10/13/2005 12:00AM

Ocala sale slips in open session


The Ocala Breeders' Sales Company's fall mixed sale began its open sessions Thursday with declines after enjoying an upswing in its consignor-preferred days earlier in the week.

The first open session sold 149 lots for $696,800, down from last year's equivalent session, when 129 horses brought $801,400. The average price also fell, from $6,212 to $4,677.

Thursday's open session came after three consignor-preferred sessions that produced a top price of $240,000 for the stakes-producing broodmare Indian Halo. A 10-year-old daughter of Halo and West Indies, she was sold to Doug Arnold by Bridlewood Farm, agent.

The first three days combined sold 559 lots for $12,458,500. The consignor-preferred sessions were extended to three days this year. Last year's two sessions sold 424 horses for $8,730,000. The three-day average price in 2005 was $22,287, up 8 percent from last season's $20,590. But the median dipped 6 percent, from $15,000 to $14,000. The buy-back rate increased from 25 percent last year to 28 percent.

The auction was to continue through Friday at the OBS facility in Ocala, Fla.