07/21/2014 12:56PM

Heir Kitty brings $750K at Barretts Del Mar Paddock Sale

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Benoit & Associates
Heir Kitty, shown winning the Grade 1 LaBrea Stakes last December, was purchased by Japanese interests on Sunday as a broodmare prospect.

Heir Kitty, the winner of the Grade 1 La Brea Stakes at Santa Anita last December, is bound for Japan after selling for $750,000 at Sunday evening’s Paddock Sale at Del Mar.

The 4-year-old Heir Kitty was a record sale-topper in the third year of the Paddock Sale, an event designed to offer horses ready to participate in Del Mar’s popular summer meeting.

Heir Kitty was purchased by Emmanuel de Seroux’s Narvick International bloodstock agency. De Seroux said he was acting on behalf of a Japanese client, whom he declined to name. He said it was unclear whether Heir Kitty would continue her racing career in Japan in coming months, but that she was purchased as a long-term broodmare prospect.

“I don’t know what the plans are,” he said.

De Seroux considered the price to be a relative bargain, saying that a Grade 1 winner such as Heir Kitty would cost more if she had been offered at a breeding stock sale in Kentucky in November. Heir Kitty was consigned by Steven Venosa, agent for prior owners David Bernsen and Paul Makin.

By Wildcat Heir, Heir Kitty has won 4 of 18 starts and $421,272. The La Brea Stakes is her only stakes win in a career that includes a second against males in the Grade 2 Best Pal Stakes at Del Mar in August 2012. Heir Kitty was fifth in the Grade 2 Great Lady M Stakes at Los Alamitos on July 12 in her most recent start.

Barretts reported 19 horses sold Sunday for a gross of $2,147,000 and an average of $113,000. The gross rose 71 percent compared with last year’s Paddock Sale, when 17 horses sold for $1,257,000. Sunday’s average price was 53 percent higher than the $73,941 average from 2013. This year’s median was $42,000, a drop of 16 percent compared with last year’s median of $50,000.

Of the 39 horses cataloged this year, 10 were withdrawn and 10 were listed as not sold. One notable withdrawal was Handsome Mike, a 5-year-old horse who won the Grade 2 Pennsylvania Derby in 2012. In a moment of confusion, he was brought into the ring, but quickly taken out. Trainer Doug O’Neill said Handsome Mike was withdrawn from the sale in late afternoon, but that the horse was erroneously brought to the sales ring by stable staff.

Fillies were particularly popular, holding the first five spots of the list of most expensive hips. Sushi Empire, the winner of the Blue Norther Stakes at Santa Anita in January, sold for $275,000, the second-highest price of the auction, as a racing prospect to Ron McCauley. Sushi Empire finished fifth in the Grade 2 San Clemente Handicap for 3-year-old fillies on turf at Del Mar on Saturday for Chip McEwen’s Wounded Warrior Stables.

The sale was a joint production between Barretts Sales and Racing and Del Mar. Kim Lloyd, the general manager of Barretts, said an additional Paddock Sale of horses of racing age is scheduled for early November, during Del Mar’s autumn meeting.

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