08/19/2003 12:00AM

Ocala sale opens strongly

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Following a strong select session that produced a $190,000 topper by Anees, the Ocala Breeders' Sales Co.'s August yearling sale got its first open session under way Tuesday on a more muted note.

Early in Tuesday's session, the leader was a $50,000 Montbrook colt out of Round Z. Bend that Solitary Oak and Parrish Farm bought from Cloverleaf Farms, agent.

Monday's opener produced strong results that countered earlier downturns at two other regional markets this month, Fasig-Tipton's New York-bred sale and the California Thoroughbred Breeders Association's Del Mar yearling sale. The New York sale saw a 16 percent drop in average price from 2002, and gross and median both fell, though less dramatically. The CTBA auction's average fell 21 percent from the previous year's record average, and buy-backs went up at both auctions.

Things were more optimistic at OBS. Monday's select session, one of four sale days, produced an average price of $44,215, up 14 percent from last year's. The median gained 9 percent to reach $35,000, and the buy-back rate dropped from 30 percent to 27 percent. The first session sold 144 yearlings for $6,367,000, up from the $5,247,700 that 135 brought last year.

Francis and Barbara Vanlangendonck's Summerfield agency sold the session topper, a colt from the first crop of champion juvenile Anees, who died earlier this year. John Moynihan, agent, bought the colt.