07/24/2016 1:52PM

California Diamond fetches $125k in Del Mar's Paddock Sale


DEL MAR, Calif. - California Diamond, the undefeated winner of the Santa Anita Juvenile earlier this month, sold for $125,000 at Saturday’s Paddock Sale at Del Mar of horses of racing age, the most expensive hip of an evening sale with a small catalog and a low number of purchased horses.

Only 21 horses were catalogued, with seven sold, and 11 listed as bought back. There were three horses withdrawn. The sale was held after a 10-race program that included California Chrome’s popular win in the Grade 2 San Diego Handicap.

The sale grossed $296,000, with an average of $42,285. This was the fifth year for the Paddock Sale of horses of racing age. Last year, the sale had 19 horses sell for a gross of $728,500 and an average of $38,342. The sale had its largest gross of $1,257,000 in 2013 and its highest average of $113,000 in 2014.

California Diamond was purchased by Rockingham Ranch and will be trained by Peter Miller. Rafael Becerra Jr., a bloodstock agent and assistant trainer, signed the ticket on behalf of Rockingham Ranch.

Miller said on Sunday that an attempt was made to buy California Diamond privately in the days before the sale.

“We looked at him before the sale,” he said. “We couldn’t get anything done.”

He described the purchase price as “about what we expected.”

California Diamond, by the Seeking the Gold stallion Harbor the Gold, was consigned by John Brocklebank, who trained California Diamond in both of his starts. California Diamond raced for the Brocklebank family’s Twin V Farm when he won the Santa Anita Juvenile on July 9, his most recent start.

California Diamond won a maiden race for California-breds in his debut June 17. Miller said the $100,000 Graduation Stakes for California-breds at 5 1/2 furlongs on Aug. 3 is a possibility for California Diamond.

The colt was the only horse to sell for $100,000 or more. A 2-year-old filly by Stay Thirsty was purchased for $82,000 by trainer Jeff Bonde. The filly has yet to start and worked three furlongs in 34 seconds on Friday as part of a training preview of unraced 2-year-olds.

The most prominent buyback was Dis Smart Cat, a 3-year-old filly by Square Eddie, who was listed as not sold for $260,000. Consigned by trainer Matt Chew, agent, Dis Smart Cat has won 2 of 4 starts and has earned $62,720 - all this year. She was third in an optional-claimer at Santa Anita on July 10.

Dis Smart Cat is trained by Chew for Papagallo Racing Stables. Chew said on Sunday that Dis Smart Cat will be pointed for an allowance race at the current Del Mar summer meeting.

“We were looking for a little higher” price, Chew said of the buyback. “They were very close. We would have been happy to sell, but we’re happy to still have her.”

Barretts general manager Kim Lloyd said the sale had a smaller catalog than in past years after several 2-year-old prospects from Ireland did not make the trip because of travel complications.

He emphasized that the sale will continue annually.

“It’s all dependent on the inventory we get,” Lloyd said. “It’s an evolving deal. We’ll try to do different things and figure out the best we can.”