Gains were seen in the average prices for 2-year-olds in training and horses of racing age, while the broodmare average was essentially even ($5,252 vs, $5,443 a year ago) and yearlings declined 17.6% to $8,574. Particularly strong were the horses of racing age. This year 42 sold for an average of $11,176, up 102.7% from 2013, when 22 horses of racing age averaged $5,514.
The overall average for all categories of horses was $8,683, up 4% over the 2013 figure of $8,348. This year's Jan. 27 sale at the Hinds Pavilion in Pomona, Calif., saw 224 sell for $1,944,900, compared to 184 selling for $1,536,100 a year ago. The median jumped 18.9%, from $4,500 in 2013 to $5,350 in 2014.
Sales officials were especially pleased with the low buy-back rate of 17%.
"It's nice that we're getting more of these horses sold," said Kim Lloyd, general manager of Barretts Sales and Racing. "It's important for local people to be able to move horses."
Californian Alex Solis II and Kentuckian Jason Litt, winners of the Santa Monica Stakes (gr. II) with Scherzinger two days previously in partnership with trainer Jerry Hollendorfer and Mark DeDomenico, bought the Midnight Lute yearling with Patrick Keogh of England. The colt, consigned by Sam Hendricks as agent for Edward Mercaldo, is out of the Deputy Minister mare Bellastrega.
"Midnight Lute is red hot," said Litt. "This was the best horse in the sale, and we also like that he's a California-bred."
The partners left open the question of whether they would race the youngster or pinhook him into a 2-year-old sale.
Trainer Carl O'Callaghan bought the Majestic Warrior colt on behalf of Dr. Patrick Sheehy. H & E Ranch consigned the son of the unraced Tale of the Cat mare Not Affiliated.
"This was the one we wanted all week," said O'Callaghan. "He has a nice page, and it's a good sire. It will be good to have some new faces in the barn."
Chalula One, the top-priced mare, sold for $55,000 to Marsha Naify, from the River Edge Farm consignment. A stakes-winning daughter of Bertrando—Call Mama, by Phone Trick, Chalula One is from the family of millionaire The Tin Man and was in foal to Tribal Rule.
Buyers at the sale were both local and from out of state. William Baker, Barretts' vice president and controller, noted that sale officials saw "a huge increase in the number of buyers at this sale."
Lloyd and Baker said that some of the influx of horses of racing age came from trainers who could not afford to split their stables between Santa Anita Park and one of the off-site training facilities in the wake of Betfair Hollywood Park's closure. They said that several trainers were instead opting to cut their stables by a few horses.
"A lot of those horses were lost to California," said Baker. "They are headed to places like Phoenix, New Mexico, West Virginia, and Utah, or the breeding shed."