Past success in Japan with purchases at the Barretts March sale led Chikura "Riki" Takahashi to return in force for the selected 2-year-olds in training sale March 22. He led buyers with four purchases, including the $475,000 sale topper, for a gross of $1,135,000.
Of the four purchases, Takahashi was especially pleased with the sale topper, a son of Unbridled's Song consigned by Ciaran Dunne’s Wavertree Stables as agent.
“Unbridled’s Song is kind of my favorite,” said Takahashi. “I was very happy to get this horse. He is very sound and had a very good workout.”
The sale’s average declined 34.85% to $91,397. A total of 68 grossed $6,215,000, with a median of $60,000. In 2009, a total of 51 sold for $6,285,500, averaging $123,245 with a median of $80,000.
The buy-back rate declined from 37% in 2009 to 32% this year. A total of 100 went through the ring from a catalog of 135, with 68 of them listed as sold.
“The clearance rate was better,” said Kim Lloyd, Barretts’ vice president of sales. “Going in, our average price for the yearlings was down, so that probably translated to the sale average. But we sold some horses very well.”
Consignor John O’Hara attributed much of the decline in average to the economy and purse structure.
“It costs so much to train one that people are saying, ‘I just want one good one,’ ” said O’Hara. “That’s just not getting people to buy the middle-market horse.”
O’Hara sold the second-highest price horse of the sale, getting $450,000 for a son of Stormin Fever —Rainbow’s End, by Siphon. Agent Demi O’Byrne bought the colt on behalf of Michael Tabor and partners, and Todd Pletcher will train him. The youngster had breezed an eighth-mile in :09 4/5 at the March 19 training preview, equaling the fastest time of the sale.
While the Stormin Fever colt will remain in this country, Takahashi will send all of his purchases to Japan. He said that he bought them for Kazumi Yoshida. Aided by Emmanuel de Seroux of Narvick International, Takahashi has bought at Barretts for the past three years. At past sales he bought Suni and Testa Matta, both of whom have won group I stakes in Japan.
The sale topper was the only Unbridled’s Song in the sale. He is out of the Storm Cat mare King Shooting Star and had breezed an eighth in :10 at the preview. Dunne and fellow consignor Murray Smith bought the youngster in partnership at the 2009 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky July yearling sale for $225,000.
“He’s a very good colt,” said Dunn. “We took a big chance when we bought him. We thought he was an outstanding yearling, and he matured into what we would have wanted. He couldn’t have breezed any better.”
The sale’s biggest price came early, when A Story of Revenge, who is by Tale of the Cat and is a half-sister to Wood Memorial Stakes (gr. I) winner I Want Revenge, was hammered down for $975,000. She failed to bring her reserve, however. Owner David Lanzmann, who consigned her through NexStar as agent, said he was happy to keep the filly.
“She’s my connection with the family,” Lanzmann said. “I’m totally fine with it.”
Murray Smith as agent led all consignors, selling eight for $1,037,000. They included a son of A.P. Warrior who sold to Takahashi for $335,000 and a son of More Than Ready who sold for $300,000 to James Vreeland.