01/21/2004 12:00AM

Ocala sale average on rise

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A $300,000 Valid Appeal mare named Silk Appeal topped a strong day of selling at the Tuesday session of the Ocala Breeders' Sales Co.'s winter mixed sale in Ocala, Fla.

George Steinbrenner's Kinsman Stud Farm bought the 11-year-old Silk Appeal, who is in foal to popular stallion Montbrook. Kelli Mitchell consigned the mare on behalf of Einar Robsham, who is dispersing his breeding stock.

That price helped raise the OBS auction's two-day average by 24 percent, to $19,925. The first two sessions, both consignor-preferred rather than open sessions, grossed $5,778,200 for 290 horses, well up from last year's one-day consignor-preferred session, when just 198 lots brought $3,192,400. The median price dropped slightly, falling from $12,750 last year to $12,000. But the buy-back rate also declined, from last year's 34 percent to 26 percent in 2004.

The sale was to continue with two open sessions ending Thursday.