03/04/2014 12:28AM

Barretts: Seven-figure colt leads strong select juvenile sale


Led by the buying power of the Coolmore group, the Barretts March select sale of 2-year-olds in training at Fairplex Park in Pomona, Calif., showed gains in gross, average, and median prices on Monday.

Demi O’Byrne, seated with Michael Tabor of Coolmore, bought the sale-topper, a Giant’s Causeway colt, for $1.15 million. O’Byrne also paid $450,000 for a Malibu Moon filly. Trainer Todd Pletcher, in the company of Tabor and O’Byrne, bought two juveniles by Malibu Moon, as agent – a filly for $950,000 as the sale's second-highest price, and a colt for $550,000.

Overall, Barretts reported that 60 horses sold for a gross of $10,665,000 on Monday, an average of $177,750 and a median of $112,500.

The number of horses sold was lower by one compared with 2013. The gross increased 22 percent, the average was higher by 24 percent, and the median rose by 13 percent.

Of the 94 horses that went through the ring during the one-day auction, 34 were listed as not sold, or 36 percent. At the same sale in 2013, 92 horses went through the ring, and 31 were listed as not sold, or 34 percent.

The Giant’s Causeway colt was the first seven-figure purchase at the March sale since 2007 when a colt by Officer sold for $1.4 million.

“It’s pretty good when you have a $1 million horse,” Barretts general manager Kim Lloyd said.

The Giant’s Causeway colt was well regarded before the sale. Consigned by Steven Venosa’s SGV Thoroughbreds on behalf of J.J. Crupi, the colt breezed a furlong in 9.8 seconds at the training preview on Feb. 27. The time equaled the quickest for the distance.

The colt is by a three-time leading North American general sire who stands at Coolmore’s Ashford Stud in Kentucky, and is out of Dixie Dreamer, an 11-year-old mare by Mutakddim who won two stakes in her career and earned $312,252 racing from 2005 to 2008.

“He’s by a stallion we happen to own,” Tabor said. “A very athletic horse, and we’ve got to keep our fingers crossed.”

The Giant’s Causeway colt was purchased at the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga yearling sale for $150,000 by J.J. Crupi’s New Castle Farm.

Venosa, based in Ocala, Fla., expected a successful sale after the Giant’s Causeway colt’s fast workout.

“We felt he would be one of the top horses out here,” Venosa said. “He had a super workout. We like to say he unleashed the fury. He showed really well.

“I sold the horse for J.J. Crupi. He gave me my start in this and I was happy to be able to sell the horse for him.”

The Giant’s Causeway colt will be trained by Todd Pletcher. Pletcher said that the Malibu Moon colt and filly that he signed for, as agent, will also be part of his 2014 stable. The $450,000 Malibu Moon filly bought by O’Byrne will remain in California with Simon Callaghan.

“We got everything we wanted and we’re quite happy,” Tabor said. “There were three or four we were interested in.”

Commenting on the catalog, O’Byrne said, “I was pleased with what we found. I like them.”

Pletcher said he was particularly intrigued by the Malibu Moon offspring that he bought. In the past, he has trained such Grade 1 winners by Malibu Moon as Life At Ten, who earned $1,277,515; Devil May Care, who earned $724,000; and Malibu Prayer, who earned $618,026. Pletcher also trained the Malibu Moon colt Corfu, who topped the 2013 Barretts March sale at $675,000. Racing for Tabor, Susan Magnier, and Derrick Smith, Corfu won the Grade 2 Saratoga Special Stakes last August. He was retired to stud in January.

Pletcher described his $550,000 Malibu Moon colt as “a fast colt. Hopefully, he’ll be precocious. I thought he had excellent action.” The colt also breezed a furlong in 9.8 seconds at the under-tack show. He is out of the Distorted Humor mare Rosy Humor and is from the family of champion Johannesburg and Ashford Stud stallion Tale of the Cat.

The $950,000 Malibu Moon filly was the final juvenile through the ring. She is out of In the Ghetto, a 14-year-old stakes-producing mare by Hennessy, and was consigned by Ocala-based Hartley/De Renzo Thoroughbreds. The filly, who breezed a furlong in 10 seconds at the Barretts show, was purchased by Hartley/De Renzo for $160,000 at the 2013 Keeneland September yearling sale.

The lone juvenile cataloged in the sale by top international sire Galileo sold for $625,000, the third-highest price of the day. Diamond 100 Racing bought the chestnut filly, named Awesome Diamond, from the consignment of Ciaran Dunne's Wavertree Stables, agent. The filly is out of 2003 Breeders' Cup Distaff winner Adoration. 

Lloyd said before the sale that the higher average was expected, but wished the buyback rate was lower.

“We expected the good horses to take care of themselves,” he said. “It was important to sell those $200,000 [horses] and keeping everyone in action. You’d like to see your buybacks down, but that is typical of the sale.

“When they were on a horse, it was very strong, all the buyers. There was either all the action, or it was pretty quiet.”

Lloyd said that “12 to 15” of the horses not sold could be the subject of private transactions in coming days.

For hip-by-hip results, click here.

Barretts March select 2-year-olds in training sale:

Year Sold Gross Average Median Buyback
2014 60 $10,665,000 (+22%) $177,750 (+24%) $112,500 (+13%) 36%
2013 61 $8,751,000 $143,459 $100,000 34%