Top Buyers at Barretts, But Consignors Concerned

Top Buyers at Barretts, But Consignors Concerned
To sell well, 2-year-olds in training need to perform well. But the horses in Tuesday's Barretts select auction have faced some significant disruptions while getting ready to go through the sale ring.

The first under tack show was postponed because of wet weather, and when the horses worked, the Fairplex Park track was off. Sunday's second under tack show was postponed until Monday because of the noise and traffic from a major drag racing event that had been rescheduled from February

There is rain in the Southern California forecast for Monday, but it is not expected to start until afternoon. Still, consignors are concerned.

"As long as it doesn't rain tomorrow, I think it was a really good decision (to move Sunday's show to Monday)," said Mike Mulligan of Leprechaun Racing. "Even if it does rain tomorrow, I still think it was a good decision.

"But it will affect the sale in a negative manner if we only have one breeze show. The horses weren't able to show themselves (in their best light); some horses didn't like that racetrack much. And you always have the horses that shipped in and got a little temperature or something like that. They either didn't to participate at all or just weren't 100 percent."

Because of the conditions in the first under tack show and training time lost to rain, Becky Thomas worked nearly all of her horses an eighth of a mile instead of quarter. She wanted to have the second show Sunday in spite of the drag racing, but "it may turn out to be just fine because we had an extra day of training," Thomas said. "I just would like to be able to have a good track to show what they are capable of."

The good news is that there were plenty of top buyers inspecting horses over the weekend. Seen in the Barretts barn area were Irish agent Demi O'Byrne, Sheikh Mohammed's bloodstock manager John Ferguson, trainers Neil Drysdale and Dick Mandella, New Jersey bloodstock agent Buzz Chace, agents for New Mexico track operator Stan Fulton, and B. Wayne Hughes.

Helping to draw in buyers is The Thoroughbred Corp.'s dispersal of horses that will kick off the auction. The consignment has more than 50 head, including recent La Canada Stakes (gr. II) winner Cat Fighter and multiple grade III winner Atlantic Ocean.

"I think it will have positive impact (on the juvenile portion of the auction)," Mulligan said. "It will bring in some people who might not have attended the sale. I think we'll have some spillover effect because they will see some quality 2-year-olds here, and they'll say, 'We're here; let's look.' "

Barretts president and general manager Jerry McMahon was cautiously optimistic.

"There's good attendance, and there are great buyers here," he said. "But a lot of horses still need a good work.

"We're not concerned about the top end of the market, but there are more $50,000 to $100,000 horses in our catalogue. That part of the market has not been great anyplace. We're hoping that they'll get taken care of."

Monday's under tack show begins at 9:30 a.m. (PST). The sale's start Tuesday is scheduled for 2 p.m. (PST).

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