Symphonic Movement Brings $290,000 at California Yearling Sale

Symphonic Movement, a colt from the first crop of High Demand, lived up to his sire's name and was so in demand with buyers that he topped the California October yearling sale Tuesday at Barretts. The muscular bay brought a $290,000 final bid from Southern California trainer John Sadler. The immediate underbidder was another Golden State conditioner, Brian Koriner.

Betty Mabee's Golden Eagle Farm consigned Symphonic Movement to the auction, which was a first-time collaboration between former competitors Barretts and the California Thoroughbred Breeders Association (CTBA). The sale replaced the CTBA's Del Mar yearling auction that was held in August and the Barretts October preferred yearling sale.

In all, 207 horses were sold for a gross of $5,239,000, an average price of $25,311, and a median price of $17,000. The buy-back rate was 26.9%, with 76 of the 283 yearlings offered failing to find new homes. The average exceeded Barretts president and general manager Jerry McMahon's goal of $18,000-$20,000. The buy-back rate was close to the 25% figure that McMahon had hoped for.

The combined figures for last year's Del Mar and Barretts October preferred sales were 299 horses sold for a gross of $5,982,750 and an average of $20,009. The buy-back rate was 26.7%.

"It looks like we captured the top end of the Del Mar sale and filled in our sale and ended up with a real good marketplace," McMahon said. "I think everyone's horse was assessed. Buyers were all over the barn area. Every horse was shown plenty."

Said Doug Burge, the CTBA's executive vice president and general manager: "As far as meeting our goal here of providing a marketplace where breeders can bring their best horses to showcase, we were able to do that. The market was a little soft at the beginning of the sale, but that's because the catalogue ended up that way (with many of the better horses later in the book). It picked up well and finished very strong. All in all, we are very pleased, and it really gives us something to build on. There is a very strong market in California for quality Cal-breds."

According to Burge, there is a four-year agreement between Barretts and the CTBA to operate the sale as a joint venture.

Sadler said he purchased Symphonic Movemen on behalf of a "new" racing syndicate that will involve "about four people." According to the trainer, "this colt fits our profile. We're looking for good athletes, and he's very well put together. He was my favorite horse in the sale." Sadler said he wasn't concerned that Symphonic Movement's sire is unproven because "he's a Golden Eagle horse, and they breed good mares to their young stallions."

Symphonic Movement, who is the most expensive yearling ever sold at Barretts, is out of the 8-year-old unraced Kingmambo mare Cover Letter and is a half-brother to winner American All Star (by American Day). Other family members include stakes winner Tax Dodge (Symphonic Movement's second dam) and graded winner Mr. Nickerson. High Demand, Symphonic Movement's sire, is a Golden Eagle homebred and stands at the California-based farm, which was founded by the late John Mabee. An eight-year-old winning son of Danzig, the stallion is from the family of European champion Polish Precedent.

"We were looking for $100,000 to $150,000, so it was certainly above our expectations; we're very pleased," said Golden Eagle's business manager Janine McCullough. "We would have bought him back for $100,000."

Said Larry Mabee, John and Betty Mabee's son: "We have real high expectations for High Demand. Everything he's put on the ground, so far, has the look of a racehorse."

High Demand stood for a $7,500 fee when he entered stud in 2003. His fee this year was $5,000.

Pay the Yodeler, a Swiss Yodeler colt, was the California sale's second-highest-selling yearling at $170,000. Dr. Dee M. L'Archeveque and her husband, Gary Lochansky, were the buyers. The couple recently got married at Santa Anita. They operate the charitable organization Phones for Life, which provides cell phones to senior citizens and others with special needs to use in medical emergencies.

"We really liked this horse," L'Archeveque said. "We feel really confident about him because of his looks and his personality. We just think he wants to win. He's got that energy in him. He's been out showing all this time, and he still comes out and walks with spunk. He's proud of himself."

Julie Adair consigned Pay the Yodeler as agent. He was bred by Phyllis Waggoner and Billy Adair. Produced from the unraced 22-year-old Whitesburg mare Watch for Spring, he is a half-brother to stakes winners Spring Cat (by Noble Cat) and Watch Me Fire (by Torcher).

Heat of the Year, a chestnut son of Unusual Heat, brought the third-highest price of $165,000. Eric Anderson (NW Management) and Tim McMurry (Fleetwood Bloodstock) purchased the colt for New Mexico track operator Stanley Fulton, with Anderson signing the sale ticket. Mary Knight consigned Heat of the Year for his breeder, Madeline Auerbach.

"He's a very immature colt (foaled on May 27 of last year)," Anderson said. "He's going to be a long-term project, but he has everything in the right places. Mr. Fulton loved his pedigree. He (Fulton) doesn't want flash-in-the-pan 2-year-old sprinters. He wants 3-year-olds that can go two turns. This colt was one of the four or five horses that we thought were the best in the sale."

Produced from the 10-year-old Half a Year mare Style of the Year, Heat of the Year is a full brother to stakes winner Lennyfromalibu.

Briere, a Cee's Tizzy colt, sold for the fourth-highest-price of $150,000. Trainer Mike Machowsky said he bought the colt for a partnership that would include Don Blahut, who was part of the group that raced grade I winner Southern Image.

Briere is out of the 11-year-old Falstaff mare Code It Nikki, who failed to win in two races, and is a half-brother to stakes winner Shalini (by Urgent Request). Harris Farms consigned the colt as agent for his breeder, Jim and Richard Briere's Briere Thoroughbreds.

The highest-priced filly was a daughter of Beau Genius -- Sassy Synner that brought $105,000. Howard Zucker, as agent, bought her from Woodbridge Farm, agent.