07/14/2002 11:00PM

L.A. Fair buys Barretts

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The Los Angeles County Fair Association has purchased Barretts Equine Limited, the Southern California sales company, from Fred Sahadi, who founded the sale in 1990.

Barretts officials on Monday said that the transaction, completed last week, will not lead to changes in the sales company. Barretts is located on land adjacent to Fairplex Park, the site of a 17-day race meeting run each September by the Fair Association.

"We don't anticipate any major changes," said Gerald McMahon, president of barretts. "Our sales schedule will stay the same. The fair is, in essence, in investing in us. Anything else is speculation."

There has been concern in racing about the long-term viability of Barretts following the Fair Association's request earlier this year to the California Horse Racing Board for permission to relocate the Fairplex Park meeting to Santa Anita. The proposal was rejected for the upcoming September meeting, but could be revisited.

Barretts has a long-term agreement with the Fair Association to provide a working racetrack for the 2-year-olds in-training sale held each March and May. With the Fair Association owning Barretts, the arrangement would be easier to change in the future, according to a member of the Sahadi family.

"They've certainly improved their lot in life by acquiring the business and the flexibility to do what they want," said Steve Sahadi, a son of Fred Sahadi, who operates Cardiff Stud Farm. "We are completely out of the business."

He declined to reveal the purchase price.