08/21/2007 11:00PM

Ocala session down slightly

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The Ocala Breeders' Sales Company's August yearling sale began its open sessions Tuesday with slight declines in gross receipts and average price, reflecting continuing conservatism among yearling buyers this season.

On Wednesday, that conservatism briefly gave way to exuberance when bidding for Hip No. 580, a Macho Uno colt out of Grade 1-placed Secret of Mecca, brought $150,000 from Marquez Brothers Stables. Beth Bayer, agent, sold the colt, who was still leading the second of four open sessions at 5 p.m. Wednesday.

Tuesday's top seller was an $82,000 Sky Classic filly out of Rainbow Strike. Richard Galpin of the Newmarket International agency purchased the session-topper on behalf of British horseman John Best. The filly is the second registered foal for her dam, a winning Smart Strike mare. Kaizen Sales agency consigned the filly as Hip No. 495.

The Tuesday session's gross for 218 yearlings sold was $2,856,600, only slightly off last year's total of $2,943,600 for 216 horses. The average price was down -percent, from $13,628 to $13,104. And median price remained level with last year's figure of $8,000.

The buy-back rate improved from 25 percent a year ago to 22 percent.

The open yearling sessions were to continue through Friday at the OBS facility in Ocala, Fla.