04/29/2005 12:00AM

Best of state all in one sale


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - More than 700 yearlings have been nominated to the Barretts October yearling sale on Oct. 4, which will mark the merger of the defunct Del Mar yearling sale and Barretts' own October event.

The merger of the two sales is designed to bring together the state's leading yearlings and buyers in one place, according to Doug Burge, the executive director of the California Thoroughbred Breeders Association. The CTBA operated the Del Mar sale.

The launch of the four-year agreement between the CTBA and Barretts will change the landscape for yearling consignors and buyers. The October sale will be the first major yearling sale in the state and will be held after the marathon Keeneland September yearling sale in Kentucky.

Beginning this week, inspectors will begin visiting farms in northern California to observe and analyze yearlings. In late May, inspectors will cover the rest of the state, as well as several states in the West and Midwest.

Burge said northern California yearling owners will be notified by the end of the month whether their horses have been accepted for the Barretts sale. If not, he said, he hopes they will be entered for the Pleasanton yearling sale conducted by the CTBA on Aug. 16.

Burge said that of the more than 700 yearlings nominated to the Barretts October sale, 600 will be inspected. Some were rejected because of a lack of pedigree. Barretts and CTBA officials hope to catalog about 325 yearlings. The figure is more than double what was offered at the Del Mar yearling sale when it was held at the Del Mar HorsePark, and nearly 200 more than what was offered last year, when the sale was held at the Del Mar racetrack.

The 325-yearling figure is slightly less than what was offered last year at the Barretts October yearling sale. Burge said he is hoping that the 325 yearlings will represent the best the state can offer.

"The goal is to eliminate 150 to 175 yearlings at the bottom of the past Barretts sales and replace them with horses that would have sold at Del Mar," he said.

"We want to offer enough horses to attract trainers and buyers locally, but also outside of California. I heard it more than ever last year from people,such as Florida pinhookers, that when we narrowed [the Del Mar sale] down to roughly 100 horses they felt it wasn't in their best interest to look at such a small group," Burge said. "Selecting a higher number will allow us to attract buyers of all price ranges."

In 2004, the Del Mar yearling sale had a record average of $48,228, but was marred by a buyback rate of 48 percent of the 110 horses that went through the ring. The sale had a record median of $33,000.

The sale topper was a Bertrando colt that was bought for $250,000.

The 2004 Barretts October yearling sale saw 242 horses sell for an average of $13,363, down 2 percent. The 2003 sale rose 8 percent in average price with 236 horses sold. The sale-topper at the 2004 sale was a General Meeting filly that sold for $170,000.

Burge said the agreement between the CTBA and Barretts calls for 75 percent of the yearlings cataloged to be statebreds. He said 85 percent of the nominated yearlings are statebreds.

"We're trying to get the best horses and the buyers in one location, which we couldn't do before," he said.