09/25/2003 11:00PM

Del Mar sale a home run for Hatch operation


The phone at Jack and Barb Hatch's ranch home in Galt, Calif., rings more frequently these days, a month after the mom-and-pop operation consigned the sale topper to the Del Mar yearling sale.

From a five-horse offering, the Hatches topped the sale with a Smokester colt who sold for $160,000.

"Everyone has called and congratulated us," Barb Hatch said earlier this week. "They've been happy for us. Even people from Kentucky we knew from the sales. It's been quite exciting."

The successful sale has not led to many changes in their lives. They still operate a horse transport company in northern California and maintain a 20-acre ranch that specializes in sales preparation and lay-ups. Business is steady but has not boomed because of the sale.

"A couple of people have called from down south to bring us broodmares and weanlings," Barb Hatch said. "Then, they found out how north we were. They said it was great to talk to us."

The Hatches, who operate as Green Acres Stables, will be back in Southern California at the Barretts October preferred yearling sale on Oct. 7 with a six-horse consignment. It is one of the smaller consignments in the one-day sale, but as Del Mar showed little operations can produce big results.

Barb Hatch is still amazed at the couple's success at Del Mar.

"We didn't think he'd be the sale topper," Barb Hatch said. "We thought we'd get $70,000 or $80,000 for him. I was just overwhelmed."

The Smokester colt was bought by David Hulkewicz and Ernie Moody's Mercedes Stable. The colt was bred and owned by Vera Holloway, a client of the Hatchs.

The Hatch's ranch keeps approximately 50 horses, including many mares and foals. This year, 18 foals were delivered on the farm.

The Green Acres consignment at Barretts consists of three colts and three fillies, including an In Excess colt and a High Brite colt. Barb Hatch said a few were nominated for the Del Mar sale, but were not selected, and she admitted they weren't of the caliber of their Del Mar topper.

"We've got a few good-looking individuals," she said. "A couple of them should bring $40,000."

The consignment's first yearling (Hip No. 82) is a colt by Fabulous Champ, who is out of the Reb's Policy mare Two Kids, a stakes winner who has produced the stakes winners Taraval and Whiz Kids.

"I think the half-brother to Taraval will get a lot of looks," she said. "Taraval has done very well. Someone has come to the ranch to look at him."

Their final horse through the ring (Hip No. 343) is a High Brite colt and the first foal out of Holiday Sale, an unraced mare. Holiday Sale is out of Affordable Price, the dam of Moore's Flat, a High Brite gelding who was a two-time stakes winner at Fairplex Park and earned $513,713.

"I think the High Brite colt will get some looks because he a three-quarter brother to Moore's Flat," Barb Hatch said. "Confirmation wise, I wish he was a little straighter in one leg. He's a big colt. He was submitted to the Del Mar sale."

The Hatch consignment was one of a limited number of success stories at a disappointing Del Mar sale that saw prices drop 21 percent from 2002. Barb Hatch is hoping in a smaller way that the Green Acres consignment can be successful at Barretts.

"You work a lone time to get to this point," she said. "You never know when you would get there. You keep hoping the dream would come - for the client's horse or your own."