03/30/2017 6:37AM

$675K Malibu Moon colt tops Barretts sale

Barretts Sales/Cecilia Gustavsson
This Malibu Moon colt out of Indian Breeze was the top seller at Barretts select sale of 2-year-olds in training Wednesday.

DEL MAR, Calif. - A Malibu Moon colt was purchased for $675,000 at Wednesday’s Barretts select sale of 2-year-olds in training at Del Mar, the most expensive horse of a sale that showed across-the-board increases in prices but a high number of withdrawals.

The West Point Thoroughbreds syndicate and Spendthrift Farm bought the Malibu Moon colt, who will be sent to a trainer on the East Coast, according to West Point president Terry Finley.

Overall, 45 horses sold for $6,777,000, for an average of $150,600. There were 19 horses listed as not sold and 67 withdrawn, according to sale company data. In 2016, 43 horses sold for $5,356,000, for an average of $124,558. There were 62 horses withdrawn from the 2016 sale.

The gross increased 26.5 percent this year, while the average rose by 17.4 percent. Ten horses were listed as sold for $250,000 or more on Wednesday compared to four in 2016.

“We knew we had better stock,” said Barretts general manager Kim Lloyd. “The vibe of the preview was very positive. The horses looked well breezing and we had a good turnout.

“They sold well and there was a lot of competition.”

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Finley said Spendthrift approached him after the sale about forming a partnership on the Malibu Moon colt. Finley said a final decision on a trainer for the Malibu Moon colt has not been made.

The Malibu Moon colt worked a quarter-mile in 21 seconds in Monday’s training session. Consigned by Starting Point Thoroughbreds, agent, the colt is out Indian Breeze, who won the 2005 Landaluce Stakes at Hollywood Park. Indian Breeze is by Indian Charlie.

The Malibu Moon colt was listed as sold for $135,000 to W.D. North Thoroughbreds at the 2016 Keeneland September yearling sale.

“I thought he had a beautiful stride,” Finley said of the colt’s workout. “The market is white hot and I think we have a top colt.”

Finley said he stopped bidding at the $450,000 mark and then made a final bid that turned out to be successful.

The leading filly, by Lucky Pulpit, was the second horse through the ring and was acquired for $360,000 by Dennis O’Neill, acting on behalf of Amr Zedan, who is in the process of building a racing stable.

“He gave me strict instructions to buy the best horse in the sale,” Dennis O’Neill said. “I thought she was the star on the track.”

The price caught O’Neill by surprise.

“We spent more than we expected to,” he said.

O’Neill said the Lucky Pulpit filly is the fifth horse he has purchased this year for Zedan, who he said lives in Saudi Arabia and Dubai.

The filly was consigned by Andy Havens, agent. Last October, the filly was listed as sold for $42,000 at the Barretts October yearling sale to John Brocklebank, agent.

“I thought she’d bring $250,000,” Havens said moments after the filly was sold. “She’s the real deal.”

The California-bred filly, who will be trained by Doug O’Neill, Dennis’s brother, worked a furlong in 9.8 seconds on Monday.

The filly is out of Nine to Five Lady, a 9-year-old mare by Mr. Greeley.

Dennis O’Neill was the leading buyer, paying $875,000 for three horses for various clients.

Other leading horses included a Candy Ride colt bought for $400,000 by Susumu Hayashi of Japan, a Quality Road colt acquired by Gary Broad for $350,000, and a colt by Run Away and Hide bought for $325,000 by Kaleem Shah.

Lloyd said after Wednesday’s sale that Barretts is likely to discontinue its May sale of 2-year-olds in training in 2018 and will offer a larger catalog at its March sale.

Lloyd said the March event offers more conveniences than the May sale, notably in the stable area and training access. Lloyd said the May event is held around the same time as the popular horse show on the Del Mar property.

“I haven’t finalized it, but it’s 99 percent sure,” Lloyd said. “We’ll combine the two sales to this date.

“Everything is easier and we don’t have interference from the Del Mar National horse show.”

The 2017 May sale of 2-year-olds in training will be held on May 17, with a training preview on May 15. The horse show runs from April 18 to May 7. By the end of the horse show, many of the 2-year-olds for the May sale will be on the grounds.