08/13/2001 11:00PM

Cal.-bred fillies in demand at sale

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DEL MAR, Calif. - Demand for California-bred fillies and a spirited bidding market helped propel the Del Mar Yearling Sale to new heights in Monday's opening session of the two-day sale at the Del Mar HorsePark.

Seven California-bred yearlings brought $100,000 or more and six were fillies. Overall, 49 horses sold for $2,593,000, an average price of $52,918, which was believed to be a record for a single session. The record average for the overall sale is $36,815, set in 1999.

By comparison, five horses were sold for $100,000 or more over two days last year. During Monday's session, 17 yearlings were bought back by their consignors for $506,000, an average of $29,765.

The session topper was a Bertrando filly purchased for $200,000 by Martha Bonde of San Ramon, Calif., the wife of prominent northern California trainer Jeff Bonde. Carl Grether, who has horses with trainer Howard Zucker in Southern California, was the underbidder.

The Bertrando filly was consigned by Berkey Bloodstock Services, agent, and is out of Rio Tejo, a 13-year-old Tsunami Slew mare who is the dam of stakes winners Guillermo and Rio Oro.

Jeff Bonde said the filly will eventually be sold to one of his owners and that he may keep a percentage.

"I thought I was in deep water because Howard's man was bidding," Bonde said. "She was without question the best looking filly in the sale to me. She's by the hottest sire in the state. She's got some residual value if things don't go as we hope, but I think it will go well. She looks like a racehorse."

Bertrando was also the sire of the top-selling colt, who sold for $155,000 to John Deeter of Reno, Nev. The colt is out of Minister Wife, the winner of the 1994 Demoiselle Stakes. The Bertrando colt was consigned by Tommy Town Thoroughbreds, and was purchased last fall for $70,000 as a weanling at Keeneland.

Three other fillies sold for $150,000 or more. A full-sister to Go Go was purchased for $165,000 by Stanley Fulton of Las Vegas. Fulton, the owner of Sunland Park racetrack, near El Paso, bought four yearlings on Monday for $325,000.

A half-sister to Gourmet Girl, a multiple Grade 1 stakes winner, sold for $150,000. By Memo, the filly was purchased by a partnership.

An In Excess filly sold for $152,000 to Barry Henley of Chatsworth, Calif., who races under the name Imagination Stable.