A California-bred son of Uncle Mo sold for $600,000 to top the April 4 Barretts spring 2-year-old sale at Del Mar. The sale was a combination of horses traditionally offered at Barretts in March and May after the company merged the two sales.
The resulting average, not unexpectedly, ended up between the 2017 figures. In 2018, the combined auction sold 72 horses for a gross of $6,171,000 and an average of $85,708. In 2017, the March sale averaged $150,600 on 45 sold for a gross of $6,777,000 and the May sale averaged $43,170 on 47 sold for a gross of $2,029,000. The 2018 median was $48,500, and the buy-back rate was 37.4%, with 43 of the 115 through the ring not sold.
"Going into the sale, I really didn't know what to expect," said Kim Lloyd, Barretts' general manager. "The highly desirable horses are easy to sell. There are people after them, and there's a lot of competition for them. But the horses that the market isn't fond of are tough sledding, and we saw that again today."
Lloyd made his comments immediately after the sale, and added that he will be analyzing the results more thoroughly to see how the new format affected every level of horse in the catalog.
Both the March and May sale catalogs usually include horses from Florida pinhookers and local homebreds. This year's sale topper combined the two.
K. Neal and Pam Christopherson's Bar C Racing Stables bred the sale-topping colt in California and offered him at the 2017 Barretts select yearling sale, where Quarter Pole Enterprises purchased him for $60,000. Eddie Woods prepped the colt in Florida and consigned him to the 2-year-old sale as Hip 14 on behalf of a partnership. Terry Finley of West Point Thoroughbreds bought the youngster at the 2-year-old sale.
"He was a nice horse—very young when we bought him, a May foal," said Woods. "He was immature but had all the right parts. He grew up wonderfully, and his good shape just got enhanced. He worked good. He's a really good-training horse. Everything just went right for us."
"I just thought he was a beautiful horse that would have fit in any of the sales," Finley said. "The fact that he's a California-bred is just icing on the cake. He is just a very special horse. We like Uncle Mo, and the filly (Coach Rocks) that just won the Gulfstream Park Oaks (G2) is out of an El Prado mare."
Finley said Jerry Hollendorfer will likely train the colt in California.
Dennis O'Neill purchased the second-highest-priced horse on behalf of Amr Zedan for $450,000. Ciaran Dunne's Wavertree Stables consigned the son of Into Mischief —Cape Discovery, by Cape Town, as Hip 167. The colt sold for $110,000 at the 2017 Keeneland September yearling sale.
"We thought he was the best colt in the sale," O'Neill said. "You can't beat Into Mischief right now. He's an absolutely gorgeous horse, and his breeze was really good. We're extremely excited to have him."
The Into Mischief colt was one of three to breeze a furlong in the fastest time of :10. O'Neill said the colt would move just a couple of barns over to his brother Doug's Del Mar string.
Raymie Lightner went to $335,000 to get the sale's highest-priced filly for Gary Hartunian's Rockingham Ranch. Becky Thomas' Sequel Bloodstock consigned Hip 109, a daughter of Will Take Charge —Trip for A. J., by Trippi. Lynn B. Schiff bred the filly in Kentucky, and the youngster sold for $100,000 at the 2017 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky July yearling sale.