03/06/2012 9:07AM

Barretts March select juvenile sale opens season with a bang

Benoit & Associates
Danox Co. Ltd. bought the $435,000 topper in Monday's Barretts March sale of selected 2-year-olds, an Empire Maker filly.

POMONA, Calif. – The Barretts March sale of selected 2-year-olds in training on Monday showed growth in key categories when compared to the 2011 sale. An Empire Maker filly that sold for $435,000 topped the sale, the first major select juvenile auction of the season.

Boosted by buyers from Japan and California-based owner Paul Reddam, the sale sold 77 horses for $8,426,000, an average of $109,429. The average rose 8.6 percent from last year’s figure of 100,709. There were 149 horses in the catalog, with 44 listed as not sold and 27 withdrawn.

The gross soared 52 percent from the $5,539,000 paid for 55 horses 2011. The 2011 sale averaged $100,709. The median increased 21.4 percent, from $70,000 in 2011 to $85,000 on Monday.

Buybacks comprised 36 percent of the horses that went through the sales ring, compared to 23 percent last year.

The three most expensive horses are headed for Japan. Danox Co. Ltd. bought the $435,000 Empire Maker filly as well as a Macho Uno colt for $385,000. Narvick International, agent for a Japanese client, bought an Indygo Shiner colt for $330,000.

Jamie McCalmont of England, acting on behalf of Reddam, led all buyers, acquiring seven horses for $940,000. McCalmont’s most expensive acquisition was a War Front colt that cost $250,000.

The War Front colt was consigned by Ciaran Dunne’s Wavertree Stables, which led sale agents, selling 13 horses from various consignments for $1,940,000. SGV Thoroughbreds, agent, was the leading individual consignor, selling four horses for $665,000.

Monday’s sale marked a reorganization of the national 2-year-old sale calendar. In past years, Barretts has typically conducted the third select sale of the late winter or early spring, following two sales in Florida. This year, Barretts had the first sale.

“We’re happy with our position on the calendar,” said Barretts general manager Kim Lloyd.

Lloyd said that activity at a training preview last Friday and weekend inspections by prospective buyers indicated that a stronger sale was imminent.

“We had a lot of traffic on Saturday, Sunday and today,” Lloyd said late Monday evening. “The first [part] of the sale was slow but it picked up.

Our gross was up because our catalog was up.”

Lloyd described the number of buybacks as a “little higher than expected.”

Reddam said he was more active than he expected. “We probably bought more than we would have otherwise,” he said. “We bought the horses we wanted to buy and others that we didn’t plan to buy.”

Japanese buyers accounted for 16 horses, which was within Lloyd’s pre-sale predictions. “My over-under was 15,” he said.

Danox Co. Ltd. was represented by advisor Hirashi Wakahara. He said the Empire Maker filly caught his eye because she was “classy, beautiful.”

“She looks like a runner,” he said.

The Empire Maker filly was consigned by Wavertree, and is out of the Event of the Year mare Fortunate Event, who placed in seven stakes. The Empire Maker filly was bred by Dan Agnew, who consigned the filly with Cory Wagner, Dunne said. The filly was withdrawn from the 2011 Keeneland September yearling sale.

At the training preview, the Empire Maker filly worked a furlong in 10.40 seconds.

“We thought she could top the sale,” Dunne said. “All week long, she’s been a star. She stands like a statue. She’s so well-balanced and put together. She’s elegant.”

Dunne said the results of the sale were mixed for his consignment. “We thought we brought a strong draft of horses,” he said. “There are a couple going home and that’s a bit shocking.”

The Macho Uno colt, consigned by Eddie Woods, fulfilled the Danox objective of acquiring a filly and a colt at Barretts, Wakahara said.

The colt was bought for $90,000 by W.D. Thoroughbreds at Keeneland last September. At the training preview, the colt worked a furlong in 9.80 seconds, which equaled the fastest time for the distance.

The colt is out of My Goodness, a Storm Cat mare, whose dam, Caressing, was the champion 2-year-old filly of 2000.