08/11/2005 11:00PM

Pleasanton sale doubles in size

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A rapidly changing landscape for yearling sales in California has given Tuesday's northern California yearling sale at the Alameda County Fairgrounds in Pleasanton a boost in catalog size.

This year, the California Thoroughbred Breeders Association is not holding a yearling sale at Del Mar, but has merged that sale with the Barretts October yearling sale. To avoid a conflict with the October sale, Tuesday's Pleasanton sale has been moved forward six weeks from its position on the 2004 calendar.

The results of the sale remain to be seen, but the figures are likely to be quite modest. Last year, 130 yearlings sold at Pleasanton for an average of $6,874 and a median of $4,350.

With the standards for conformation and pedigree having been increased this year for the Barretts October yearling sale, the CTBA recommended the Pleasanton sale to many consignors. The size of the Pleasanton catalog has nearly doubled. The one-day sale, which begins at 11 a.m., will have 249 yearlings.

"We were able to move more horses up here," said CTBA general manager Doug Burge. "From a quality standpoint, it's the best catalog that we've been able to have up north. I think there is more marketability with the horses we have this year. But with more horses, you run the risk of oversupplying and not having enough buyers."

Burge said the CTBA has actively campaigned to attract buyers from Southern California, particularly trainers, but also expects ample support from northern California and buyers from other states. With prices low at last year's sale, buyers from racing circuits in New Mexico and Washington are likely to be involved.

Burge said he is hopeful that the sale can surpass last year's average.

"With more horses this year, I would expect to be in that range, if not better," he said. "I would be somewhat disappointed if we don't improve off that based on pedigrees and the interest that we've had."

Unlike the Del Mar sale, which had fairly strict conditions for a regional sale regarding pedigree and conformation, or Barretts, which has screened applicants in the same categories, the Pleasanton sale is an open sale, Burge said.

Last year's sale topper was a filly by Mr Purple that sold for $28,000.

The Pleasanton sale offers the first yearlings by several promising young stallions, including Richly Blended, Skimming, and Tribal Rule. Six of the state's 10 leading stallions by progeny earnings are represented: Bertrando, In Excess, Swiss Yodeler, Unusual Heat, Roar, and Lord Carson.

Fighting Fit euthanized at 26

Fighting Fit, who was pensioned from stud duty after the 2003 breeding season, was euthanized Wednesday because of the infirmities of old age, according to an announcement released by Ballena Vista Farm, near Ramona, Calif. Fighting Fit was 26. He had spent the last two years in retirement at Ballena Vista.

"Severe arthritis and other age-related maladies were greatly compromising his quality of life," said farm manager Manuel Ochoa in a statement.

Fighting Fit was a durable racehorse. Owned by Jerry Moss and trained by Bobby Frankel, Fighting Fit won 14 of 49 starts and $1,004,174 through a four-year campaign from 1982 to 1985. Among his six stakes wins were the 1983 Mervyn LeRoy Handicap at Hollywood Park and the Grade 2 Paterson Handicap at The Meadowlands in 1985. He finished in a dead heat with Skip Trial in the latter race.

Fighting Fit was third in the inaugural Breeders' Cup Sprint in 1984.

Fighting Fit sired the winners of more than $10 million, including Fighting Fantasy, who earned $572,820.