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Barretts to Start Steroid Regulation

California yearling sale will be the first Barretts auction with new policy.

Barretts, the Southern California-based Thoroughbred auction firm, is on schedule to begin regulating the use of exogenous anabolic steroids in young sale horses beginning with the California yearling auction, which is co-sponsored by the California Thoroughbred Breeders Association. The administration of such substances will not be permitted within 45 days of the sale, which will be held Sept. 30.

The sale company previously had announced that it planned to start regulating steroids in yearlings this year and would expand the program to include 2-year-olds in training in 2009.

Barretts, which has a bone warranty in its sale conditions for the California yearling auction, will have another new policy that will require consignors to disclose any invasive joint surgery that has been performed on a yearling. The requirement will include yearlings at other Barretts sales, and it later will include 2-year-olds.

In yet another change, the Calfiornia yearling sale is expected to offer fewer horses than it has in the past. During each of the auction’s first three editions, there were more than 300 yearlings in the catalog.

“We determined that we want to hold the line on quality, and we think that’s probably going to mean a smaller sale,” said Jerry McMahon, the president and general manager of Barretts.

During the 2007 California yearling sale, the number of horses sold, gross revenue, average price, and median price all dropped to their lowest levels in the auction’s history while the buy-back rate climbed to its highest point.