08/12/2002 11:00PM

Del Mar: Average inches up

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DEL MAR, Calif. - Bucking a national trend, the California Thoroughbred Breeders Association Del Mar yearling sale ended on Monday with an average price higher than at the 2001 sale.

At the two-night sale, which predominately sells California-breds, the average price reached a record $43,770, an increase of $107 from last year. The median price increased from $31,500 in 2001 to $32,000, also a record.

Overall, 98 yearlings sold for gross receipts of $4,289,500, down 5.5 percent from last year. There were 45 yearlings listed as not sold, a buy-back rate of 31 percent. Last year, 25 percent of the yearlings were bought back.

Earlier this summer, yearling sales in Kentucky and New York had lower average prices than in 2001.

Prices for Monday night's session at the Del Mar Horsepark were not as high as in Sunday's session, which was led by a $250,000 filly by Unbridled's Song.

The session-topper on Monday was a California-bred Bertrando colt sold for $150,000 to trainer Mel Stute, agent for Bob and Beverly Lewis. The colt was consigned by Mary Knight, agent, and is a half-brother to Four Cards Too, who finished third in the 2001 Beau Brummel Stakes at Fairplex Park.

Knight also consigned the session's leading filly, a daughter of In Excess who was sold to Mike Foster and Ed Friendly for $130,000.

Also on Monday, a Swiss Yodeler filly was bought for $100,000 by Nicholas Alexander. The filly was consigned by owner Julie Adair and was bought for $9,000 as a weanling from the 2001 Barretts October mixed sale.

Knight led all consignors with 13 yearlings selling for $600,000.

Stan Fulton, who bought the sale-topper on Sunday, led all buyers, spending $465,000 for four yearlings.