Prices Plunge During Del Mar Yearling Sale's Opening Session
Updated: Tuesday, August 12, 2003 7:40 AM
Posted: Monday, August 11, 2003 3:25 AM
Major setbacks in the gross revenue, average price, and median price marred the opening of the Del Mar yearling sale in California Sunday night. The first session also was plagued by a high buy-back rate, with 43.8% of the horses offered failing to find new homes.
"It was disappointing," said Doug Burge, the executive vice president and general manager of the California Thoroughbred Breeders Association, which conducts the auction. "I'm not sure what happened. I'm trying to figure out exactly why it was as soft as it was. I wasn't aware of any major problems in regard to radiographs. There were a few high reserves, obviously, that we couldn't meet that would have really helped the average. Hopefully, we can pick it up tomorrow. I know there are some horses that people are very excited about."
The CTBA reported that 36 yearlings were sold for a gross of $1,333,000, an average of $31,472, and a median of $30,000. Compared to a year ago, the gross and average were down 53.4% and 34.0% respectively. The median declined 25.0%.
Twenty-eight of the 64 horses offered were bought back by their consignors. The buy-backs included a $150,000 Fusaichi Pegasus -- Fly First Class filly named Flight of Pegasus and a $135,000 Giant's Causeway -- Courtly Queen filly named Legendary Destiny. Both were consigned by Betty Mabee's Golden Eagle Farm, agent.
Mentioned by Burge and others as possible causes for the slump were the increasing costs of horse ownership and training--caused, in part by California's workmen's compensation woes--and an uncertain economy. In addition, according to Burge, some buyers said they were not seeing as many physically appealing horses as usual.
Records were established for average and median during last year's edition of the auction.
Topping the session was an In Excess colt named Uncle Denny, which sold for $140,000 to New Mexico track operator Stan Fulton. The immediate underbidder was Ed Friendly, who was accompanied by trainer Bob Baffert.
"He was a big, impressive mover," said Eric Anderson, an adviser to Fulton, of the colt. "He had all the right pieces."
The colt's dam, Gift to the World, is a 12-year-old winning daughter of His Majesty. She also is a half-sister to grade II winner Gourami (by King's Bishop) and another stakes winner, Deputy Sue (by Silver Deputy). Mary Knight consigned the colt as agent. He was bred in California by Margaret Siemon and her late husband, William.
The sale's second and final session is scheduled for Monday, beginning at 7 p.m. (PDT).
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