05/12/2006 12:00AM

Barretts sale offering larger catalog than '05

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The Barretts May sale of 2-year-olds in training has been one of California's most successful sales in recent years, as measured by average price.

In 2004 and 2005, the May sale produced record averages, settling at $39,708 for 193 horses sold last year. The average was a 6 percent improvement over 2004.

The sale was reduced from two days in 2003 to one day in 2004. In 2004, the average grew 22.5 percent, to $37,371.

This year's sale on Tuesday continues the one-day schedule and features 324 2-year-olds, following the withdrawal of 54 juveniles. Barring a rash of further withdrawals, Tuesday's sale will have considerably more 2-year-olds offered than the 244 that went through the ring last year.

Despite the larger catalog, sale promoters remain optimistic that the average can continue to grow.

"We're always pretty conservative," said Barretts president Gerald McMahon. "You just hope you move forward. Our target is to bump up the top part of the market. You'd like to grow your average.

"We let [the sale] grow a little bit more. We try not to hurt the overall average and that's why we're in a one-day format."

One key will be how the 154 California-breds that remain in the sale are received. From that group, 47 were offered at the inaugural California yearling sale at Barretts last October.

"It's important that they do well," McMahon said. "It puts a good base on the yearling sale. If you look at other regions in the country, that's what's going on in Maryland, Florida, and Kentucky. They have a great chain for purchase and repurchase."

Training previews were held on Thursday and Friday, with the first 189 hips having workouts on Thursday and the second half of the catalog on Friday.

Thursday, two colts set the fastest workouts times in the history of the May sale, according to sale organizers.

A Red Bullet colt worked one furlong in 9.60 seconds.

Consigned by Wavertree Stable, agent, the colt was withdrawn from the Barretts March sale of 2-year-olds in training earlier this year. The California-bred colt is out of the unraced Avenue of Flags mare Sookloozy and was purchased at the 2005 Keeneland September yearling sale for $190,000.

The quickest quarter-mile in sale history was recorded by a Flying Chevron colt timed in 20.80 seconds. The colt is out of the In Excess dam Too Much Madam and is consigned by B.C. 3. Thoroughbreds, agent for Neversink Stables.

A Grand Slam colt had the fastest three- furlong workout of 34 seconds. The colt is a half-brother to the Texas stakes winner Classic Woman and is consigned by Cash Asmussen, agent.

Asmussen has one of the largest consignments, along with B.C.3. Thoroughbreds, Ben Craft, Andy Havens, Sam Hendricks, Mary Knight, NexStar LLC, and Sunrise Stable.

Hendricks, the wife of trainer Dan Hendricks, said she has been impressed by the first crop by Tribal Rule, who stands at River Edge Farm in California. Tribal Rule had a limited career but was a promising sprinter.

"These are hard-knocking, tough little horses," Hendricks said. "I think my Tribal Rules will be my top horses."

Hendricks's 39-horse consignment includes a Skimming colt out of Rio Tejo, formerly California's broodmare of the year. Rio Tejo is the dam of the stakes winners Giovannetti, Guillermo, and Rio Oro. The Skimming colt was bought back last October for $40,000.

"I think I have a couple that will do well and a couple that will do very poorly," Hendricks said. "The others will be in the $20,000 to $25,000 range."