08/12/2016 10:26AM

Lots to choose from at Northern California sale

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Three years ago, the Northern California sale of yearlings and horses of racing age had a catalog of 117 horses. At Tuesday’s event at the Alameda county fairgrounds in Pleasanton, the sale will be more than double that size.

There are 238 horses in the catalog, with a few supplemental hips expected. With a larger catalog comes higher expectations. Gross sales are expected to increase on Tuesday, according to Doug Burge, president of the California Thoroughbred Breeders Association, which conducts the sale.

“The last few years, the sale has really taken off,” Burge said. “It wasn’t that long ago we cataloged 100 horses. We’ve cataloged 240 horses this year. This is all we can handle given the stabling situation at the Alameda County fairgrounds.

“The sale is getting tremendous support, not just from people in the north but breeders and farms in the central and south as well. The last couple of years, it’s been strong and well attended.”

In 2015, the sale had a record gross of $1,503,700 for 130 yearlings and horses of racing age, according to sale-company records. The yearling portion of the sale saw 117 horses sell for $1,349,800.  The median price for yearlings grew from $5,000 in 2014 to a record $7,000 last year. Yearlings averaged $11,537 in 2015, below the 2014 figure of $12,556 but nearly double the 2013 figure of $6,007.

One key to expanding the sale was creating a statewide market and not just a regional event. Burge said the CTBA offers Southern California trainers a $500 travel rebate if they purchase a horse.

Owners and trainers attending the sale have plenty to choose from. The yearling portion of the sale has an open format. Barretts is conducting a select yearling sale at Del Mar on Aug. 30 with a smaller catalog.

Tuesday’s sale has yearlings from first-crop stallions such as Champ Pegasus, Jimmy Creed, Prospective, Smiling Tiger, and Truest Legend. There are 14 yearlings by Champ Pegasus in the sale.

The young stallion Sierra Sunset, whose oldest foals are 3-year-olds, has the most yearlings with 23, closely followed by Awesome Gambler (18) and Lucky Pulpit (13).

Lucky Pulpit is the sire of California Chrome and is the state’s leading stallion by progeny earnings this year. Former leading stallion Unusual Heat has two yearlings. Empire Way, the state’s leading freshman stallion this year, has five yearlings.

In 2015, the sale-topper was Stars Aligned, a colt by Idiot Proof who was sold for $72,000 by Woodbridge Farms, agent, to John Brocklebank, agent for Vern Dickman’s Legacy Ranch. The colt was resold for $150,000 at this year’s Barretts March sale of 2-year-olds in training at Del Mar to Bob Baffert, agent.

Stars Aligned had seven workouts from early April to early June but none in the last two months.

Burge expects some of Tuesday’s yearlings to be potential pinhook prospects for the 2017 juvenile sales.

“The thing with the sale is the individual,” Burge said. “Last year, there were several that were bought and pinhooked. If you have a standout individual, you’ll be rewarded.”

:: CTBA Sale: Get updates, watch Tuesday's sale on DRF Breeding Live