04/23/2003 11:00PM

Prices slide at Ocala juvenile sale

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After gains at its first session and declines at its second, the Ocala Breeders' Sales Co.'s spring juvenile sale in Florida saw the top prices tail off further at the next-to-last session Thursday.

As of 5 p.m., the day's highest price was $75,000 for two horses: Hip No. 646, a Storm Boot-Miss O'Keefe colt that Larry Durocher Jr. bought from Sez Who Thoroughbreds, and Hip No. 709, a Capture the Gold-Norm's Louise filly that ASG Stable and partners bought from Price Thoroughbreds, agent.

On Wednesday, the four-day auction's second session posted sharp declines from last year. A $175,000 Larrupin' filly out of stakes-placed Irish and Foxy was the high mark. Peter Karches bough the filly from Halcyon Hammock Farm, agent.

But gross receipts fell 22 percent to $3,202,500 for 170 lots sold. Last year, 190 lots sold for $4,108,800. The average price also was off 13 percent, down to $18,838 this year, the and median dropped 20 percent to $12,000. The buy-back rate, the percentage of horses who failed to reach their reserve price, jumped from 24 percent to 29 percent.

Wednesday's declines followed stronger selling at the opening session on Tuesday, which saw across-the-board increases and a decline in the buy-back rate from 27 percent to 25 percent.

The auction was to continue through Friday.