More horses were sold at the Japan Racing Horse Association's select foal sale than ever before. But the gross revenue suffered a setback, and the average price fell to its lowest level in the auction's four-year history. The 185 horses sold grossed ¥5,165,800,000 ($40,998,412) and averaged ¥27,920,000 ($221,587). Compared to 2000's results, the number sold rose by 6.9% while the gross and average dropped by 14.8% and 20.4%, respectively.The buy-back rate was 33.6%, with 94 of the 289 horses offered failing to find new homes. Last year's buy-back rate was 35.4%.The auction was conducted on Monday and Tuesday at the Northern Horse Park on the Japanese island of Hokkaido.A colt by Japan's perennial leading sire, Sunday Silence, was the sale-topper, bringing ¥190,000,000 ($1,507,936) during Tuesday's final session. Produced from the unraced Nureyev mare Lotta Lace, the colt was purchased by John Ferguson Bloodstock for Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum of Dubai. Lotta Lace, a 9-year-old, is a half-sister to English and Irish champions Try My Best and El Gran Senor, both of which became successful sires. She also is a half-sister to Irish group III winner Solar. The sale-topping colt was consigned by Northern Farm.Ferguson purchased a total of seven horses, including three Sunday Silence fillies and two colts by Japan's leading sire. In total he spent ¥564,000,000 ($4,476,188).The top-priced filly was a daughter of Mr. Greeley--Blue Avenue, which was bought by Makoto Kaneko for ¥72 million ($571,428). She was sold during Monday's session.Monday's high price, and the sale's second-highest price paid, was a Sunday Silence colt produced from 1996 Yerba Buena Handicap (gr. IIIT) winner Fanjica who sold for ¥150 million ($1,190,476). Consigned by Shadai Farm, the colt was purchased by Hiroyoshi Usuda. A 9-year-old daughter of Law Society, Fanjica also captured the 1995 Lancashire Oaks (Eng-III) and the 1996 Reloy Stakes at Santa Anita Park. She finished second in six added-money events, including the 1997 Yellow Ribbon Stakes (gr. IT).The third-highest price of ¥112 million ($888,888) was brought by a Pilsudski--Elizabeth Rose colt on Monday, which also was consigned by Shadai Farm. The buyer was Takao Watanabe.