Business boomed at the March 4 Barretts March Selected 2-year-olds in training sale where the average price jumped 31.1%, the median rose 17.6%, and the gross was up nearly 4% despite fewer horses being sold than in 2012.
The average price for the one-day sale at Pomona, Calif., was $143,459 compared with $109,429 in 2012. The median reached $100,000, up from $85,000 the year before. A total of 61 horses sold for a combined $8,751,000. In 2012, 77 juveniles sold for $8,426,000.
The buyback rate also improved to 33.7%, down from 36.4% a year ago.
Coolmore's bloodstock agent Demi O'Byrne was the leading buyer at the sale, with three purchases totaling $1,425,000, including the two top-priced horses. The sale's leading consignor was Bruno De Berdt's Excel Bloodstock, as agent, which sold three horses for $1,205,000.
Three horses sold for more than $500,000.
The sale-topper was a colt by Malibu Moon —Fashion Cat, by Forest Wildcat, which O'Byrne bought for $675,000 from Breaking Point Farm. The colt, bred by AGS Thoroughbreds, had the only quarter-mile work in under :21. He went the distance in 20 4/5 seconds during the March 1 under tack show at Fairplex Park.
Spendthrift Farms' Malibu Moon has sired 66 stakes winners, including 26 graded stakes winners. His son Orb, winner of the Besilu Stables Fountain of Youth Stakes (gr. II), is considered a top contender for the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I). The stallion stands this year for $70,000.
Breaking Point Farm acquired the top-selling colt as a yearling during the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky July sale, where it bought him for $185,000 from Gainesway.
O'Byrne also bought the second-highest-priced hip, a $575,000 colt by freshman sire Dunkirk . The impressive gray colt, out of Missy Turtle, a winner by Kyle's Our Man, had the co-fastest eighth-mile work at 9 3/5 seconds. Excel Bloodstock sold the colt as agent.
Dunkirk is a grade 1 stakes-placed runner who finished second in the Florida Derby and the Belmont Stakes, both grade I. He now stands at Coolmore's American operation, Ashford Stud, for $10,000.
The other top-selling juvenile was a $570,000 son of War Front sold by Ciaran Dunne's Wavertree Stable as agent and bought by trainer Patrick Biancone. The colt is out of the stakes-placed mare Seasoned, who was bred and raced by Claiborne Farm and Adele Dilschneider. She was purchased at the 2010 Keeneland November breeding stock sale by Nicoma Bloodstock for $100,000.
The colt had been well-received every time he's been offered at auction. Mill Ridge Sales sold him for $100,000 as a weanling through the 2011 Keeneland November sale to J.M. Greathouse as agent. The War Front colt then brought $195,000 as a yearling during the 2012 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga select yearling sale where he was purchased by Phase II Thoroughbreds out of the Four Star Sales consignment.
Prior to the Barretts sale, he worked an eighth of a mile in 10 seconds flat.