05/10/2010 11:00PM

$250,000 colt tops Barretts juvenile sale

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A War Front colt who was one of seven juveniles that worked a furlong in 10 seconds topped Tuesday's Barretts May 2-year-old sale on a bid of $250,000. A smaller catalog than last year resulted in a steep drop in gross, but average remained steady.

The one-session auction in Pomona, Calif., sold 86 juveniles for a total of $3,096,000, down 31 percent as compared to last year, when a larger catalog resulted in the sale of 123 horses. Average price also slid, but only very slightly, falling from $36,675 last year to this year's figure of $36,000. Median gained, climbing from $20,000 in 2009 to $20,500.

Buybacks improved. Last year, 29 percent of the horses offered failed to reach their reserves, compared to 24 percent in 2010. Consignors scratched 50 horses this year; 90 were withdrawn in 2009.

George Bolton purchased Hip No. 48, the sale-topping gray or roan colt, from the Jerry Bailey Sales Agency.

The son of the Miswaki mare Greyciousness is a half-brother to four winners. He was one of three juveniles to bring $200,000 or more at the auction, including the day's highest-priced filly. That was Hip No. 125, a Dixie Union-Successfully Sweet filly that John Liviakis bought for $210,000 from Vision Sales (Stephens Thoroughbreds, agent). The other horse to reach $200,000 was Hip No. 67, a Tiznow-Lit'l Rose filly bought by Sheehy LLC; Vision Sales (Stephens Thoroughbreds, agent) sold that filly, too.

"We're really pleased," said Kim Lloyd, Barretts vice-president for sales. "There was a broad base of buyers, a demand for horses. There were less horses, obviously, but there is a demand for horses in California, and I think we're starting to see the contraction of the numbers starting to meet the demand a little better."

Lloyd added that resolution of some of California's racing issues, such as the future of Hollywood Park and whether the state's racetracks will return to dirt instead of synthetic surfaces, eventually should create more stability in the Thoroughbred marketplace.