10/12/2012 1:35PM

Barretts sale numbers have company thinking upswing

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The $23,026 average price at Tuesday’s Barretts October yearling sale in Pomona, Calif., was the highest for the annual sale since 2006.

Compared with 2011, key figures rose remarkably. The average price increased 36 percent, from $16,881, and gross receipts rose 54 percent, to $4,006,600.

The higher data left the company hoping that the sale can continue on an upward trend in coming seasons, with an emphasis on quality.

“It was the best yearling sale we’ve had in years,” said Barretts general manager Kim Lloyd. “It was terrific. We do a follow-up, [and] it was the most enthusiasm we’ve seen from the consignors. They feel like they have a chance to make money.”

A smaller pool of California-breds, which dominated the one-day sale, and higher purses and bonuses for California-breds, helped to stoke interest.

The Golden State Series of stakes for California-breds of all ages was launched earlier this year, with greatly enhanced purses for 2- and 3-year-olds. For example, the California Cup Juvenile and Juvenile Fillies were worth $250,000 at Santa Anita on Saturday. Last year, those races were worth $100,000.

As the first Golden State Series has unfolded this year, owners and trainers have become more aware of the available prize money. In addition, California-breds who win maiden special weight races in Southern California earn a bonus of $17,500 above purse earnings.

Those incentives have helped fuel interest in the better-bred yearlings in the state.

Tuesday’s gross was close to the $4,336,900 gross recorded in 2006. That year the average price was $25,362. Lloyd notes that the 2006 sale was before the recession.

Tuesday’s sale saw three horses sell for $110,000 or more. Last year, the sale-topper reached $100,000. This year’s sale topper was a Bertrando colt bought by Arnold Zetcher, who has raced such horses as Midnight Interlude, the winner of the 2011 Santa Anita Derby, and Richard’s Kid, who won the 2009 Pacific Classic when owned by Zetcher.

Pinhookers took an active role in Tuesday’s sale. The leading buyer was Hartley-De Renzo Thoroughbreds of Florida, which bought four horses for $283,500, and Kip Elser’s Kirkwood Stables, agent, which bought four horses for $185,000. Both outfits are likely to bring those horses back to Southern California for the 2-year-olds in-training sales at Barretts in March and May of next year.

“We had people we hadn’t seen before,” Lloyd said of the pinhooking buyers. “Kip Elser came out and had not been here for years. There was a lot of interest.”

While the sale was a success for consignors, more evidence of an improvement for California-breds can occur in the 2-year-olds in-training sales next year and the 2013 yearling sale. Lloyd, for one, thinks it is under way.

“I think we’re on a rebound,” he said.

Gervinho may get BC start

Gervinho, the California-bred 2-year-old who won the Zuma Beach Stakes on turf on Monday, must be supplemented to the Breeders’ Cup program for $100,000 to be eligible for the $1 million BC Juvenile Turf on Nov. 3.

As of Friday, the investment was likely, trainer Carla Gaines said. She trains Gervinho for Keith Brackpool, the chairman of the California Horse Racing Board.

“I don’t think it will be a problem if he’s competitive,” Gaines said.

Brackpool “is so excited about the prospect,” said Gaines. “We have to see if we’re good enough to finish 1-2-3.”