01/27/2006 12:00AM

Lava Man one of eight division winners

Lava Man, winning the Hollywood Gold Cup in July, was named top California-bred older male of 2005.

Led by Hollywood Gold Cup winner Lava Man, the 2005 California-bred divisional champions were announced by the California Thoroughbred Breeders Association earlier this week and include four other Grade 1 winners: Brother Derek, Dream of Summer, Leave Me Alone, and Proud Tower Too.

Eight horses were honored: Brother Derek, 2-year-old male; Sierra Sweetie, 2-year-old filly; Proud Tower Too, 3-year-old male; Leave Me Alone, 3-year-old filly; Lava Man, older male; Dream of Summer, older female; Valentine Dancer, turf horse; and Bordonaro, sprinter.

The horse of the year winner will be announced at the CTBA's annual meeting and dinner at the Autry National Center's Museum of the American West in Los Angeles on Feb. 7.

Lava Man, who also won the Grade 2 Californian Stakes last June, is the leading contender for the horse of the year title. He led all California-breds in 2005 with earnings of $774,103.

All eight of the horses honored have remained in training this year. Brother Derek, a candidate for the Kentucky Derby, won the Grade 2 San Rafael Stakes on Jan. 14. Bordonaro, Dream of Summer, Leave Me Alone, Lava Man, Proud Tower Too, and Valentine Dancer were entered for Saturday's Sunshine Millions stakes at Gulfstream Park and Santa Anita.

Sierra Sweetie has been working steadily in northern California in recent weeks.

Four stallions were honored: Bertrando for overall progeny earnings; Benchmark for 2-year-old earnings; Swiss Yodeler for highest number of winners; and Royal Cat for progeny earnings by a freshman stallion.

Golden Eagle Farm of Ramona, Calif., led all breeders in earnings by California-breds.

Texcess sale-topper at $300,000

The Barretts January mixed sale held last Monday and Tuesday in Pomona was led by horses of racing age and 2-year-olds and showed increases in gross and average price.

Overall, 441 horses sold for $3,481,300, a gain of 8.3 percent from last year, while the average of $7,894 improved 21 percent.

The sale-topper was Texcess, the champion California-bred juvenile male of 2004, who sold for $300,000 to Carl Van Burger and Scott and Andy Anastasi. A gelding, Texcess was entered in the $1 million Sunshine Millions Classic at Santa Anita on Sunday.

The average price for horses of racing age soared from $7,039 in 2005 to $15,709. The average price for 2-year-olds grew 23 percent, to $8,685.

"We saw a much stronger racing prospect sale than [demand] for breeding stock or early yearlings," said Barretts president Gerald McMahon. "I thought $300,000 for a gelding was pretty solid. The first day, especially the racehorses and 2-year-olds, were strong, but the broodmares were pretty soft."

With the average price of broodmares falling 16.5 percent, to $4,946, McMahon said owners seem more inclined to buy racing stock rather than a broodmare in an effort to gain a quicker return on an investment.

"There is a bigger interest right now in the racing side," he said. "The breeding business in California is more difficult.

"I don't think there is any question our auction ring is not getting as many upper-end broodmares or middle-end broodmares. We're going through a phase when people are dispersing non-economical broodmares and foals and retaining the better ones."

* The first Northern Hemisphere foal by Reddattore arrived at Harris Farms in Coalinga, Calif., on Jan. 18, the farm announced last week. The filly is out of Jah, a stakes winner in the late 1990's.

Reddatore, who won 15 of 32 starts, was bred to more than 60 mares in his first season at stud in 2005. He stands for $4,000, live foal.

California-bred champions

Brother Derek2-year-old maleCecil PeacockMary Caldwell4-2-0-1 ($257,730)
Sierra Sweetie2-year-old fillyBraugh, Schmitt, Shields, et alTommy Town Thoroughbreds5-2-3-0 ($151,550)
Proud Tower Too3-year-old maleTricar StablesTricar Stables12-4-1-0 ($289,214)
Leave Me Alone3-year-old fillyMitchell RanchOld English Rancho, Quinn, Pond10-5-3-0 ($585,970)
Lava ManOlder maleSTD Racing Stable and Jason WoodArterburn, Kuhlmann, and Kuhlmann9-3-0-1 ($774,103)
Dream of SummerOlder femaleJames WeigelJames Weigel9-3-2-2 ($658,650)
Valentine DancerTurf horseAl and Sandee KirkwoodAl and Sandee Kirkwood10-2-4-2 ($539,120)
BordonaroSprinterFred Carillo and Daniel CassellaFred Carrillo and Daniel Cassella8-6-0-0 ($207,164)