Hip 104 by Giant's Causeway was the Barretts March sale topper.

Hip 104 by Giant's Causeway was the Barretts March sale topper.

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Giant's Causeway Colt Tops Barretts 2YO Sale

Gross sales increased 21.8% and average rose 23.9% at California sale.

A son of Giant's Causeway  who breezed a furlong in :09 4/5 topped the Barretts March selected 2-year-olds in training sale at $1,150,000. He and three others who sold for more than $500,000 helped push up the average by 23.9% to $177,750 for the March 3 auction in Pomona, Calif.

Capitalizing on their successful foray to Barretts in 2013, bidders associated with Coolmore Stud bought several of the top-priced horses, including the sale topper. Last year for Coolmore, Demi O'Byrne paid $675,000 for eventual grade II winner Corfu and $575,000 for eventual grade I winner Havana.

This year, O'Byrne signed for the sale topper as well as a $450,000 daughter of Malibu Moon . Todd Pletcher, who trains Corfu and Havana and accompanied the Coolmore interests to the sale, signed for two more Malibu Moon juvenilesa filly for $950,000 and a colt for $550,000.

The only horse in the top five likely to remain in Southern California is Awesome Diamond. Kin Hui's Diamond 100 Racing paid $625,000 for the Irish-bred daughter of GalileoAdoration, by Honor Grades, and Patrick Biancone will train her. Biancone was the listed buyer of the filly for $250,000 out of the VanMeter Sales consignment to last year's Keeneland September sale.

The sale grossed $10,665,000 for 60 head, compared with last year's figures of 61 selling for $8,751,000. That translated to an increase in gross of 21.8%. The median rose 12.5% to $112,500. Of the 140 cataloged, 46 were withdrawn prior to sale and 34 were not sold, for a buy-back rate of 36.2%. The buy-back rate in 2013 was 33.7%.

"I was very pleased that the sale reached $10 million in gross," said Kim Lloyd, general manager of Barretts Sales & Racing. "We had a couple of wonderful horses sell for a lot of money. We had a lot of horses sell for more than $200,000. The median being up 12.5% was very strong because last year we took a big jump."

The median increased 17.6% from 2012 to 2013, and the average rose 31.1%.

O'Byrne bought the sale topper from the consignment of Steven Venosa's SGV Thoroughbreds as agent. Venosa was selling the colt, a son of the multiple stakes-winning Mutakddim mare Dixie Dreamer, on behalf of J.J. Crupi.

"I'm very happy for J.J. Crupi," said Venosa. "He gave me the opportunity to consign the horse for him. And because of J.J. Crupi, I'm in this business. He gave me my start. The horse really trained well on the farm, and the horse performed in the preview. He is an amazing athlete."

Crupi's New Castle Farm bought the Giant's Causeway colt for $150,000 from the Gainesway consignment to the 2013 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga August yearling sale. Bred in Kentucky by Miklin Stables, Tammar Racing, Lexington Racing, and Brett Setzer, the colt was initially purchased by Blandford Bloodstock for $150,000 from the Bluewater Sales consignment to the 2012 Keeneland November breeding stock sale.

"He breezed awfully well, and he's a lovely looking horse," O'Byrne said of the colt's pre-sale workout time that was the fastest at the distance.

Hartley/DeRenzo Thoroughbreds consigned the $950,000 filly, who is out of the Hennessy mare In the Ghetto, a half sister to Champagne Stakes (gr. I) winner First Samurai . Hartley/DeRenzo bought the filly, bred in Kentucky by John D. Gunther, for $160,000 Glenwood Farm consignment at the 2013 Keeneland September yearling sale.

"She's pretty special," said Dean DeRenzo. "We thought she was beautiful (as a yearling) and thought that she would grow a lot. She was ready early, so we decided to come to an early sale with her."