Del Mar paddock sale-topper Heir Kitty, winning the La Brea Stakes.

Del Mar paddock sale-topper Heir Kitty, winning the La Brea Stakes.

Benoit Photo

Grade I Winner Heir Kitty Tops Del Mar Sale

La Brea Stakes winner purchased for $750,000 on behalf of Japanese interests.

The Del Mar paddock sale was billed as a place to buy ready-made racehorses, but it was Heir Kitty's broodmare value that made her the $750,000 sale topper. The grade I winner could continue racing in this country, but she is ultimately destined for Japan and life as a broodmare.

Emmanuel de Seroux's Narvick International signed the ticket for Heir Kitty on behalf of an undisclosed Japanese buyer. Steven Venosa's SGV Thoroughbreds consigned the 4-year-old daughter of Wildcat HeirBe Silver, by Silver Buck, for David Bernsen and Paul Makin. Heir Kitty won the 2013 La Brea Stakes (gr. I) at Santa Anita Park and has earned $421,272.

"She's a grade I winner, and she was very good value," said De Seroux. "If you go to the November sales, you might have to pay much more (for a comparable horse)."

Many of the other horses sold at the paddock sale could very likely run at the Del Mar meet, which opened July 17 and runs through Sept. 3. It was the third year that Barretts Sales & Racing and Del Mar Thoroughbred Club have conducted the sale, designed to bring horses into the Southern California racing circuit.

The sale averaged $113,000, with 19 horses grossing $2,147,000. The average rose 52.8% over 2013, when 17 grossed $1,257,000 and averaged $73,941. Ten of the 29 horses through the ring didn't sell, for a buy-back rate of 34.5%.

"We feel like we're ahead of schedule," said Barretts general manager Kim Lloyd. "We didn't think we'd get these kind of horses in here until year five. We're very pleased with the results, and to have these kind of numbers in the third year is outstanding."

Lloyd said that Barretts plans to conduct a similar sale this fall in conjunction with the new Del Mar autumn race meeting.

Venosa, whose consignment included three other six-figure horses, was pleased with the sale.

"Any time you lead them over and sell them for that price, you're very happy," said Venosa. "Grade I winners don't come to the sale very often."

Sushi Empire, winner of this year's Blue Norther Stakes at Santa Anita, was the second-highest price, bringing $275,000. Sweezey and Partners sold the 3-year-old daughter of Empire Maker Dowell House, by Danzig. Trainer Tevis McCauley of Lexington, Ky., bought Sushi Empire on behalf of his father, Ron, and his brother, Nathan.

"We brought a filly, Mizzilli, out to race (at Del Mar) and take advantage of the Ship & Win program," said McCauley. "Sushi Empire is the one filly that we had our eye on at the sale. We love the pedigree and the fact that she's by Empire Maker. She'll be very well accepted in Kentucky. We'll probably run her the rest of this year and put her in foal next year."

Campaigned by Wounded Warrior Stable, the 3-year-old filly has earned $96,270 with one victory and four placings from 11 starts.