08/13/2015 10:44AM

Del Mar sale offers 75 select yearlings

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DEL MAR, Calif. – A change of venue for Saturday’s Barretts select yearling sale has led to a change of approach to California’s leading yearling sale.

Saturday evening’s sale at Del Mar has a catalog of 75 horses, with 68 prospects in the main section of the catalog and another seven listed on an also-eligible list. By comparison, the 2014 October yearling sale in Pomona, Calif., had 260 yearlings, with 163 listed as sold, 68 listed as bought back, and 29 withdrawals.

Barretts conducted its final sale at its longtime headquarters in Pomona this past February, shifting its sale operation to Del Mar in time for a May sale of 2-year-olds in training. For that sale, there were stalls available in the stables.

That space is currently occupied by horses racing at the Del Mar summer meeting, putting space for yearlings at a premium this weekend. There are 72 stalls in the Del Mar arena that have housed Saturday’s sale prospects since midweek. The sale will be conducted in the adjacent Surfside offtrack betting pavilion, the same venue used for the May sale.

The yearlings selected for Saturday’s sale are the sort who would have been the bulk of an October sale in past years, sale officials said.

“What we’ve tried to do is take the top 70 horses and bring them here,” said Barretts general manager Kim Lloyd. “We go through and mark all these yearlings on our yearling inspection tour. We bring in what is commercially viable.”

At the 2014 yearling sale, the average price reached $22,606, a gain of 14 percent over the 2013 figure of $19,689. The buyback rate in 2014 was 29 percent of the horses who went through the ring.

On Saturday, the average price is likely to rise because of a significantly reduced number of yearlings available. The sale has a built-in audience during the middle of the popular summer race meeting.

“We brought the top of the list to this sale,” Lloyd said. “We wanted it as select as possible. We have 72 stalls. We can only take as many as we have room for. It’s a nice group of horses. There are some pedigrees to carry the day through. It’s our first time through, and we’re all excited. Hopefully, we can grow it into a major event every summer.”

The sale includes yearlings from the first crops of Acclamation, Americain, Calimonco, Coil, Creative Cause, Dialed In, Shackleford, and Tapizar. Acclamation, who stands in California, was the champion 2-year-old male of 2011.

There are yearlings by top California-based stallions Lucky Pulpit, Tribal Rule, and Unusual Heat, who have dominated the state’s general progeny earnings list in recent years. Tribal Rule and Lucky Pulpit, the sire of 2014 Horse of the Year California Chrome, each have a colt and a filly in the sale. Unusual Heat has four colts and three fillies.