Updated on 09/15/2011 12:25PM

Del Mar yearling sale has drop in numbers

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INGLEWOOD, Calif. - An emphasis on quality has led to a drastically smaller catalog for the Del Mar Yearling Sale on Aug. 13 and 14.

The California Thoroughbred Breeders Association announced on Wednesday that this year's sale will feature 149 yearlings, a drop of more than 25 percent from the number of yearlings catalogued in 2000. The sale will be held at the Del Mar HorsePark, which is four miles inland from the Del Mar racetrack.

The announcement of the catalog ends a process that began last winter when nominations were due.

"We started with 550, and when we went through them, we were stringent this year," said Doug Burge, the CTBA's general manager. "We wanted to stress quality."

The list was reduced through inspections of pedigree and conformation. Burge said only "four or five" horses who were accepted declined to enter the sale. Last year's sale had a catalogue of 201 horses, near the maximum that can be accommodated at the Del Mar HorsePark.

Of the 149 catalogued, 128 are California-breds, including some by Kentucky-based stallions. Several of California's top stallions - including Bertrando, Cee's Tizzy, In Excess, General Meeting, and Memo - will be represented. General Meeting and In Excess lead the sale with 10 yearlings each.

Some of the leading prospects have siblings that thrived on California's racetracks. In Excess has a strong roster of colts and fillies. The fillies include a half-sister to I'm a Jewel, the winner of the 1997 California Derby; a half-sister to College Town, the winner of the 1995 Arcadia Handicap; and a half-sister to two-time state champion Cover Gal. In Excess has a colt who is the first foal out of the stakes winner Spirited Jaclyn. Bertrando has a colt out of Minister Wife, who was purchased as a weanling for $70,000 at Keeneland; and a filly who is a half-sister to the stakes winners Rio Oro and Guillermo.

Other notable prospects include a Smokester colt bought at Barretts last October for $50,000 who is a half-brother to the stakes winner Bright Magic. Two well-bred fillies include a half-sister to Gourmet Girl by Memo and a Falstaff filly who is a full sister to Go Go, the winner of four stakes in California this year;

In addition, there are four California-breds by End Sweep, the successful stallion who now is based in Japan.

Last year's sale had mixed results. Of the 187 that went through the ring, 129 were sold for a gross of $4.13 million, a gain of 3.9 percent. The average price of $32,038 was down 13 percent against 1999 figures. It was the first time in three years that the average was down.

With a smaller catalog this year, it is likely that the gross will be down and that the average will rise. Buyers may find themselves with a shorter list of prospects and more competition for a select group.

"I hope they're both up," Burge said. "In my opinion, it's the best group we've had. I would expect big things from the sale."

Captural to debut at Del Mar

Captural, the California-bred who was the sale-topping filly at the Barretts May Sale of 2-year-olds in training, will make her career debut at Del Mar, trainer Wally Dollase said.

Purchased for $135,000 by Dollase, who was acting as agent, Captural is now owned by Jess Miller. A Bertrando filly, she is out of Linda Card, a winner of $340,318, including the 1990 California Cup Distaff and three other stakes.

Dollase has the California Cup Juvenile Fillies as a long-term goal for Captural, who is currently in training at Santa Anita.

"She's a two-turn filly," Dollase said. "I won't run her until the end of Del Mar."