08/26/2005 11:00PM

OBS fails to match records

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The five-day Ocala Breeders' Sales Co.'s August yearling sale, which ended Friday, failed to match last year's strong results.

The 2005 auction opened with a one-day select session that could not keep pace with last year's record-setting select day.

The select session this year sold 182 yearlings for $9,171,500, down slightly from last year's $9,252,000 for 177 yearlings. This year's average price of $50,393 fell just short of last year's record $52,271, and the median declined 11 percent to $40,000, down from last year's record $45,000. Buybacks rose from 21 percent to 30 percent this year.

The top-selling yearling during the select session, and at the sale overall, was a $190,000 Songandaprayer-Revenge Time filly that Barry Berkelhammer, agent, purchased from Francis and Barbara Vanlangendonck's Summerfield consignment. Berkelhammer was representing Wanda Polisseni's Purple Haze Stable. The filly is a half-sister to graded winner Badge.

The four-day open portion of this year's sale had gross returns of $7,709,100 from sales of 751 yearlings, down from $9,252,000 for 714 horses last season, when there were three open sessions. The 2005 edition averaged $10,265, down 20 percent from last year's record $12,758. Median also fell from $7,000 to $6,000. In the face of a more testing market for sellers this year, the buyback rate rose to 26 percent from last season's 18 percent.

The highest price for the open sessions was the $160,000 that Bob Baffert, agent, paid for an Artax-Dixieland Fantasy colt consigned by agent Beth Bayer. The colt is a half-brother to stakes winner Dixie High.

The auction also featured the dispersal of Farnsworth Farm stock. The dispersal sold 39 yearlings for a total of $404,700, resulting in a $10,377 average and an $8,500 median. The dispersal's top price was $32,000 for a Double Honor filly out of Gabbah Bateman. Leprechaun Racing purchased the half-sister to stakes winner Callie and Jake.