Hip 82, purchased by Hisashi Wakahara at $435,000, Empire Maker filly produced from  the stakes-placed Event of the Year mare Fortunate Event.

Hip 82, purchased by Hisashi Wakahara at $435,000, Empire Maker filly produced fromĀ  the stakes-placed Event of the Year mare Fortunate Event.

Benoit Photography

Japanese Buyers Boost Barretts 2YO Sale

Sale was repositioned on the calendar to kick off juvenile auction season.

Kicking off the juvenile sales season coupled with a strong turnout from Japanese buyers boosted the Barretts March selected 2-year-olds in training sale March 5 in Pomona, Calif.

With Barretts officials reporting that Japanese groups purchased 16 of the 77 sold and accounting for four of the top 10 prices, the sale produced an average price of $109,429, up 8.7% from $100,709 in 2011. With a catalog expanded 42% to 149 for 2012, the sale grossed $8,426,000, up 52.1% from the 2011 gross of $5,539,000 when 55 sold. The median of $85,000 rose 21.4% over last year. The buyback rate was 36.4%, with 44 of the 121 through the ring failing to sell.

Barretts previously held its March sale later in the month, following several of the major Florida 2-year-old sales. This year it was moved up two weeks, placing it at the beginning of the juvenile auction season and following Santa Anita Handicap (gr. I) weekend.

“Everybody showed up,” said Kim Lloyd, vice president of sales for Barretts. “Our preview went terrific. The positioning helped us. Logistically, for the Florida consignors to come out here first is an easier task. The Japanese love it here, and they have done unbelievably well at this sale.”

Hisashi Wakahara purchased the top two horses on behalf of the Danox Co. Ltd. in Osaka, Japan. The sale-topper at $435,000 was an Empire Maker  filly produced from  the stakes-placed Event of the Year mare Fortunate Event. The Kentucky-bred was consigned as Hip No. 82 by Ciaran Dunne’s Wavertree Stables Inc. as agent.

Wakahara said he wanted the Empire Maker filly not only as a racehorse but also as a broodmare prospect. Danox owns a new stallion, Danon Chantilly, who set a Japanese record for a mile in 1:31 4/5.

“She is beautiful and classy,” Wakahara said through an interpreter. “She moved well, and she looks like a runner."

For $385,000, Wakahara bought a son of Macho Uno —My Goodness, by Storm Cat, from the Eddie Woods consignment. The top-priced colt of the sale, the youngster consigned as Hip No. 126 was one of two horses that breezed a furlong in :09 4/5, the fastest time of the Under Tack preview show. The Kentucky-bred colt is the first foal out of a winning mare whose dam was champion Caressing.

Takahashi at the 2008 sale bought Suni for $120,000 and Testa Matta for $60,000. A grade I winner in Japan, Suni earned more than $5 million. Testa Matta has earned more than $3.7 million in Japan and most recently captured the 2012 February Stakes (Jpn-I).

Woods, as agent, also sold the third highest-priced horse, a son of Indygo Shiner—Coatue, by Mr. Greeley, for $330,000. Narvick International Inc. signed the ticket for the Kentucky-bred, consigned as Hip No. 60, on behalf of Dr. Riki Takahashi. That colt will also go to Japan.

Paul Reddam was the sale’s leading buyer. Through his agent, Jamie McCalmont, Reddam purchased seven for $940,000, including a daughter of War Front —Kokena, by Grindstone, for $310,000. Bruno De Berdt’s Excel Bloodstock consigned the filly bred in Kentucky, Hip No. 108, as agent. Reddam also purchased several through Dennis O’Neill as agent.