11/01/2002 12:00AM

Sulpizios making a splash


Less than a year after buying Magness Farms in Santa Ynez, Calif., and renaming it Magali Farms, Rich and Gaby Sulpizio are making an impact on the California breeding market.

Earlier this week, the Sulpizios were the leading buyers at the two-day Barretts October Mixed Sale in Pomona, acquiring three broodmares for $181,000.

Topping their list of acquisitions was Day Jewels, a 10-year-old Slew o' Gold mare purchased for $115,000, the most expensive hip of the sale. Day Jewels was part of the Golden Eagle Farm consignment, which led the sale with 58 hips selling for $1,174,200.

Day Jewels was a minor stakes winner in northern California and earned $258,110 on the racetrack. The mare is in foal to Event of the Year and will reside at Magali Farms, which the couple acquired last December.

Previously, the Magali land was home to an Arabian racing and breeding operation. Since buying the property, the Sulpizios have added new barns and done considerable landscaping work, according to farm manager Tom Hudson.

Hudson said the Sulpizios will keep fewer horses on the 230 acres than the previous owner, and will house horses for outside clients.

"They're just getting started and have about 15 horses," he said.

The farm will stand Lit de Justice, the 1996 sprint champion who previously stood in Kentucky, and is looking to expand its stallion roster.

"We have some interest in acquiring some more from Kentucky and from California," Hudson said. "Our main goal is to become a breeding operation. We have a training center, too. We're just getting started."

Rich Sulpizio is the retired president of Qualcomm.

Overall, the mixed sale continued a trend of success for Barretts in October. Earlier in the month, the Yearling Sale reached record levels. The mixed sale saw 423 horses sell for a gross of $3,176,600 and an average of $7,510. The average rose 43 percent over last year.

Seven of the 10 most expensive hips were from the Golden Eagle consignment, including three broodmares, two weanlings, one 2-year-old, and one horse of racing age.

Following the death of John Mabee in April, Betty Mabee of Golden Eagle said she intended to reduce the family's racing holdings at California sales.

"That's really made an impact and attracted more buyers to the market," said Gerald McMahon, the president of Barretts Equine. "We've had bigger October sales that were coupled with disperals. But as far as median price and average, I think this is the best one." McMahon said he was pleased with the overall results of the sale, but expressed concern about the lower market.

The median price did not rise as significantly as the average price, gaining only 9 percent from $3,200 to $3,500.

"I think the whole industry is having trouble at the very bottom of the market," McMahon said.

The three most expensive hips were broodmares, including Picturesque Lady, who was sold for $110,000 from the Golden Eagle consignment to Paula Capestro. The most expensive non-broodmare was Dazzling Copies, a 2-year-old Souvenir Copy filly out of Day Jewels who was purchased for $50,000 by Nick Alexander.