09/01/2010 1:53PM

172 cataloged for Washington sale


AUBURN, Wash. – Barring last-minute withdrawals, a total of 172 horses will be offered at auction Tuesday during the Washington Thoroughbred Breeders and Owners Association’s annual summer sale at the Morris J. Alhadeff Sales Pavilion adjacent to Emerald Downs.

In a departure from past years, when the event was limited to yearlings, the sale will include broodmares, weanlings, horses of racing age, and stallion shares, though most of the focus will be on a preferred group of 117 yearlings. The sale begins at 1 p.m. and is open to the public.

“It’s a good catalog, and we’re optimistic it will be well received,” said Dana Halvorson, the WTBOA’s president and a longtime West Coast bloodstock agent. “One of the biggest things is, some spectacular horses have come out of here in the past couple of years. Smiling Tiger won a Grade 1 at Del Mar this year, and Atta Boy Roy won a Grade 2 at Churchill Downs. Both of those horses are pointing toward the Breeders’ Cup Sprint; that’s pretty exciting. City to City has won a Grade 2, and there have been many other stakes winners, from Hollywood Harbor on down.”

Halvorson said he expects about 75 percent of the yearlings to change hands after meeting their auction reserves but was less certain about what kind of prices they might command. The average sale price in 2009 was $8,320, a decline of 27 percent from 2008, and gross sales revenues were off by nearly 33 percent.

“We don’t have any great predictions as far as the averages; it’s pretty tough to tell,” he said. “We’ve heard from a lot of people who will be attending from different areas, and that’s encouraging. We just don’t know how much they’ll spend.”

In keeping with national industry trends, prices at the Washington sale declined markedly the past two years, the median tumbling from $12,000 in 2007 to $6,750 in 2008 to $4,500 a year ago.

RNAs – horses failing to attain their reserves – topped out at 43 percent in 2008, an all-time high. That number declined to 39 percent last summer.

A total of 79 sires are represented in the catalog, with Matty G and Cahill Road the most prominent. Matty G, winner of the 1995 Hollywood Futurity and Washington’s leading sire four times, is represented by 23 runners. Cahill Road, a full brother to champion 3-year-old Unbridled, has 14 in the sale. Both stallions stand at El Dorado Farms in Enumclaw.

Harbor the Gold, a rising star in Northwest breeding, is represented by four yearlings, and Hip No. 71, a colt by Harbor the Gold from the Slewdledo mare Slewette, could top the sale. Consigned by the stallion’s owner, Bar C Racing Stables in Hermiston, Ore., he’s a full brother to 2009 Washington champion 2-year-old Hollywood Harbor and a half-brother to Kittyzallwet, an unraced mare who produced 2009 Gottstein Futurity winner Koala Beach.

A year ago, Amazing Legacy, a full brother to 2007 Longacres Mile winner The Great Face and a half-brother to Atta Boy Roy, topped the sale at $60,000. Two years ago, Notoriously, a three-time stakes winner at Northlands Park this summer, led the way at $92,000.

Notoriously’s half-sister, a filly by Lion Heart from the stakes-placed mare Silver Echo, could command a hefty price; she’s Hip No. 95. Also of interest is Hip No. 7, a filly by second-year sire Flower Alley from the productive broodmare Bisbee. Bred and consigned by Jerre Paxton’s Northwest Farms, she’s a half-sister to Taste the Passion, herself a multiple stakes winner and the dam of Shampoo, a five-time Emerald Downs stakes winner, and Smarty Deb, winner of the 2007 Gottstein Futurity.

A handful of stallions will be represented by their first crop of yearlings, including Sun King, a son of Charismatic who stands at Darby Dan Farm in Lexington, Ky.; Mr. Sekiguchi, a former $8 million yearling by Storm Cat who stands at Bridlewood Farm in Ocala, Fla.; and 2006 Emerald Derby winner Raise the Bluff, who has nine runners in the sale and stands at El Dorado Farms.

Horses will be available for viewing in the sales pavilion beginning at 10 a.m. Saturday.

◗ Emerald Downs will stage the first Quarter Horse race in the track’s 15-year history Sept. 25, track officials confirmed this week, a precursor to a rollout of Quarter Horse racing in 2011. The $10,000 Muckleshoot Tribal Dash-John Deere Bonus Challenge will be contested over 350 yards. The entry fee is $200, due when entries close Sept. 22. John Deere and Emerald Downs will each contribute $5,000 in purse money. All entry fees go to the winner.

◗ Emerald Downs received approval from the Washington Horse Racing Commission to offer 50-cent minimum pick-four wagering, beginning Friday. The previous minimum was $1.