08/24/2006 12:00AM

Ocala sale still going strong

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As its annual August yearling sale entered its next-to-last day on Thursday, the Ocala Breeders' Sales Company was celebrating the week's strong prices, which have translated into financial gains for the Florida auction house.

Thursday's session leader as of 5:30 p.m. was a $60,000 Red Bullet filly that agent Barry Berkelhammer purchased for Stirling Stables. Nancy Bauman, agent, consigned the filly, a daughter of Storm Flag.

The Thursday session followed the auction's third consecutive session of financial increases. After setting sale records in its select first day Monday, the August yearling sale continued to soar in its first two open days. The Wednesday session sold 201 lots for $2,545,500, well up from last year's equivalent session, when 188 yearlings brought $2,087,100. The average price rose 14 percent to hit $12,664, and the median fared even better, jumping 28 percent to $8,000. Despite those increases, the buy-back rate dipped only slightly, falling from last season's 29 percent to 28.7 percent this year.

The sale was to hold its final session Friday at the OBS facility in Ocala, Fla., beginning at 11 a.m.