by Hopewell Farm, Swiss Lake was purchased by Kern/Lillingston Association, who acted as agent in the transaction. She sold as a broodmare prospect.

Heading into Wednesday's third session, gross revenue for the sale had already surpassed last year's total for the entire January auction. A total of 491 horses sold over the first two days of the sale, totaling $35,374,200, a 61 percent increase from the first two days of the 2003 auction.

The average price after two sessions was $72,045, an increase of 49 percent from last year's two-day average. The median price was up 23 percent and the buy-back rate was 24 percent, down from 28 percent in 2003.

The sale runs through Friday.