Terry Finley of West Point Thoroughbreds.

Terry Finley of West Point Thoroughbreds.

Anne Eberhardt

Optimism Reigns Supreme at Barretts

Interest high at Barretts March select sale of 2-year-olds in training

One year after the sale registered positive results in gross, average, and median price, optimism remains the key word going into the March 12 Barretts March select sale of 2-year-olds in training. Sales company officials, buyers, and consignors have a positive outlook despite the fact that the first two select juvenile auctions of the year produced mixed results, leaving many to question the state of the market and the industry as a whole.

In 2007, the Barretts sale grossed $19,340,000, up 34.7% compared to the year before, from the 88 hips sold out of the 150 offered. In 2006, 93 horses were sold. The 2007 average was $219,773, an increase of 42.3% over the 2006 average of $154,419, and the median, $147,500, jumped 84.4%.

The number of horses selling for more than $200,000 was 28 while the number selling for $100,000 or more totaled 62. The buy-back rate was 41.3% (62 offered hips failed to meet their reserve).

Barretts Equine Limited president and general manager Gerry McMahon said he expects buyers to continue to be extremely selective when choosing racing prospects, but he is comfortable with the catalog of horses that are offered. “What we have all learned to expect is a high level of selectivity,” McMahon said.  “I think both of the breeze shows were well attended, so now we have to sit back and wait and see what the buyers think of what we have to offer.”

McMahon added that he did not know if the sales company would be able to increase the gross that was recorded last year. “In terms of trying to grow the gross, I don’t think that is going to happen. But I am confident that the best horses in the sale will do well,” he said.

McMahon’s comments echoed those of buyers and consignors who were making their way around the barn area on the day before the sale.

“The traffic has been really good, and it has been the right kind of traffic,” said consignor David Scanlon of Scanlon Training Center. “You have seen more of a steady growth of buyers in the $300,000 to $400,000 range, and that is good for the overall market.”

Terry Finley of West Point Thoroughbreds said: “The right people are out here selling and one of the things you know is that the people who come from Ocala are not going to incur the expense of coming all the way out here if they don’t think they have a legitimate shot to realize a profit. I think that is an inherent positive and you don’t really see very many train wrecks here.”

Consignor Jerry Bailey of Jerry Bailey Sales Agency said the catalog of horses offered speaks well for Barretts . “A lot of runners have come out of this sale and that is what keeps bringing people back,” he said. “I think we have a number of the right people here and now we just have to wait and see what the buyers are looking for."

Becky Thomas is another consignor who has a positive outlook. “The OBS (Ocala Breeders’ Sale Company’s February sale of 2-year-olds in training) sale was one of the best, solid sales that I have ever attended,” she said. “I think this sale has that same kind of potential and I hope it does. It is a proven sale. I am not worried about the state of the market. The good horses are going to continue to sell well and you have to lead over the best if you want the best price.”

Bruno de Berdt of Excel Bloodstock offered these words: “There is a good group of horses to choose from,” he said. “For most, 60% of the work is done, and now it is just narrowing down the short lists. I think this is a neat little sale, and it is very good for the middle market horses. A lot of good horses have come out of this sale and that is what keeps bringing everyone back. I think this sale has the potential do well.”