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.
The colt was bred by Harvey Clarke Racing Stable, who acquired Missy Turtle privately and bred all seven of her foals, including stakes-placed Among the Willows, a daughter of Brahms.
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.