A new Thoroughbred sale is scheduled for this summer in Southern California. Barretts, in cooperation with Del Mar, plans to conduct the auction of horses in training in the racetrack's paddock July 22. The date falls on the first Sunday of Del Mar's 2012 meeting.
“Our goal is to get horses from outside the state of California to run at Del Mar and participate in Southern California’s racing program,” said Barretts general manager Kim Lloyd in a Feb. 27 telephone interview. “We want to continue to address the horse inventory shortage in Southern California and this is a way to do that. It (the sale) will be held immediately after the day’s last race at Del Mar and it will be a lot of fun. Another aspect of the sale will be to introduce the racing public and new owners to the auction process. It will give people a chance to buy a horse and get into racing immediately. It’s kind of preliminary how we are going to market it, but we’re looking for it to be something we can hopefully do annually at Del Mar and grow it as we go along.”
The target number of horses for the sale is 30. Barretts management wants to recruit runners at a variety of competitive levels, from claimers to stakes winners, according to Lloyd.
The total “probably won’t be less than 30, but it could be a little more,” Lloyd said. “What we’re really looking for are horses that will be eligible for Del Mar’s ‘Ship and Win’ program, which was very successful last year.”
The program, which is scheduled to be renewed in 2012, paid $1,000 to the owners of horses that had made their last starts outside of California and had not competed in the Golden State within six months. Owners of out-of-state horses also received a 20% bonus based on the prize money their runners earned in overnight races in their first starts at Del Mar. The Thoroughbred Owners of California participated with Del Mar in implementing the program.
Lloyd didn’t completely rule out offering horses based in California in the Del Mar auction.
“If it was a special circumstance, we would consider it,” he said. "It's not part of our criteria, but we are flexible even though our goal is to bring horses in from out of state."
Recruiting efforts for the Del Mar auction will begin in earnest following Barrett’s select sale of 2-year-olds in training March 5.
“While we’re working on our May sale (of 2-year-olds in training), we’ll be working on our paddock sale at the same time,” Lloyd said. “We’ll be traveling and spreading the word. There are big outfits that need to off-load some horses, but they really don’t want to be in the claiming game. This will be a way to move those horses along and we’ll get some horses that can come to Del Mar and run immediately. I think it will be great.”