Hip 206 was the sale topper at the Barretts October Yearling Sale.

Hip 206 was the sale topper at the Barretts October Yearling Sale.

Benoit Photography

Bertrando Colt Tops at Barretts Yearling Sale

Average and median prices up 36.4% and 84.6%, respectively.

With a 36.4% increase in average and a whopping 84.6% jump in median, the Barretts yearling sale fired on all cylinders Oct. 9 at Fairplex Park in Pomona, Calif. Three horses brought six figures, with a $150,000 son of Bertrando topping the sale.

"It was a great sale from start to finish," said Kim Lloyd, general manager of Barretts. "The energy was there. The depth of the market was so much stronger."

A total of 174 yearlings grossed $4,006,600, up 54.1% from 2011, when 154 brought $2,599,700. Those 174 averaged $23,026, compared with $16,881 in 2011, and the median rose from $9,750 in 2011 to $18,000 this year. Sale officials were also delighted with a buy-back rate of just 19.1%, as 41 horses did not sell of the 215 put through the ring.

"When you can keep the buyback rate under 20%, that's pretty good," said William S. Baker, Barretts' vice president and controller.

At the 2011 yearling sale, 67 of 221 through the ring did not sell, for a 30.3% buyback rate.

Trainer Bob Baffert, who has dominated the Breeders' Cup World Championships prep races at the Santa Anita Park fall meeting, also made his mark at the Barretts yearling sale, buying the sale topper, hip number 206. Bidding over the phone, Baffert went to $150,000 for the California-bred son of Bertrando produced from Telling Stories, by Tale of the Cat , for Arnold Zetcher.

"We looked at him earlier, and that was my pick," said Baffert. "I wanted a nice Cal-bred, and I'm a Bertrando fan."

Many buyers said that they were looking for Cal-breds because of the incentive programs that have been put into place. The Golden State Series, begun in 2012, offers $2.325 million in stakes purses for Cal-bred and Cal-sired 2- and 3-year-olds, while Cal-bred and sired horses that win a maiden special weight race earn a bonus of $17,500 in Southern California and $10,000 in Northern California.

Lloyd and Baker also credited consignors with the sale's improvement.

"The quality is deeper," said Lloyd. "We've worked hard to build that with the consignors, and it's paid off."

Butch and Lou Thomas sold the Bertrando cold in the name of their Willow Tree Farm. The couple raise Thoroughbreds and warmbloods at the facility east of Stockton.

"We were very happy with our sale," said Butch Thomas. "We brought five colts and sold them all."

Willow Tree's five offerings grossed $263,000 and averaged $52,600.

Dean DeRenzo purchased the other two six-figure horses as pinhook prospects for next year's 2-year-old sales on behalf of Hartley/DeRenzo Thoroughbreds LLC. He went to $120,000 for Steve's Legacy, a Cal-bred son of Unusual Heat out of Helen's Echo, by Swiss Yodeler, consigned by West 12 Ranch as hip number 92. He also paid $110,000 for hip number 216, a Cal-bred son of Majestic Warrior produced from Treed Cat, by Tale of the Cat , consigned by Jack and Barb Hatch's Green Acre Stables Inc.

Hartley/DeRenzo led all buyers by gross, getting four for $283,500. DeRenzo said that he was looking for Cal-breds because of the incentive programs. The horses will go to their farm in Florida for breaking and training, with the possibility that they could return for Barretts March sale of 2-year-olds in training.

"We're gaining momentum," said Lloyd, "and that bodes well for our 2-year-old sales. Obviously, it's getting to be a healthier market."