$1.9-Million Songandaprayer Colt Tops Barretts Sale

$1.9-Million Songandaprayer Colt Tops Barretts Sale
Photo: Dwayne Loo
Barretts sale-topper, in pre-sale workout that was believed to be the fastest ever by a 2-year-old sale horse.
Bob Lewis outlasted fellow Californian Sidney Craig in the bidding for a Songandaprayer   colt at Tuesday's Barretts selected sale of 2-year-olds in training, paying $1.9 million for a horse who breezed a quarter-mile in what announcer John Henderson said was a world record time of :20.6 seconds. The colt, consigned by Florida pinhooker Murray Smith, agent, was the top price of a sale that saw a small increase in gross revenue but minor declines in average and median prices.

A total of 88 horses were sold for $14,360,500, an average price of $163,188 and median of $95,000. Fifty-seven of the 145 (39.3%) through the ring failed to reach their reserve price, and an additional 56 catalogued horses were withdrawn. The gross was up 4.6% from last year, while the average dipped 6.1% and the median was down 5%. The 2004 edition had gross receipts of $13,728,000 from the sale of 79 horses, an average of $173,772 and median of $100,000. The 2004 buy-back rate was 38.3%. This year's gross was the highest for Barretts since 2000.

Bidding on the sale-topping colt started with Craig in the chute area behind the sale ring at $400,000. With agent John Moynihan to his left, trainer D. Wayne Lukas to his right, and trainer Bob Baffert directly behind him, Lewis, seated in the Barretts pavilion, did his own bidding, and it appeared he would get the colt for $1.7 million. After a long pause, Craig made a bid for $1.8 million. Lewis didn't hesitate in making his winning bid of $1.9 million.

Agent John Ferguson, representing Sheikh Mohammed of Dubai and believed to be interested in the colt, did not make a bid.

The colt, named What a Song and out of the Tough Knight mare What a Knight, was bred in Florida by Susan Kahn. He was bought for $47,000 by Keene Ridge Farm at the 2003 Keeneland November breeding stock sale and then purchased by M.S.T.S. Stable for $95,000 at last year's Fasig-Tipton July yearling sale. He will be trained by Baffert, who was unaware whether or not he would get the horse until Lewis, without looking, reached over his shoulder and handed the signed ticket to him.

Lewis, who buys and races in the name of Robert B. and Beverly J. Lewis, was the sale's leading buyer, with five purchases totaling $3,875,000. Three of the 2-year-olds (a $350,000 Tiznow   colt, $750,000 Point Given   colt, and the Songandaprayer   colt) will go to Baffert. Two (a $275,000 Saint Ballado filly and a $600,000 Five Star Day filly) will be trained by Lukas.

"This horse has done everything right," Moynihan said of the sale topper. "He previewed unbelievable out here. He prepped unbelievable out here. He trained every day, which I love to see. He is the epitome of soundness. Every day I watched the horse train and I absolutely fell in love with him."

"He's like a high-performance luxury sports car; he's smooth, and he has a lot of gears," consignor Smith said prior to the sale. The $1.9 million price doubled Smith's previous successes as a pinhooker. "I'm tickled," she said afterwards. "I sold one before for $950,000, and my goal was to sell a $1-million horse. Now I've got a new goal."

The sale topper is from the first crop of Songandaprayer  , a son of Unbridled's Song who had 33 yearlings sell in 2004 for an average of $71,182. Songandaprayer   stands at Hartley/DeRenzo Walmac South in Florida.

"He was the standout horse of the sale, and everybody knew he was THE horse," Baffert said. "I hope we win some big ones with him."

The colt will be sent to a training center in Arizona before joining Baffert's stable.

Earlier in the day, Hirokaza Sumida went to $1 million for a Grand Slam colt named Slam Cat from the Jerry Bailey Sales Agency.

The Kentucky-bred colt, bred by Bailey in partnership in the name of Whisperwood Farms, was produced from the Storm Cat mare Marsh Cat. "I'm tickled to death," Bailey said. "Anytime you can raise one and get a million dollars you've got to love it."

Bailey was confident going into the sale. "I think he's as good as we've ever had. He's done everything he's supposed to do without a hiccup, and that's as good as they get." The colt worked an eighth of a mile in :10.2 in a March 7 preview.

Sumida, a Japanese agent based in New York, was accompanied by Japanese trainer Shigeki Matsumoto. Sumida said the buyer asked that his name not be disclosed.

Trainer John Sadler signed the ticket on a $900,000 Indian Charlie colt on behalf of Lee and Susan Searing's CRK Stable, so named for Searing's children Christina, Richard, and Katherine. Searing is a resident of Arcadia, Calif., whose involvement with racing traces back to the mid-1960s when his father owned horses at Agua Caliente in Tijuana, Mexico. He has enjoyed recent success with 2004 Golden Shaheen (UAE-I) winner Our New Recruit, a $120,000 Barretts March graduate in 2001, as well as stakes winners Dr. Park, Scooter Brown, and Ceeband.

"They've made a change in their program to buy horses that can go a little more distance," Sadler said of CRK. "They're looking for the classic-type horse, and that type is going to cost more." Sadler's most expensive prior purchase was Hasty Kris, a $450,000 graduate of last year's Barretts sale.

Out of the Turkoman mare Tupelo Belle, the Indian Charlie colt was consigned by Allen Jenkins' H.T. Stables, agent.

With one other purchase, Sadler as agent was the second-leading buyer, spending $1,150,000. Absent from the list of leading buyers was Coolmore's Demi O'Byrne, who was on hand to inspect the horses. Ferguson, the 2004 leading buyer with one purchase for $2 million, bought one at this year's sale, a $750,000 Dixie Union colt he purchased in the name of Darley Stud Management.

Smith was leading consignor by gross with four selling for $2,270,000, an average of $567,500. Becky Thomas' Sequel Bloodstock sold 11 head for $2,240,000,an average of $203,636.

Gerald McMahon, president and general manager of Barretts, called the market "selective" but added, "We had a good group of buyers. The local owners and trainers supported the sale. In many cases they couldn't get what they wanted. Some of the buyers may have discounted the fast works because the racetrack here was playing so fast."

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