07/20/2012 2:47PM

Del Mar Paddock Sale out to attract new owners


DEL MAR, Calif. – The gross and average prices of Sunday’s Paddock Sale at Del Mar will provide conventional barometers for the 44-horse sale.

Another assessment of the Sunday evening event will be its long-term impact through the number of horses who remain active in Southern California, and whether the first-year event can attract new owners to the sport.

WATCH LIVE VIDEO: Del Mar Paddock Sale

The sale, which begins in the paddock after the last race, is a joint venture between the Barretts sale company of Pomona, Calif., and Del Mar management.

“We want to provide new opportunities to get into the game,” said Barretts general manager Kim Lloyd.

There are horses in the catalog who fit nearly every potential price bracket.

Two of the most prominent prospects had recent success at the Betfair Hollywood Park meeting. Mega Dream won the Great Lady M Stakes in May and was second the Grade 2 Royal Heroine Stakes on July 7. Zafeen’s Pearl, a British-bred mare, was third in the Grade 1 Vanity Handicap on June 16 in her U.S. debut.

There are also unraced 2- and 3-year-olds, and horses who have run for a wide range of claiming prices.

The 2-year-old filly Fightin Mean Mad, an Illinois-bred by the Indian Charlie stallion Lifestyle, is certain to attract attention. She won her debut at Arlington Park by 3 3/4 lengths on June 20 on a Polytrack synthetic surface. Del Mar also has a Polytrack synthetic surface on its main track.

Prominent owner Ahmed Zayat has a small consignment, including the 6-year-old horse Soul Warrior, who won the Grade 2 West Virginia Derby at Mountaineer Park in 2009. Soul Warrior is winless in seven subsequent starts.

A majority of the horses made their last starts outside of California, and are eligible for a two-tiered bonus if they start at the Del Mar meeting, which runs through Sept. 5.

All horses shipping from out of state who have not raced in California in the last six months are eligible for a $1,000 starting bonus at Del Mar this summer. Horses from out of state who run in overnight races earn a 25 percent bonus of prize money earned in their first starts at the meeting.

Lloyd said the 44-horse catalog exceeded expectations. He said Barretts and Del Mar plan to make the sale an annual event. One measure of success will be if the horses sold on Sunday compete in Southern California in coming months.

“We’ll learn from this one to the next,” he said. “If they’re running at different meets [on this circuit], then the sale will be a win for the industry.”

◗ The sale begins on a charitable note. The former racehorse True Swither, a 4-year-old gelding, sells as a prospect being retrained for other disciplines. Revenue from the sale of True Swither will be donated to two horse charities – Remember Me Rescue and the California Retirement Management Account.