Better Catalogue Could Boost Top of Market at Barretts

With a better catalogue of offerings, there could be fireworks at the top of the market for the Barretts select sale of 2-year-olds in training on Tuesday at Fairplex Park in Southern California. "We have a better catalogue this year in terms of pedigree and physicals," Barretts president Jerry McMahon said.

McMahon's optimism also is based on the results of the March 1 Fasig-Tipton Florida sale, where buyer enthusiasm was high for the best prospects. More horses than ever before at any juvenile auction sold for individual prices of $1 million or more, and one, a Tale of the Cat  – Carry All colt, set a world record by bringing $5.2 million.

However, at Calder, shopper excitement didn't involve all levels of the market; many lower end horses were overlooked. The buy-back rate was 44.9%, rising significantly from 36.3% the previous year. That might not be good news for the Barretts auction.

"We have a higher percentage of horses in the $50,000 to $70,000 range than the Fasig-Tipton sale did," McMahon said. "We'll just have to wait and see if buyers are looking for horses at that level."

Barretts was involved in some marketing efforts with the Thoroughbred Owners of California and the California Marketing Committee to attract local horsemen to Fairplex Park for the sale's first under tack show on March 7. One of Barretts' reasons for the local marketing push was to attract buyers who might be interested in horses selling for less than six figures. The marketing campaigns helped Barretts draw "a very good crowd at our first preview, one of our largest in a number of years," according to McMahon. Also contributing to an increase in crowd size was the scheduling of the Barretts sale for two weeks following the Fasig-Tipton Forida auction, which gave more buyers an opportunity to attend.

The Barretts sale's second and final under tack show is scheduled for Sunday, beginning at 10 a.m. (PST). The sale will start Tuesday at 2 p.m. (PST). There are 202 horses catalogued.

Last year, Barretts sold 79 juveniles for a gross of $13,728,000, an average price of $173,772, and a median price of $100,000. Compared to 2003, the gross and average grew 12.3% and 22.2%, respectively, while the median increased by 66.7%. The buy-back rate dropped from 48.5% in 2003 to 38.3% in 2004. A world record for a 2-year-old filly sold at public auction was established when Dubai Escapade (by Awesome Again) went for $2 million.