08/23/2007 11:00PM

Sam's Ace retires to Washington farm

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DEL MAR, Calif. - Sam's Ace, a California-bred colt whose career was cut short by injury, has been retired and will stand the 2007 breeding season at Granite Falls Thoroughbred farm near Granite Falls, Wash., owner Aron Wellman said Thursday.

Sam's Ace, 4, won 3 of 6 starts and $131,040, but did not start after being pulled up in the $250,000 Snow Chief Stakes at Hollywood Park in April 2006.

Owned by Wellman's LGL Racing, Sam's Ace spent much of last year recovering at the California Equine Retirement Foundation in Southern California. He was later sent to former California trainer Mike Chambers's farm in Idaho, Wellman said. "Mike further rehabilitated him," Wellman said.

Earlier this year, Sam's Ace resumed training with Doug O'Neill at Hollywood Park, but that attempt at a return was curtailed by injury. "We decided to give him a chance to make a comeback," Wellman said. "He experienced another setback. He didn't even breeze.

"The deal was if he showed any reaction, no matter how minor, we'd call it a day. Fortunately, we were able to do a deal with the farm up there. There was a market for him and thankfully we found somebody to take him."

Claimed for $32,000 after beating maidens in his debut at Del Mar in September 2005, Sam's Ace won two of this next three starts and made his stakes debut in the 2006 Florida Derby, finishing fourth behind Barbaro, beaten 5 3/4 lengths.

Sam's Ace was favored in the Snow Chief Stakes, but was pulled up on the final turn. The race was intended to be a prep for the Preakness Stakes. Paul Reddam was part of the partnership when Sam's Ace ran in the Snow Chief Stakes, but has not retained an ownership share, Wellman said.

By In Excess, Sam's Ace is out of the Meadowlake mare Queen of Pain. Wellman said the stud fee has not been determined.

Largest catalog for northern sale

The 2007 Northern California yearling sale at the Alameda County Fair Grounds in Pleasanton on Sept. 25 will feature the largest catalog in the four-year history of the sale - 264 yearlings.

The one-day sale will be held just a week before the Barretts October yearling sale in Southern California, but the two sales cater to different markets for the most part. Last year, the Northern California sale had a record average of $8,192, with 165 horses sold. The Barretts sale averaged $25,362, with 171 horses sold.

The Northern California sale is coming off another record last year - an all-time sale topper of $72,000 for a Benchmark colt. Last year's sale had a catalog of 246 yearlings, which was also a record. The average price grew 8.6 percent over 2005.

This year's sale is being held in late September for the first time since the inaugural sale in 2004. In 2005-06, the sale was held in August.

This year's catalog includes horses from such major California farms and consignors as Applebite Farms, Green Acre Stables, Harris Farms, Sam Hendricks, Mary Knight, River Edge Farm, Colleen Turpin-Boyce, Valley Creek Farm, West 12 Ranch, and Woodbridge Farms.

There are 104 sires represented in the catalog, including five among the top 10 in the state - Benchmark, Bertrando, In Excess, Swiss Yodeler, and Valid Wager. Valid Wager died earlier this year.