02/28/2014 6:05PM

Barretts March kicks off juvenile sale season

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Average price has risen three consecutive years at the Barretts March select sale of 2-year-olds in training – and may be going higher on Monday.

The Barretts sale is the first of the year for the 2-year-old market, and can serve as a barometer for the nation.

Last year, Barretts had the year’s first 2-year-old sale and saw a 31 percent increase in average price to $143,459, compared with $109,429 in 2012. Three other select sales – Fasig-Tipton Florida, Ocala Breeders’ March select sale, and Keeneland April – subsequently showed increases in average price last spring.

The Barretts March sale had declining average prices of $178,027 in 2008 and $123,245 in 2009, bottoming out at $90,652 in 2010. The average increased to $100,709 in 2011.

Monday’s sale, which begins at 2 p.m. Pacific, has a catalog of 140 juveniles.

“There is a lot of depth,” said Barretts general manager Kim Lloyd. “With the upswing in the market, we expect an uptick in average, gross and median.”

In 2013, the Barretts March Sale saw 61 horses sell for a gross of $8,751,000. The median was $100,000, a gain of 18 percent compared with $85,000 in 2012.

In 2013, there were 46 horses withdrawn, and 31 horses listed as not sold, or 34 percent of the horses that went through the ring. In 2012, the buyback rate was 36 percent. There were 77 sold that year, and 27 withdrawn.

This year’s catalog is slightly larger than the 2013 sale, which offered 138 horses.

“I think they will get sold,” Lloyd said. “I think the middle market horses will be attractive. I’m happy with the group. There are a lot of athletes.”

This year’s sale has a tough act to follow.

The 2013 sale included Havana, the winner of the Grade 1 Champagne Stakes at Belmont Park last October and the runner-up in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Santa Anita last November. By Dunkirk, Havana was purchased for $575,000 by Demi O’Byrne, and races for Coolmore Stud-affiliated Michael Tabor, Derrick Smith and Susan Magnier. The colt is scheduled to make his 3-year-old debut in Saturday’s Grade 2 Swale Stakes at Gulfstream Park.

The 2013 sale topper, at $675,000, was Corfu, a Malibu Moon colt who won the Grade 2 Saratoga Special Stakes last August. Corfu also races for Tabor, Smith and Magnier. Corfu was sixth in the Spectacular Bid Stakes at Gulfstream Park in January, his final start before being retired.

The leading filly sold at the 2013 March sale was Esmeraldina, who was purchased for $325,000 by Narvick International and sent to Japan. By Harlan’s Holiday, Esmeraldina races for Kazumi Yoshida. She beat maidens in her debut on the Japan Cup program at Tokyo in November, and won the Junior Cup Stakes at Nakayama in January. Esmeraldina is a candidate for the Japanese 1000 Guineas this spring.

Corfu, Esmeraldina and Havana were each purchased as yearlings and pinhooked to the Barretts sale. Corfu was purchased for $185,000 at the 2012 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky July yearling sale, the same sale at which Esmeraldina was bought for $150,000. Havana was bought for $50,000 at the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky October yearling sale.

Several juveniles in Monday’s sale are listed as sold as weanlings or yearlings for $100,000 or more. That group includes Awesome Diamond, a filly by leading international sire Galileo purchased for $250,000 by Patrick Biancone, agent, at the 2013 Keeneland September yearling sale.

The filly, cataloged as Hip No. 77 and consigned by Ciaran Dunne’s Wavertree Stable, is out of Adoration, by Honor Grades, who earned $2,051,160 in a career highlighted by a win in the 2003 Breeders’ Cup Distaff.

Biancone, who has a stable at Santa Anita, declined to state on Wednesday who he bought the filly for last year.

Dunne is also consignor of an Indian Charlie colt (Hip No. 51), who was purchased for $230,000 by Sugar Valley Farm at the 2013 Keeneland January horses of all ages sale. The colt was listed as a buyback for $285,000 at the Keeneland September sale.

The Indian Charlie colt is out of Scarlet Love, by Not For Love. Scarlet Love is a half-sister to Scarlet Strike, the winner of the 2013 Grade 3 Providencia Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at Santa Anita.

Other well-regarded prospects include a Giant’s Causeway colt (Hip No. 104), who stood out at Barretts’ under-tack show on Thursday. Consigned by Steven Venosa’s SGV Thoroughbreds, agent, the colt was one of three juveniles to breeze a furlong in 9 4/5 seconds, tying for the fastest workout time of the show, was moved to Thursday due to a deluge of rain in the Southern California area.

The colt was purchased at the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga yearling sale last August for $150,000 by Crupi’s New Castle Farm. He is out of the Mutakddim mare Dixie Dreamer, the winner of listed stakes at River Downs and Calder Race Course, who earned $312,252.

Along with the Giant’s Causeway colt, two others breezed an eighth of a mile in 9 4/5 seconds during Thursday’s under-tack show. One of them is the first foal out of Grade 1 winner Careless Jewel (Hip No. 93). The gray or roan Street Cry colt is consigned by Eddie Woods, agent, and is from the family of Grade 1 winners Cacoethes, Fabulous Notion, and Subordination.

Careless Jewel has twice sold for seven figures, bringing $1.95 million from Southern Equine Stables at the 2010 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky fall selected mixed sale, and then selling in foal to Bodemeister for $1.85 million at the same sale in 2013.

Also hitting the mark Thursday was a Malibu Moon colt out of the Distorted Humor mare Rosy Humor (Hip No. 48) and from the family of champion Johannesburg, Group 1 winner Minardi, and Grade 2 winner and Ashford Stud sire Tale of the Cat.

Two sons of popular young sire War Front brought six figures as yearlings during last year’s fall sales. The first, selling as Hip No. 44, was purchased for $150,000 at the Keeneland September sale by Hartley/DeRenzo Thoroughbreds, who are consigning the colt on Monday. The colt is the first foal out of Remember the Keg, by Tapit. Remember the Keg is out of Remember the Day, the dam of Grade 1 winner C.S. Silk (who earned $780,396), Grade 3 winner Remember Sheikh ($227,495), and stakes winner Memory Tap ($320,260).

Another son of War Front (Hip No. 70) was bought for $100,000 at the Fasig-Tipton October yearling sale last year by AEI Investments. The colt was previously listed as a buyback for $145,000 at the Keeneland September yearling sale.

Consigned by Dunne, the colt is out of the unraced mare Vision in Blue, by Bluegrass Cat. The third dam of the female family is Airistar, the winner of eight stakes in California from 1994-96.

–additional reporting by Joe Nevills