03/15/2005 1:00AM

$1 million colt at Barretts

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The Barretts March select juvenile sale got under way in Pomona, Calif., on Tuesday with a $1 million Grand Slam colt leading early in the session. Consigned by Jerry Bailey Sales Agency, agent, as Hip No. 43, he was sold to Japanese agent Hirokazu Sumida. The colt is out of the Storm Cat mare Marsh Cat.

With about 150 cataloged horses still remaining, consignors and sale officials were hopeful that the single-day auction would see more fireworks later in the day.

The Barretts sale takes place in a heated atmosphere, at least at the top of the select juvenile marketplace. The Fasig-Tipton Calder auction, which produced a world-record price with $4.5 million Fusaichi Samurai last year, shattered that mark in February with a $5.2 million Tale of the Cat-Carry All colt that John Ferguson bought for Sheikh Mohammed al-Maktoum. Ferguson was on the grounds again at Barretts, and he was expected to bid as aggressively as ever for lots on his short list.

But the Fasig-Tipton market also saw a 45 percent buy-back rate, and the question at the 2005 Barretts sale is whether or not California-based owners and trainers will help middle-market horses find homes.

The Barretts auction was to continue into Tuesday evening.