10/13/2017 11:16AM

Barretts riding momentum into fall sale


The North American yearling market has maintained its crackle well into the season’s later events, and that positive momentum is expected to carry to the West Coast for the 2017 Barretts fall sale of yearlings and horses of all ages.

The one-day auction will take place Tuesday at the Hinds Pavilion at Fairplex Park in Pomona, Calif., beginning at 11 a.m. Pacific.

This year’s catalog puts 279 mixed entries on offer, making for an 11 percent smaller pool than last year’s 312-horse catalog. Entries in this year’s edition are split up by 221 yearlings, 39 broodmares or broodmare prospects, 10 juveniles, and nine weanlings.

Barretts comes into its fall sale riding two waves of momentum. The first comes from within. The auction company’s select yearling sale in August saw across-the-board gains and was topped by the most expensive yearling in the auction company’s history, a $300,000 Bodemiester filly.

The second wave is the overall upward trajectory of the yearling marketplace, particularly the bellwether Keeneland September yearling sale, where stiff buying competition drove record average and median sale prices. The residual effect of a buying bench still left wanting has been felt in ensuing major yearling sales, which have posted healthy returns.

“It was very, very difficult to buy at Keeneland, and now we’re seeing a lot of interest at these other sales because these guys need inventory,” Barretts general manager Kim Lloyd said. “They’re searching out now.”

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Fairplex Park was once the full-time home for Barretts, but the auction company has moved most of its sales south to Del Mar, with a few events still hosted in Pomona. While Fairplex may no longer be the spiritual base for Barretts, Lloyd said coming back to their old stomping grounds maintains its own set of advantages.

“It’s easy for everyone,” he said. “It’s within shouting distance from Santa Anita. It doesn’t take a lot of time out of your schedule for the horsemen to run over and look at horses. For the consignors, most of them are based out of that area, so it makes it a lot easier for them and the help, too. It makes it nice to be at our own home, but at the same sense, we feel good wherever we go to sell a horse.”

Last year’s Barretts fall sale finished with 175 horses sold for $2,496,500, marking a 1 percent decline from the previous year’s gross. The average sale price also dipped 1 percent to $14,266, but the median rose 15 percent to $7,500. The buyback rate landed at 37 percent.

A Smiling Tiger colt drew the auction’s highest price, going to Slugo Racing for $190,000. Later named Tigre Di Slugo, the California-bred colt is out of the Grade 1-placed stakes-winning Williamstown mare Erica’s Smile, and he is a half-brother to stakes-placed Derivative.

Tigre Di Slugo has been working toward his debut at Santa Anita, where he most recently breezed three furlongs in 36.80 seconds Oct. 6.