12/31/2004 1:00AM

Barretts-CTBA sale in works


Officials with the Barretts sale company in Pomona and the California Thoroughbred Breeders Association are negotiating the terms of a joint venture to form an annual yearling sale that will be conducted in October at Barretts.

The proposal would mark the end of the CTBA's Del Mar yearling sale, which has struggled in recent years to sustain growth enjoyed in the late 1990's.

The new sale, tentatively scheduled for Oct. 4, would occupy the time slot in the calendar currently held by the Barretts October preferred yearling sale. The Del Mar sale has been held in August.

Organizers are hoping that the merger of the two sales into a one-day sale showcasing the best yearlings available in the state will prove attractive to buyers. An announcement with further details is expected within a week.

The sale is expected to offer a catalog of approximately 400 yearlings.

In recent years, the two sales have competed to some extent for sale prospects.

The Del Mar yearling sale has had a limited catalog because of the space available to house yearlings at the Del Mar HorsePark, where the sale was held from 1996 to 2003, and at the Del Mar racetrack, where the sale was held last year. The Del Mar sale has had approximately 150 to 175 horses in recent years.

Last August, the sale was even smaller. Of the 110 horses that went through the ring, 57 were sold for a record average of $48,228, but 53 were recorded as bought back. Nine were retained for prices higher than the record average. The 2003 sale had an average price of $34,506.

The 2004 sale was criticized because of its location in the racetrack paddock and because it took place in the evening, which led to poor visibility. Horsemen criticized the absence of a pre-sale ring where they could have a last look at a prospective purchase before it went into the sale ring.

The Barretts October preferred yearling sale has had a lower average than the Del Mar sale. The 2004 sale saw 242 yearlings sell for $3,233,750, an average of $13,363 and a median of $8,500. The average price marked a 2-percent decline from 2003.

Big stakes year for Cal-breds

The 2004 season was filled with graded-stakes-winning California-bred fillies and mares.

The latest example occurred Dec. 27, when Alphabet Kisses pulled an upset in the Grade 1 La Brea Stakes at Santa Anita.

She joins a remarkable list of accomplished statebred fillies and mares who won major stakes in 2004, including Silent Sighs, the winner of the Grade 1 Santa Anita Oaks; Moscow Burning, the winner of the Grade 2 Sheepshead Bay Handicap; Yearly Report, a three-time graded stakes winner; and Bear Fan, Dream of Summer, House of Fortune, and Summer Wind Dancer, all of whom are two-time graded stakes winners.

Alphabet Kisses scored her first stakes win in the seven-furlong La Brea. A winner of 5 of 9 starts and $326,910 for owner John Harris and trainer Marty Jones, Alphabet Kisses was making her graded stakes debut in the La Brea.

Harris said Alphabet Kisses would make her next start in the $500,000 Sunshine Millions Distaff for California-breds and Florida-breds at Santa Anita on Jan. 29.

The California-bred group for the Sunshine Millions will also include Dream of Summer, Yearly Report, and House of Fortune.

Alphabet Kisses is by Alphabet Soup out of Kiss for Six, a mare by Saratoga Six.

Kiss for Six is being bred back to Alphabet Soup, who stands for $20,000 at Adena Springs Kentucky.