03/03/2011 3:55PM

Barretts executive sees healthy sale ahead


Kim Lloyd, the Barretts vice-president for sales, is feeling buoyant these days.

Two weeks before the Barretts March auction, the mood this year is better than in 2010. Last season’s 2-year-old market overall performed better than in 2009. Cumulative North American sales gross grew 10 percent even though 6 percent fewer horses sold, and the North American average price swelled 16 percent to $38,572.

The 2010 Barretts March sale didn’t enjoy gains, but, this year, Lloyd expects good things from the auction’s new night session this year at Fairplex Park in Pomona, Calif.

“There’s a horse shortage everywhere, and people are needing horses,” he said. “I think we’ll get a lot of horses sold and have a big clearance rate this year. I expect ours to be a really good sale. We have 105 cataloged. Last year, we sold a lot of horses and sold them well, and I expect this year to be even a little better. The group of horses we’re bringing in is a little stronger than last year’s. I think the pinhookers got a little more horse for their money, and I think they’re going to get paid for those horses this year.”

The Barretts March sale follows Fasig-Tipton’s Florida sale (March 3) and the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Company’s March sale (March 15-16) on the boutique juvenile auction calendar. Even without seeing the results of the earlier auctions, Lloyd already sees reasons to be confident about the 2-year-old market in 2011.

“I’m not an economist, but I know the folks with money had money even during the tough times,” said Lloyd. “They didn’t go broke. They might not have had quite as much as before, but they had money. Now things have stabilized a bit, and we don’t have that spiraling-down feeling we had for a couple of years. That stabilization is allowing people to be more confident spending their money.”

California racing provides a base of purchasers at the Barretts auction, and Lloyd acknowledged that the Golden State’s sport still faces some uncertainty, including the ultimate fate of Hollywood Park. But Lloyd thinks Santa Anita’s return to a dirt surface after an unpopular switch to synthetic will add to California-based buyers’ confidence.

“That was a big help,” Lloyd said. “The synthetic deal wasn’t helping us. It’s still tough in California, there’s no doubt about it. But at least people are having open dialog between the horsemen and tracks, and everyone’s trying to improve things. I think things eventually will be solved.”

Japanese buyers traditionally are mainstays of the Barretts market. Lloyd expects them to return in force in 2011 after witnessing good results from Barretts March graduates like 2010 Tokyo Sprint winner Suni, and he said the auction house bumped up its advertising in Japan, too.

The Barretts catalog features some fancy pedigrees in 2011 from stallions as new as first-crop sire Stevie Wonderboy and as established as Bertrando. Stevie Wonderboy’s offerings include a half-sister to Grade 2 winner Siphon City (Hip No. 4) and a half-brother to Grade 1-placed American System. Bertrando has two lots, both colts, one from the family of Griddle and the other from the family of Yokohama (71) and the other from the family of Grade 1-placed Talkin to Mom Roo.

Other first-crop sires include Corinthian, with a half-brother to graded-placed He’s Got Grit (30) and Hard Spun, whose juveniles here include the first foal out of Grade 2-placed High Cholesterol (29). Hard Spun also is the sire of stakes-winner Trajectory’s first foal, a filly (44). And Any Given Saturday has a half-brother to graded winner Necessary Evil (81).

Also of interest is pair of Indian Charlie 2-year-olds. The first is a filly from the family of millionaire Smok’n Frolic (23), and the second is a colt from the family of Runway Model (40). Another with Grade 1 connections is Hip No. 73, a Tale of the Cat three-quarter-brother to Kentucky Oaks third Tidal Pool. Another fashionable sire, Malibu Moon, is represented by the first foal of The One, from Halo America and Marino Marini’s family (88).

Among those with graded-winning half- or full siblings are an El Corredor half-brother to Grade 1 winner Mona de Momma (80); a Wildcat Heir half-brother to Dr. Park and Kelly Leak (28); a Pomeroy half-brother to Expect an Angel (37); a Put It Back half-brother to May Day Rose (43); a Forestry half-sister to Off Duty (48); an After Market three-quarter-sister to White Cat (57); and a Bluegrass Cat half-brother to Cash Deal (99).

“We’re not going to see a huge uptick, but I think the market has bottomed out and stabilized, people have adjusted, and now we’re moving on,” concluded Lloyd. “The top of the market is different from what it was. We did see a $2 million 2-year-old last year, but most of those numbers have gone down. But there’s still solid money out there, and there are plenty of people who are going to be buying horses in the $150,000 to $350,000 range at 2-year-old sales.”