Topped by a $675,000 son of Malibu Moon , the Barretts March sale of selected 2-year-olds in training March 4 produced across-the-board gains in gross, average, and median prices.
Three youngsters brought more than a half-million dollars at the auction in Pomona, Calif., as the average price jumped 31.1% to $143,459. The top price was well above the $435,000 topper from the previous year.
Irish bloodstock agent Demi O'Byrne was easily the sale's leading buyer, getting three for $1,425,000 including the two highest-priced youngsters. The sale-topper, consigned by Jim Chapman's Breaking Point Farm as Hip 27, was produced from the Forest Wildcat mare Fashion Cat, a half sister to multiple grade I winner and sire Peace Rules and to multiple stakes winner Wild Fashion.
"He breezed very well," O'Byrne said. "We thought he'd sell for about what he brought."
At the March 1 under tack preview, the colt worked a quarter-mile in :20 4/5, the best time for the distance.
O'Bryne paid $575,000 for Hip 67, another quick youngster who had the co-fastest time for a furlong in :09 3/5. Bruno DeBerdt's Excel Bloodstock consigned the son of Dunkirk —Missy Turtle, by Kyle's Our Man. O'Byrne also paid $175,000 for Hip 77, a son of Flower Alley —Carolina Blue, by Victory Gallop, consigned by Steven Venosa's SGV Thoroughbreds.
The sale was particularly strong at the top, with 10 horses selling for $250,000 or more. The median rose 17.64%, from $85,000 in 2012 to $100,000 this year.
"I was being very optimistic going into the sale, saying we'd be up 20%," said Kim Lloyd, Barretts' general manager. "All winter long, the horses we saw train were good horses. When they got to the sale, they trained great and breezed great. We had a wonderful sale today."
The gross increased 3.9% to $8,751,000, with 61 head sold in 2013, compared with 77 sold in 2012. Barretts cataloged 138 head this year, and 46 (33.3%) were withdrawn prior to the sale. Another 31 (34.8% of those through the ring) did not sell.
"That's part of the 2-year-old process," said Lloyd. "If we had the opportunity to have a bigger catalog, we'd like to do that. But with the smaller horse population, all of the select sales are around the same number right now."
The sale began strongly, as the first horse through the ring, Hip 2, a son of U S Ranger consigned by Checkmate Thoroughbreds (Adrian Gonzalez), sold for $160,000. California-based trainer Carl O'Callaghan signed the ticket on behalf of a new ownership group, Mulligan Maui Racing, headed by Mike Dwyer.
Excel had a particularly good sale, with all three in its consignment in the top 10. In addition to the Dunkirk colt, Excel sold Hip 86, a daughter of Tapit —Punch Appeal, by Successful Appeal , for $320,000 and Hip 12, a daughter of Henrythenavigator—Delighted Cat, by Storm Cat, for $310,000. The Tapit filly went to West Point Thoroughbreds and Gary S. Broad signed the ticket on the Henrythenavigator filly.
"We had a super sale," said DeBerdt. "It's a team effort, and a lot of credit goes to David Scanlon, who did a great job breaking and training these horses. And Barretts put on a good show here."
Ciaran Dunne's Wavertree Stables Inc. also had three horses sell in the top 10. Hip 97, a son of War Front —Seasoned, by Pulpit , brought $570,000, the sale's third-highest price. Wavertree sold the top-priced filly, Hip 116, a daughter of Harlan's Holiday —Tasha's Star, by Spanish Steps , acquired by Emmanuel DeSeroux's Narvick International for $325,000, as well as Hip 84, a son of Exchange Rate —Perfect Paula, by Songandaprayer , bought by McCalmont Bloodstock for $250,000.
"We had a good day without having a great day," said Dunne. "In a couple of spots, we seemed to just miss. But such is life. We've had a lot of wonderful sales out here."
Narvick bought the top-priced filly for Chikura (Riki) Takahashi, who has purchased several from Barretts that have gone on to become major winners in Japan. DeSeroux said that they were also the underbidders on the sale-topper.
Japanese buyers have in years past been very strong at the March sale. This year the only other horse in the top 10 sold to Japanese interests was Hip 26, a son of Broken Vow —Exquisite Beauty, by Bertrando. Hirokazu Okada, representing Big Red Farm, was the successful bidder.
Big Red Farm stands champion I'll Have Another, winner of the 2012 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) and Preakness Stakes (gr. I). Okada said that I'll Have Another is doing well in Japan and will likely have about 140 mares bred to him this first season.