CTBA Makes Changes to Del Mar Yearling Sale

The California Thoroughbred Breeders Association (CTBA) is making changes to its Del Mar yearling sale in an effort to upgrade the quality of the horses offered. The 2004 edition of the auction will be one night instead of two. Fewer yearlings will be catalogued, and the requirements for acceptance will be more stringent, according to Doug Burge, the CTBA's executive vice president and general manager.

The CTBA board of directors approved the changes during a meeting Wednesday. They follow decreases of more than 20% this year in the auction's gross revenue, median, and average price when 90 yearlings were sold. The buy-back rate was 35.7%.

The 2004 auction is scheduled for Aug. 16, a Monday.

"The goal of the Del Mar sale, for the last nine or 10 years, has been to provide a venue for breeders in California to showcase their top yearlings," Burge said. "But in reviewing the 2003 sale -- both the results as well as the horses catalogued -- it was evident that there was not as much consistency in regards to quality as there had been in the past."

In addition, buyers told CTBA officials that the quality of the horses was down, according to Burge.

The site of the sale also might change in 2004. It moved from Del Mar racetrack to the Del Mar HorsePark in 1996.

"We're talking with Del Mar (management) about the possibility of bringing the sale back to the track," Burge said.