08/25/2017 11:26AM

Improved yearling quality expected at Barretts select sale

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DEL MAR, Calif. – The Barretts select yearling sale, set for Tuesday afternoon, is being conducted during the Del Mar summer race meeting for the third time.

The sale was held on a Saturday evening in 2015, and moved to Tuesday last year, giving the event its own position during race week.

The 2016 sale showed modest increases in gross and average prices compared to 2015, but a decline in median price. The sale will never be a marathon event – stall restrictions limit the event to about 80 head – but there is hope among sale executives that the quality of yearlings has improved.

“Last year, we were a step up not only because of the change in the day but the local breeders have supplied us with exciting prospects,” Barretts general manager Kim Lloyd said.

Lloyd said the yearlings in Tuesday’s sale were selected in the spring.

“We’ll see how they developed over the summer,” Lloyd said. “We’ve heard good reports. It’s a big difference, too. Hopefully, they’ve progressed.”

There are 81 yearlings in the catalog and another seven on the also-eligible list who will be drafted into the sale should there be withdrawals from the main group. There are first-crop yearlings by Atreides, Boisterous, Can the Man, Capital Account, Cross Traffic, Daddy Nose Best, Fed Biz, Flashback, Goldencents, Jeranimo, Magician, Mucho Macho Man, and Unusual Heatwave.

The 2016 sale was led by a Smiling Tiger filly purchased for $130,000. Named ZZ Tiger, the filly has yet to start, but has been working steadily at Del Mar.

The 2016 sale had an average price of $37,159, a gain of $136 from 2015. There were 44 horses sold for $1,635,000, three of whom were sold for $100,000 or more. In 2015, no horses sold for six figures or more.

Lloyd expects higher prices Tuesday.

“I think there are horses in all price ranges,” he said.

The sale, which begins at 2 p.m. Pacific, is dominated by California-breds, including offspring from the deceased former leading California stallions Lucky Pulpit and Unusual Heat. Lucky Pulpit, the sire of two-time Horse of the Year California Chrome, and Unusual Heat, a leading stallion in the state six times, both died earlier this year.

There is one colt and two fillies in the sale by Bluegrass Cat, the leading stallion this year by progeny earnings in California. Lucky Pulpit and Unusual Heat are second and third on the list.

There are rare California-breds in the sale by the Kentucky-based stallions Bodemeister and Uncle Mo. A Bodemeister filly is selling as Hip No. 78, and an Uncle Mo colt as Hip No. 54. The Bodemeister filly is out of North Freeway, the winner of the 2012 Winter Melody Stakes at Delaware Park who earned $273,610.