08/10/2003 11:00PM

Prices fall at Del Mar sale


After two years of substantial growth, helped largely by interest in California-breds, prices fell substantially at Sunday's opening session of the California Thoroughbred Breeders Association's Del Mar yearling sale.

Of the 64 yearlings offered, 36 sold for $1,133,000, an average of $31,472, down 34 percent from the corresponding session in 2002, which averaged $47,676. The median price declined from $40,000 in 2002 to $30,000 Sunday.

The buy-back rate of 44 percent at Sunday's session was significantly higher than the final figures from the last two years - 25 percent in 2001 and 31 percent last year.

Sunday's sale topper was an In Excess colt who sold for $140,000, the only yearling to sell for $100,000 or more. Last year, three yearlings were purchased for $115,000 or more. Consigned by Mary Knight, agent, the In Excess colt was purchased by NW Management/Fleetwood Bloodstock of Eric Anderson and Tim McMurry. They were representing Stan Fulton, the owner of Sunland Park racetrack and casino in New Mexico.

The sale's final session was to be held Monday evening.