01/03/2003 1:00AM

In Excess tops 2002 sire list

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ARCADIA, Calif. - Helped by a strong core of statebreds and a nationally prominent 2-year-old, In Excess finished 2002 as the leading stallion standing in California.

The 16-year-old In Excess had progeny earnings of $3,310,610 and sired eight stakes winners, including two graded stakes winners. He finished the year $563,716 in front of Valid Wager in the state's stallion rankings. High Brite finished third with $2,709,177, followed by Bertrando ($2,672,485), and Flying Continental ($2,636,873).

The state's leading freshman stallion in 2002 was Swiss Yodeler, who finished with earnings of $748,718. While In Excess was only 66th on the national sire list, Swiss Yodeler finished seventh on the national list of freshman stallions. Elusive Quality led that group with earnings of $1,316,848.

In Excess had essentially wrapped up his California title before Christmas, but ended 2002 with a flourish. His progeny swept the two $125,000 California Breeders' Champion Stakes during the opening week at Santa Anita when Pocketfullofpesos won the filly division and Excessivepleasure won the open division.

"That was an added perk," said Rich Decker of Vessels Stallion Farm in Bonsall, Calif., where In Excess stands. "It's just unbelievable how well he's doing. His book just keeps getting stronger."

Decker, who joined Vessels last fall after working as an executive at farms in Kentucky, said that In Excess will be bred to more than 100 mares in 2003. He said broodmares are traveling from as far away as Florida, Kentucky, Oklahoma, Texas, Washington, and Utah.

In Excess's leading earner in 2002 was Icecoldbeeratreds, who earned $353,800. Campaigned by Mike Pegram, a prominent shareholder in the In Excess syndicate, Icecoldbeeratreds won 3 of 5 starts, including the Graduation Stakes for California-breds at Del Mar and the Grade 2 Del Mar Futurity over seven furlongs. In his final start of the year, he finished second to Toccet in the Grade 1 Champagne Stakes at Belmont Park.

In Excess was also represented in 2002 by Above Perfection, the winner of the Grade 3 Las Flores Handicap for female sprinters at Santa Anita. She sold for $610,000 at owner David Milch's dispersal in Kentucky in November and was scheduled to make her 5-year-old debut for new owner Classic Star Stable in Friday's $100,000 Survive Stakes at Santa Anita.

Other stakes winners in 2002 sired by In Excess were Excessive Barb, Excessive Pleasure, Excessive Prayer, Hot War, Pocketfullofpesos, and Sailinwithcaptain.

Swiss Yodeler's stud fee raised

Swiss Yodeler's stud fee has been raised from $4,000 to $7,500 for 2003. He stands at Pepper Oaks Farms in Santa Ynez, Calif. In 2002, Swiss Yodeler had 16 winners from 27 runners. He had three stakes winners.

Mike Harrington trained Swiss Yodeler during his racing career in the late 1990's and now trains many of his foals for owner Heinz Steinmann. Harrington said that Swiss Yodeler has been booked to more than 80 mares for 2003, a figure he expects to reach 100.

"Each year, the quality of the mares goes up, so the foals should be better every year," Harrington said.

Oberwald, winner of the Haggin Stakes at Hollywood, led Swiss Yodeler's progeny with earnings of $98,636 in 2002.

Harrington said Little Bit a Swiss and Solo Singer are two of Swiss Yodeler's 3-year-olds that are worth following. Both are scheduled to return from layoffs.

Little Bit a Swiss finished second in the Cinderella Stakes and third in the Landaluce Stakes at Hollywood Park last summer.

Solo Singer finished second in the Time to Leave Stakes and is preparing for a start at Santa Anita.