04/01/2010 11:00PM

Los Angeles fair looks to raze some barns

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The landscape of the grounds at Barretts Sales at Fairplex Park in Pomona, Calif., may literally change in the next year.

The Los Angeles County Fair, which owns Barretts, has submitted a conditional-use permit application to the city of Pomona, with the intention of demolishing three of the nine sale barns for alternative uses, according to the fair's chief executive, Jim Henwood. He said the application requests the right to change the use of all nine barns, but that the county fair intends to keep six barns to house horses for sales.

Henwood said on Thursday that the earliest the transformation could take place would be early next year.

The barns that may be eliminated are along White Avenue, a four-lane, heavily traveled road adjacent to the property. Henwood said Los Angeles County Fair officials have been talking with an auto-supply company about taking over the space.

Henwood emphasized that the Los Angeles County Fair is committed to maintaining Barretts as a sales venue.

"The truth is we'd like to stay in horse sales and the horse business as long as possible," he said.

He said the request for permit change for all nine barns was made "just in case the market doesn't want us around."

The Fairplex Park racetrack, which is adjacent to Barretts and runs the Los Angeles County Fair race meeting each September, is no longer used for year-round training. Funding allowing year-round training ended last year. The Fairplex Park track will open for training in the weeks ahead of the September meeting.

"We have two or three barns that are in surplus," Henwood said. "We don't see any way now that we're out of training that those barns would be a value to horse racing. We're hedging our bets so to speak on where the industry goes in the future."

Even with six barns, there would still be ample space for horses during sales or for horses in the Fairplex Park barn area during the county fair meeting, Henwood emphasized.

"We have to seek ways that are best to go about our business," he said.

Henwood said Fairplex Park has no plans to change from its current plans of conducting four sales a year - a mixed sale in January, 2-year-old in-training sales in March and May, and a yearling sale in October.

"That's our model," Henwood said.

New purchase going to Baffert

A California-bred Pure Prize colt bought for $100,000 at the Barretts March sale of 2-year-olds in training, will be trained by Bob Baffert, according to Bob Ike of Summit Racing. The colt could be ready to start at the upcoming Hollywood Park spring-summer meeting that begins on April 21, Ike said.

The Summit Racing partnership bought the colt, and has since added a partner in George Jacobs, according to Ike, a public handicapper.

The Pure Prize colt, tentatively named Prize Fight, was the most expensive California-bred colt at the March 22 sale. A California-bred Lemon Drop Kid filly was bought for $125,000 by Narvick International.

Ike said the Pure Prize colt impressed scouts in pre-sale training.

"I thought he had a good way of going," he said. "He kind of acts like a horse that won't take too long to get to the races."