09/06/2002 12:00AM

Alberta sale prices drop 10 percent


EDMONTON, Alberta - The 2002 Alberta Canadian Thoroughbred Horse Society's annual sale, which ended Aug. 25, was down 10 percent from last year.

This year's average price was $7,163 from 142 horses sold out of an offering of 185, down from 2001, when the average price was $8,040 and 145 lots were sold from a catalogue of 170.

"Naturally, we are disappointed that we did not meet last year's robust average that was up 30 percent from 2000, or even show a small increase," said Rennie Gellner, manager of the Alberta division of the CTHS.

"One of the prime considerations is the substantially higher number of claims this year, both in Calgary and in Edmonton. The way that horses keep changing hands, there seems to be a rent-a-horse philosophy among many of the horsemen."

In the spring meet at Calgary, 133 horses were claimed for a total of $1,438,900. The latest figures at Northlands show that 150 horses were claimed for $1.5 million.

"Another major factor is this severe drought in the West, causing greatly increased food and bedding costs," Gellner said. "Then there also is a prevalent note of caution resulting from the downturn in the stock market."

In addition, several prominent area owners, such as D.K. (Don) Robins, died since the 2001 sale.

"Also, sales at Keeneland, Saratoga, Del Mar, and Florida have been down," Gellner said.

This year's sale-topper was a Regal Remark colt who went for $31,000 to Dorn Reis. The topper narrowly beat out $30,500 paid by Jack and Pat Wald for a Runaway Groom colt.