Barretts Sales (Cont.)

In addition to Fancy Frolic, The Thoroughbred Corp. bought a Bertrando colt named Ashen for $700,000; a Tabasco Cat filly named Sober Cat for $450,000; a Boston Harbor--Social Business filly for $425,000; and an End Sweep colt named J. D. Prince for $350,000. Ashen set a quarter-mile workout record for Barretts, covering the distance in :20.7. His time for the first eighth was an eye-popping :9.8.

"In another year, this colt would have brought a million dollars plus, but there was no one here to push The Thoroughbred Corp.," said Ashen's consignor, Becky Thomas of Sequel Bloodstock. "At this point in time, he's the best 2-year-old that I've ever had. He's a good feeling horse with a great mind. And he's not just a sprinter; he wants to move on."

Rudy Delguidice Jr., Thomas' right-hand man, spotted Ashen at last year's Del Mar yearling sale. The former jockey bought the colt for $175,000 for Thomas' pinhooking partnership.

Walden's Big Bid

The buyer of the sale's other $750,000 colt was trainer Elliott Walden, who made his bids over the telephone for the sturdy bay son of Cherokee Run and the stakes-winning Bolger mare Choobloo. The colt turned in the fastest quarter-mile workout on March 5, stopping the clock in :21.9.

Kentucky horseman Maurice Miller consigned the colt to Barretts after purchasing him for $360,000 at the Saratoga yearling sale last August. Miller's partners in the venture included his father-in-law, Bill Graham, and Tom VanMeter of Eaton Sales.

"I rated him the best horse physically at the Saratoga sale," Miller said. "We felt like $360,000 was a lot to pay for a Cherokee Run, but he was so nice that we sort of couldn't help ourselves. He's got great balance."

Miller prepared the colt for the sale at Florida's Payson Park, where Walden is based in the winter.

"I watched him every day, and I felt very comfortable with him," the trainer said. "He's big and strong. And when he started to breeze, he didn't lose his mind. One of the biggest hurdles you face when you buy a horse out of these 2-year-olds sales is reining in what it takes to go an eighth of a mile so fast and getting them to relax. I don't think that will be a problem with this colt."

Walden is putting together a partnership to race the son of Cherokee Run that will probably have six to eight members.

For Miller, the colt's $750,000 price was a welcome relief. Before he sold, Miller bought back a Phone Trick colt for $240,000 and a Seattle Slew colt for $525,000.

"It was tough up until then," said the Kentucky horseman. "After not being able to sell two nice horses earlier in the day, I was somewhat nervous. Thank goodness he brought what he should have. It's a scary market, isn't it?"

Stanley Gumberg and his family's Skara Glen Stables purchased the only other Barretts horse sold for more than $500,000, a Pulpit colt consigned by Chapman Farm. Moynihan represented the Gumbergs in the $700,000 transaction. A $150,000 graduate of the 2000 Keeneland September yearling sale, he was produced from the Easy Goer mare My Imagination, who is a half-sister to champion Serena's Song (by Rahy). On March 11, the colt equaled the fastest eighth-mile workout time of :10.0.

Moynihan is an adviser to Robert and Beverly Lewis, who raced Serena's Song. The Lewises ranked among Barretts' top buyers, spending $515,000 for four horses.

"If he runs well, he'll be quite a decent stallion prospect," said Moynihan of the Pulpit colt.

To Barretts' McMahon, the big pinhooking profits generated by the Pulpit colt and a few other horses represented the most promising aspect of an otherwise gloomy March auction.

"This is a viable market for the good horse that is prepared professionally," he said. "Our challenge now is to try to get our consignors to bring more horses like that to this sale."