05/19/2005 11:00PM

At Barretts, statebreds take back seat

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The Barretts May sale of 2-year-olds in training, held last Tuesday in Pomona, set records in average and gross price, but the California-breds sold at the sale were not the principal choices for top buyers.

Of the 14 horses that sold for $100,000 or more, only two were California-breds. Both of those were sold to Mercedes Stable - an Afternoon Deelites colt for $200,000 and a Sir Cat filly for $100,000. The sale-topper was a Siphon colt purchased for $350,000 by Narvick International.

Overall, the one-day sale saw 193 2-year-olds sell for $7,663,700, an average of $39,708. The gross increased 9 percent over 2004 and the average improved by 6 percent. The median fell 7 percent, to $25,000.

The sale marked the second consecutive year that the average reached record levels.

"It's getting a really good niche," Barretts president Gerald McMahon said of the May sale. "Over the last three years, we've been able to keep it in competition with sales around the country and have had a broad selection."

Tuesday, there were 176 California-breds offered in a catalog of 356 yearlings. Of those 176 statebreds, 53 were withdrawn, 30 were bought back and 93 sold for $2,398,200, an average of $25,787.

While that average was considerably lower than the overall average, the figure did not discourage McMahon.

"In an open market, if the Cal-breds are hitting the median that's pretty good," he said. "Chances are these aren't the top-market Cal-breds available. Buyers want to buy the best ones."

In the overall market, the buybacks were up from 16 percent in 2004 to 21 percent this year. McMahon said the buyback rate was not a concern since the figure did not creep toward the more alarming 30 percent range.

"Around the 20 or 21 percent buyback rate at the 2-year-old sales is really good in comparison to what's going on around the country," he said. "It was almost abnormally low last year."

The juveniles bought by Mercedes were sent to Moody Creek Farm in Bonsall, Calif., by midweek, according to racing manager and farm trainer Dennis Yokum. They will begin exercise there until they are sent to one of several trainers employed by Mercedes, which is owned by Ernie Moody and Mercedes Vila. Yokum said Thursday that he was uncertain which trainer would get the juveniles.

The colt is likely to begin racetrack training before the filly, Yokum said.

The Afternoon Deelites colt is out of the Two Punch mare Lindsali, a five-time winner. The colt was consigned by Andy Havens Bloodstock.

"He'll probably resume training at the beginning of the week," Yokum said.

The Sir Cat filly, consigned by Sam Hendricks, agent, is out of the Runaway Groom mare Stormy Street, who did not start.

"The filly is a May 22 filly and she is a little immature," Yokum said.

Yokum said he went to the sale looking to add statebreds to the Mercedes Stable roster.

"It was sort of like the NFL draft - you're looking for the best athletes available," he said. "I was looking more to the California-breds."