03/20/2003 1:00AM

OBS ends with average dip


LEXINGTON, Ky. - The Ocala Breeders' Sales Company's March selected juvenile sale ended Wednesday with an increase in gross revenue from a greater number of lots sold, but the average price dropped 9 percent and the median fell 7 percent from last year.

Topped by a $350,000 American Chance filly, the auction sold a total of 273 horses for gross receipts of $18,196,500, 23 percent above last year's $14,722,000 for 200 lots. The 2003 average price was $66,654, down from last year's record $73,610. The median was $50,000, compared with last year's $53,500.

But the buy-back rate also fell, from 38 percent last year to 34 percent in 2003. The upper echelon remained healthy, with 17 lots bringing $200,000 or more.

* Frank Stronach's Adena Springs South brought in OBS staff to conduct its annual 2-year-old auction Thursday. As of 4:30 p.m., the highest price was $120,000 for Hip No. 8, a Boston Harbor colt out of the stakes-winning Valid Appeal mare Belle's Appeal, bought by Francis McDonnell. The single-session auction was to sell 88 horses.