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Hard Spun Colt Tops Barretts May Sale

Hard Spun colt the topper; sale average up 2.5% over last year; buy-back rate tumbles

George Bolton, who bought the sale topper out of the 2010 Barretts May sale to come up with The Factor , paid $220,000 for this year’s sale topper, a son of Hard Spun . The colt was one of seven to bring six figures at the May 16 sale in Pomona, Calif.

A total of 72 2-year-olds and one horse of racing age sold at the May sale. The 2-year-olds averaged $36,903, up 2.5% over 2010, when 86 juveniles averaged $36,000. The median declined slightly, from $20,500 to $20,000. Only 17 failed to sell this year, a buy-back rate of 19.1%. In 2010, 24.6% failed to sell.

“This continues to be a performance sale,” said Kim Lloyd, Barretts vice president of sales. “Horses that perform well and vet well get sold very well.”

The May sale has turned out several stakes winners over the years. Bolton’s success with graded stakes winner The Factor brought him back, and he led buyers, getting two for a total of $370,000. Japanese-based Shigeru Morinaka was second, with four for $336,000.

Dennis O’Neill represented Bolton at the May sale and signed for the sale topper, who is from Hard Spun’s first crop. Hard Spun got his first winner May 7 at Haydock Park in England. Doug O’Neill will train the youngster, a half-brother to Toyota Blue Grass (gr. I) winner Sinister Minister and out of stakes-winning Sweet Minister, by The Prime Minister. The colt breezed a quarter-mile in :21 2/5, co-fastest time at the distance at the May 13 under-tack preview.

But the O’Neills and Bolton liked more than his work.

“He looks like he’ll get a distance of ground,” said Dennis O’Neill. “He has a great mind too. We’ve watched him train the last week and a half, and he trained well every morning. We’re excited about Hard Spun and wanted to buy one.”

Ciaran Dunne’s Wavertree Stables consigned the sale topper for owners Mike Ryan and Gerry Dilger.

“We try and take good horses out here,” said Dunne, who is based in Florida. “We always try to come out here with something that has a little pizzazz to it.”

Dunne said that the sale topper prepped at Niall Brennan’s Ocala, Fla., farm through the winter.

“He just shipped to us here (in California),” said Dunne. “Niall had him and had done all the heavy lifting. He was an exciting horse to watch train.”

Trainer Gary Mandella bought the second-highest-priced horse, a son of Include —Desviacion, by Unreal Zeal. Mandella purchased the half-brother to Lafayette Stakes (gr. III) winner Cashel Castle for Jim Click of Tucson, Ariz.

“He looked like a horse who would continue to come on,” said Mandella. “Include has thrown some very nice horses.”

Kim McCarthy consigned the colt in the name of her McCarthy Bloodstock as agent. McCarthy, trainer Bob Baffert’s office manager, had prepped horses for sale before going to work for Baffert, and she began consigning again at last fall’s Barretts October yearling sale.

“He was a nice horse who just floats over the ground,” McCarthy said of the Include youngster.