Led by two colts who each brought $100,000, the first session of the Barretts October Yearling Sale rose 47.15% in average, to $27,145. The 55 head sold at the Oct. 11 session grossed $1,493,000, up 42% from last year’s gross of $1,051,500, when 57 sold.
“Our consignors provided better horses, and the market reacted accordingly,” said William Baker, vice president and controller of Barretts.
The median was $20,000, double the median of the sale’s first session in 2010. A total of 16 did not sell, for a buy-back rate of 22.54%. In 2010, 10 failed to sell, for a buy-back rate of 14.93%.
Three of the top 10 prices came for offspring of Unusual Heat, California’s leading sire. The stallion accounted for the leading colt (one of the sale toppers) and the leading filly, which brought $65,000.
Trainer Eric Kruljac bought the $100,000 Unusual Heat colt (hip No. 41), named Real Heat. Consigned by Harris Farms as agent, the colt was bred in California by Madeline Auerbach and Barry Abrams. Kruljac purchased the youngster on behalf of Class Racing Stable. Joe Masino, manager of Class Racing, accompanied Kruljac in buying the California-bred colt. Real Heat is out of the winning Ole mare Chi Chi Nette.
“With the California incentive program changes, it’s time to start getting some Cal-breds and supporting Cal-breds,” said Masino.
About a week before the sale, the Golden State Series was announced for 2012. It will offer $2.325 million additional stakes money for 2-year-olds and 3-year-olds bred or sired in California. Six new stakes races are being created, and existing stakes will receive purse enhancements.
“The Cal-bred stakes program certainly helped the sale,” said Baker, who added that the physical scores of the yearlings as a whole also improved markedly over 2010.
Trainer Mike Pender purchased the other session topper, going to $100,000 for (Hip No. 47), a Kentucky-bred son of Afleet Alex out of the stakes-winning Candy Stripes mare Desiraes My Candy. The colt was bred by Mikhail Yanakov and was consigned by Adrian Gonzalez’s Checkmate Thoroughbreds.
Pender said he bought the colt for B. J. Wright and Brian Cunningham. Wright owns Jeranimo, who won the Oct. 8 Oak Tree Mile (gr. IIT) under Pender’s tutelage.
“He was the most athletic horses in the sale—a dandy,” said Pender.
Several other Southern California-based trainers made purchases at the sale’s first session. Trainer Carla Gaines bought Hip No. 45 for $85,000. Special T Thoroughbreds Inc. consigned the son of Candy Ride —Decades of Style, by A.P. Indy, bred in Kentucky by Todd M. Sheehan.
Trainer Jeff Bonde and bloodstock agent Mersad Metanovic bought the top-priced filly, Hip No. 24, a daughter of Unusual Heat—Way Up, by Great Above from the BTO consignment sold for $65,000. She was bred in California by Thomas W. Bachman.
Bonde saddled Excessive Passion to finish second to California Flag in the Oct. 10 Morvich Handicap (gr. IIIT) at Santa Anita. Though Excessive Passion was vanned off after the race, Metanovic said that the 4-year-old colt is fine. Earlier reports said that he was off in his right foreleg.
Rusty Brown, Philip Lebherz, and Alan Klein own Excessive Passion. Metanovic said that they will likely also be part of the partnership that owns the Unusual Heat filly.
The sale will continue Oct. 12, beginning at 11 a.m. (PT) at the Hinds Sales Pavilion in Pomona, Calif. Another 174 yearlings have been cataloged for that session.