06/22/2001 12:00AM

Market was best at the top

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The curtain came down on Florida's five months of 2-year-old in training sales Wednesday, when the Ocala Breeders' Sales Company completed its annual schedule of four auctions.

The season began with the OBS sale at Calder Race Course, continued weeks later with the Fasig-Tipton auction in the same venue, then moved up the state to Ocala for March, April, and June.

"Overall the market held its own," said Tom Ventura, the OBS sales director. "Quality sells," he added. "As for the buy-back rate of roughly 30 percent, this has become the norm for these types of sales. The buy-back rate was a little higher than last year for us, but the top of the market continued strong. OBS sold its first million-dollar horse in March and we also sold more six figure horses than ever before."

A year ago at the five Florida sales, 1,457 horses were sold for an average of $59,410. This year the five sales generated an average of $56,715 for 1,399 sold.

The actual buy-back rate for all five sales was probably closer to 40 percent. The buy-back rate is somewhat deceptive, however, because the highest percentage of those being bought back were at the lower end of the market.

Typical of what happened at the 2001 2 year-old sales was the experience of Davis and Deaton Thoroughbreds, agent for Anna Lee, wife of retired jockey Mike Lee, and co-owner Jose Alvarez. Anna Lee pin-hooked June sale catalog number 322 from the 2000 OBS August yearling auction. This daughter of freshman sire Fabulous Frolic was a $4,000 yearling buy, or one quarter of the average price of the yearling get of her sire last year.

Whatever Anna Lee saw in this filly a year ago, others picked up on Thursday as number 322 went from a $4,000 yearling to a $100,000

2 year-old in training who joins the stable of Oaklawn Park owner Charles Cella.

Honor Glide still going strong

Kim Heath, daughter-in-law of Bonnie Heath of Needles fame, reports that although her father-in-law is limited by the infirmities of advancing age, he is still very much a part of game.

When asked about the future of both the millionaire Honor Glide and the 3-year-old graded stakes winner Kalu, whom the Heaths own in partnership (Honor Grades, their sire, began his stud career at Heath Farm) Kim said: "Honor Glide is still interested in running and we have several options for him, including the United Nations Handicap at Monmouth or the Bowling Green at Belmont. Fact is, he is telling us that he is still a youngster even though he is 7.

"When Honor Glide won at Belmont last week it was like giving him a drink from the fountain of youth. No plans yet on when and where he will eventually retire," she said. "Kalu disappointed us in Kentucky a few weeks back, but it was a very hot day and he did not sweat. We freshened him and it looks like he'll go for the Lexington Stakes at Belmont."

* Bob Van Worp reports that his 1995 champion sprinter, Not Surprising, is enjoying a life of leisure."The old boy is doing well," said Van Worp of Not Surprising, a gelding. "He's on my farm near Tampa Bay Downs. I gave some thought to turning him over to one of the jumping trainers and see if there was another career in him, but I didn't want to see him get hurt. So he'll just be my guest as long as he lives."

* Bill Read has taken over from Hap Proctor as farm manager for Leonard Lavin's 400-acre Glen Hill Farm. Read is the former manager for Happy Valley Farm and past president of the Florida Farm Managers, Inc., and voted one of its farm managers of the the year. Proctor will continue his capacity as general manager for Glen Hill Farm.