01/17/2006 1:00AM

Ocala mixed sale under way

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Hoping to benefit from recent high demand for broodmares and broodmare prospects, the Ocala Breeders' Sales Company's January mixed auction opened Tuesday in Ocala, Fla., with the first of three consignor-preferred sessions.

The four-day auction follows record-setting breeding stock sales at Keeneland's November and January sales and strong results, especially for mares, at Fasig-Tipton's November sale, all in Kentucky. The strong demand for broodmares appeared to be holding up at Ocala on Tuesday, where the opening session's early leader was the $265,000 stakes-placed mare Lunar Star, cataloged in

foal to the hot young sire Songandaprayer. Matthews Stables bought Lunar Star, a full sister to Grade 1 winner Lunar Spook, from Michael Yates's Shadybrook Farm, agent.

Lunar Star is by Silver Ghost and out of the Idle Minds mare Rafael Luna.

With the session still under way at 5 p.m., it remained to be seen whether buyers' desire for high-quality mares would also lift prices for middle-class mares. There was a wide disparity in selling prices in the early going, ranging from $1,000 to $265,000. But Songandaprayer had a couple of early successes in the sale's opening hours. In addition to being the covering sire of the session-leader, he also was the sire of the day's other six-figure horse as of 5 p.m. That was a $110,000 yearling colt out of Rhonda's Rocket. Chestnut Valley Farm bought the chestnut colt from agent Nancy Bauman. He is a half-brother to the winners Newsman, Smokestacklightnin, and Rockets Red Glare.

The sale was to continue through Friday, with sessions starting daily at 11 a.m.