The Ocala Breeders' Sales Company's August yearling sale finished its four-day run in Central Florida Thursday with small declines in gross revenue and average price. The 843 horses sold grossed $11,610,900 and averaged $13,773. Compared to a year ago, the number sold was up by 3.6%, but the gross and average dipped by 4.9% and 8.1%, respectively. "Under the circumstances, with some volatility in horse sales this year--especially at the upper end--and the conditions of the financial markets, I thought we held up very well," said Tom Ventura, the OBS general manager and director of sales.During the three days of open sessions from Tuesday through Thursday, 627 horses were sold for a gross of $5,521,400 and an average of $8,806. The median was $5,250. The number sold, gross, and average decreased by 8.2%, 14.2%, and 6.5%,respectively, but the median rose by 5.0%. The buy-back rate fell from 30.4% last year to 27.7% this year. The most expensive yearling sold during the final session was Exspressway West, a Way West colt that was purchased for $87,000 by California trainer Bob Baffert, as agent. Florida horsemen Kevin and J.B. McKathan signed the sale ticket. Produced from the 10-year-old unraced Exclusive Ribot mare Exrani, Exspressway West is a half-brother to Fortunate Charmer (by Fortunate Prospect), who captured the 1993 Luvinheriseasy Stakes at the Meadowlands. Sue Vacek consigned Exspressway West for his breeder, John H. Cooper Jr.The sale began on Monday with a select session and the first phase of a major reduction of stock by Louisiana oilman John Franks. The 135 select yearlings sold grossed $5,247,700 and averaged $38,872. The 81 Franks yearlings sold grossed $841,800 and averaged $10,393.