01/20/2012 2:17PM

Barretts starts its season with modest expectations

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Barretts starts its 2012 sale season with a one-day January mixed sale in Pomona, Calif., on Monday that comprises 2-year-olds, breeding stock, horses of racing age, and yearlings. The sale begins at 11 a.m.

“The January sale is for us a service sale,” said Kim Lloyd, vice president of sales at Barretts. “It’s not like a March [2-year-olds in training] sale where you have great expectations. We expect this sale to be pretty good and kind of solid.”

The 2011 January mixed sale had an average price of $5,310 from 256 horses listed as sold. In 2010, fueled by a dispersal of horses owned by Jenny Craig, there were 275 horses listed as sold for an average of $7,320.

A decline in available breeding stock in the state in recent years could lead to higher prices, Lloyd said.

“We’re seeing a little more interest in the market, even with broodmares,” he said. “They can get bought and get sold.”

In addition, the development of the Golden State Series, a newly formed group of races for California-breds of all ages this year, could make statebreds more attractive to buyers.

“I’m excited about that Golden State Series,” Lloyd said. “It’s well thought out, a good incentive.”

Among the broodmares, there are expectations for Sci Fi Kin, a 13-year-old mare who produced Pretty Unusual, the winner of the Grade 2 El Encino Stakes at Santa Anita in 2010. Sci Fi Kin sells in foal to Unusual Heat, the state’s leading sire by progeny earnings.

“Those kinds of horses will sell well no matter where or when,” Lloyd said.

Following Tuesday’s sale, the next event on the Barretts calendar is the March sale of select 2-year-olds in training on the evening of March. 5. Lloyd said the sale has 140 entries. Last year, there were 106 entries, and 55 horses listed as sold.

Pair of Eclipses for statebreds

For the first time in a decade, there are two California-breds among the list of Eclipse Award winners.

Acclamation was named champion older male, and Amazombie was named champion sprinter. The last time that happened was 2001, when Tiznow was champion older male and Gourmet Girl was champion older female.

Tiznow won the California-bred Horse of the Year title that year, an award that has yet to be decided this year. Voting for statebred horse of the year is underway through members of the California Thoroughbred Breeders Association. The title will be revealed at the organization’s annual awards dinner in Pasadena on Feb. 13.

Cases can be made for both horses. Acclamation won 5 of 7 starts and $1,126,000 in a California-based campaign. Three of the wins were in Grade 1 races – the Charles Whittingham Handicap, Eddie Read Stakes, and Pacific Classic.

A 6-year-old horse by Unusual Heat, Acclamation won on turf and on Del Mar’s Polytrack synthetic surface.

Amazombie was at his best in October and November. He won the Grade 1 Ancient Title Stakes on Oct 1, followed five weeks later by a career-defining win in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Sprint. Overall, Amazombie won 5 of 9 starts and $1,327,000, with all the wins coming in stakes. They ranged in quality from the Sunshine Millions Sprint and Sensational Star for restricted company in the winter to the Grade 1 races in the fall.

It is easy to argue that Amazombie should have had a record of 6 wins in 9 starts. He finished first in the Grade 3 Los Angeles Handicap at Hollywood Park on May 30, but was disqualified and placed third for causing interference in early stretch.

In a way, they both deserve the title. It would not be unheard-of if the title was shared. In 2009, California Flag and Dancing in Silks were recognized as co-California-bred Horses of the Year after a season in which they won the BC Turf Sprint and BC Sprint, respectively.