01/13/2017 11:10AM

Juveniles again in spotlight at Barretts one-day sale


Barretts Sales will hold its first auction of 2017 on Tuesday with a one-day mixed sale of yearlings, 2-year-olds, broodmares, and racing prospects at the Los Angeles County Fairgrounds in Pomona, Calif.

In recent years, 2-year-olds have led the sale, and that could easily be the case this year, with more than 60 juveniles in the catalog of 194 horses.

The sale is a regional event, with a focus on California-bred yearlings and 2-year-olds by such notable state-based stallions as Lucky Pulpit, the leading stallion in California the last three years, as well as Acclamation, Ministers Wild Cat, and the promising Smiling Tiger.

“It holds an important purpose to give the regional breeders a chance to get some money back in and pay their expenses,” Barretts general manager Kim Lloyd said. “It’s a service sale and gives everybody an opportunity to renew their program and reinvest.”

The sale average has been relatively steady the last two years – $8,487 in 2015 and $8,308 last year. The median price was unchanged at $5,000 from year to year. The number sold dropped from 248 in 2015 to 143 last year with a smaller catalog. The buyback rate in 2015 was 23.6 percent and 17.6 percent last year.

Stallions Jeranimo, Merit Man, and Stromberg will have their first yearlings in Tuesday’s sale. This is the first California sale for 2-year-olds by Champ Pegasus, Hoorayforhollywood, Richard’s Kid, and Ultimate Eagle.

There is one notable omission from the catalog. The stallion Sway Away, whose oldest foals are 3-year-olds, was bought privately in December by Jim Hernandez and will stand the 2017 season at his farm in Chamberino, N.M.

Hernandez said Thursday that he was attracted to Sway Away as a stallion prospect while watching his 2-year-olds last year. Sway Away will stand for $1,500 this year.

Phil Lebherz, who co-owned Sway Away, said he and his partners sold the 9-year-old because they are intent on supporting the young stallion Smiling Tiger, whose oldest foals are 2-year-olds.

“We couldn’t focus on two stallions at one time,” Lebherz said.

Smiling Tiger, an eight-time stakes winner who earned $1,480,704, has one yearling in Tuesday’s sale – Hip No. 33, a California-bred filly out of the unraced Medaglia d’Oro mare Checkpluschick. In October, a yearling colt by Smiling Tiger sold for $190,000, the highest price at the Barretts fall sale of yearlings and horses of racing age.

The most prominent horse of racing age in Tuesday’s sale is Cautious Giant, who is part of the supplemental catalog as Hip No. 203. Cautious Giant, a 6-year-old gelding by Giant’s Causeway, has won 4 of 23 starts and earned $285,590.

Cautious Giant was third in the Grade 2 Kona Gold Stakes at 6 1/2 furlongs at Santa Anita last May but has been out of the top three in his last three starts. Cautious Giant was sixth in the Damascus Stakes at Santa Anita on the undercard of the Breeders’ Cup Distaff on Nov. 4.

Trained by Kristin Mulhall, Cautious Giant had four recorded workouts in December.

Barretts is holding six sales at two venues this year. Aside from Tuesday’s sale, the fall sale of yearlings and horses of racing age will be on the Los Angeles County Fairgrounds on Oct. 17.

Four sales will be at Del Mar – the select sale of 2-year-olds in training March 29, the May sale of 2-year-olds in training May 17, the Paddock Sale of horses of racing age July 29, and the August select yearling sale Aug. 29.