Son of Sky Mesa Brings $650,000 at Barretts May Sale

Prior Addiction, a son of Sky Mesa   who bucked his shins and had to be withdrawn from the Calder selected 2-year-olds in training sale in March, topped the Barretts May sale of 2-year-olds in training at $650,000 May 15. Consigned by Becky Thomas’ Sequel Bloodstock as agent, Prior Addiction sold to the father and son team of Dennis and Michael Narlinger of San Juan Capistrano, Calif., in the name of JMJ Racing Stables, LLC.

The sale topper was one of 29 six-figure horses at the May sale. A total of 181 horses grossed $11,331,300, up 7% over last year, and averaged $62,604, an increase of 19.08% over the record May average of $52,573 in 2006. Last year’s sale numbers were bolstered by the record $2.5 million sale topper, Unbridled Slew.

“The colt last year really got a lot of national attention,” said Gerald F. McMahon, president and general manager of Barretts. “We felt that we had more strength at the top this year as a result of that colt. We’ve got a great racing circuit here, with owners who really want to play the game despite the odds. I also hope that the new artificial surfaces on the California racetracks are playing a role in this.”

Of the 406 in the 2007 catalog, 140 were withdrawn prior to the sale and 84 of those through the ring were not sold for a buy-back rate of 31.7%. Last year, the buy-back rate was 27.54%, and 102 of the 378 cataloged were withdrawn prior to sale.

Times were quick during the Barretts previews May 10-11 at the Fairplex Park oval. Four horses worked an eighth in :09 4/5, while one son of Carson City worked a quarter in :20 2/5, the fastest quarter-mile work in Barretts history. Yet the fastest times didn’t bring the highest prices.

“More than ever, buyers were putting the horse’s works in context with the consignor, X-rays, conformation, and the whole picture,” McMahon said.

Prior Addiction previewed an eighth in :10 flat. Thomas said she felt that holding him out of the Calder sale in favor of the May sale worked to his advantage.

“His shins were stinging him enough that I couldn’t represent him at Calder the way he deserved to be represented,” she said.

Thomas bought Prior Addiction, who is out of the Gone West mare Jaded, for $220,000 at last year’s Keeneland fall yearling sale.

“He was my favorite horse,” she said. “He’s a big, stretchy, two-turn horse.”

She talked him up to the Narlingers, who co-own Sequel New York farm in partnership with her.

“Becky’s been speaking so highly of this horse,” said Michael Narlinger. “He has a great presence about him. He’s a very exciting prospect.”

The Narlingers, who employ several trainers throughout the country, have not yet decided who will train Prior Addiction.

Trainer Eric Guillot bought the second and third-highest priced horses of the sale. He paid $450,000 each for Magical Freedom (a son of El Correador—Freedom’s Magic, by El Prado) and a daughter of Tiznow  —French Satin, by French Deputy. Jerry Bailey Sales Agency as agent consigned the El Correador colt, while Eddie Woods, agent, consigned the Tiznow filly.

Guillot bought the pair on behalf of Southern Equine Stables LLC, whose principal is Michael Moreno of Lafayette, La. The two purchases made Southern Equine the sale’s top buyer with a gross of $900,000. B.C.3. Thoroughbreds as agent was the top consignor by gross, with 27 head sold for a total of $1,434,500.

The highest priced California-bred sold, and the fourth highest overall, was attained by a colt by Tribal Rule who was sold for $430,000 by Excel Bloodstock (Bruno De Berdt and Rudy Delguidice) to Marsha J. Naify.

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