Two California-breds from Kim McCarthy's McCarthy Bloodstock Agency brought the highest prices at the Barretts May 2-year-old sale, held May 17 at Del Mar. A son of Animal Kingdom topped the sale at $245,000, while a daughter of Unusual Heat at $195,000 brought the second-highest price and was the most expensive filly.
The average rose 6.7% to $43,978 from $41,229 in 2016. Barretts sold 46 2-year-olds for a gross of $2,023,000. (In both 2016 and 2017, one older horse of racing age was also sold; that figure is not included in these numbers.) The median was $27,500 compared with $27,000 in 2016, when 63 2-year-olds grossed $2,597,400. The buyback rate was 29.2%, with 19 horses through the ring not sold.
"We were very pleased, considering the size of the catalog," said Kim Lloyd, general manager of Barretts. "There was a lot of competition for sellable horses at all spectrums of the market. This is a bread-and-butter sale, and a lot of guys bought horses today that they can put in their barns and train this week."
It was a sale of finales, bittersweet in two major respects. Barretts has announced this will be the last May sale, as the plan for 2018 is to fold May into the March sale, in large part because the May sale conflicts with the Del Mar National Horse Show held in the adjacent arena. And word came that the California stallion Unusual Heat had to be euthanized earlier in the day, a personal blow to mother and son Madeline and Harris Auerbach, principals in the stallion's ownership, as well as a loss for the California breeding industry.
"Unusual Heat has done so much for the industry," said McCarthy. "As a consignor, I always love when I have an Unusual Heat because they can run—on anything."
Added Lloyd, "Great horses keep coming. On his last day, Unusual Heat had two horses sell here for good money. He had a great day at the sale." In addition to the $195,000 filly, Unusual Heat is the sire of a $70,000 purchase also from the McCarthy consignment, a colt named Hot Decision, out of the Huddle Up mare Team Decision, sold to Halo Farms.
Trainer Jim Cassidy purchased the sale topper for Deron Pearson's D P Racing. Cassidy said he liked the colt as an individual, and the fact that he is a Cal-bred by Animal Kingdom adds options for the youngster's racing career. California offers a plethora of Cal-bred stakes year-round. The colt is out of the stakes-placed Dixieland Band mare Bandora.
"We were looking for a colt for sure," said Cassidy. "I thought he was the best colt in the sale. He's a nice, quiet colt. He's got a good attitude."
Cassidy said he also bid on the Unusual Heat filly, but George Bolton was ultimately the successful bidder.
Bolton has fond memories of the May sale. He has purchased many good runners out of this sale over the years, headed by $992,180-earner and sire The Factor , trained by Bob Baffert.
John Harris bred the Unusual Heat filly, named Super Patriot. She is out of the Reddatore mare Patriot C H, a half sister to graded winner Lucky J. H.
"This is a sentimental sale for me," said Bolton. "We've bought really good horses out of this sale. It's important for me to support the sale. But I wouldn't have come out here if there wasn't a horse to buy, and Bob (Baffert) thinks this horse is special."