10/28/2005 12:00AM

Mixed sale sees gains despite many buybacks

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Adam Coglianese/NYRA
Moscow Burning will make her first start since April in the Cal Cup Distance Handicap.

The two-day Barretts October mixed sale, held earlier this week in Pomona, Calif., had slight gains in gross, average, and median prices over the corresponding sale in 2004.

Comprising broodmares and weanlings, the sale saw 440 horses sell for $2,529,400, a gain in gross price of 11 percent over the 419 horses sold last year. This year's sale averaged $5,749, a gain of 6 percent, and the median of $3,000 marked a gain of 20 percent.

The sale topper was Ali's Dancer, a 12-year-old broodmare, purchased for $82,000 by Rancho San Miguel from the consignment of Andy Havens Bloodstock, agent for Pegasus Ranch.

By Marshua's Dancer, Ali's Dancer is the dam of the stakes winner Sweet Stepper and the stakes-placed Windy Stripes. Ali's Dancer was bred to Congaree earlier this year.

"It was an interesting sale," said Barretts general manager Gerald McMahon. "I thought it was fairly well attended, and there was good demand for horses that had some promise."

There were 12 horses that sold for $30,000 or more - nine broodmares and three weanlings. The top-priced weanling was a Peaks and Valleys colt out of Ali's Dancer that sold for $40,000 to Tom Grether Farms.

The top weanling and Ali's Dancer were sold consecutively Tuesday, the second day of the sale.

McMahon said the sale was plagued by 163 buybacks, including "about 75" horses that failed to attract bids of $1,000, the Barretts minimum. McMahon said that the cost of keeping horses in training was one reason some of those horses were not sold.

The leading buyer was Anucha Kiatkhajonklai of Malaysia, who bought 21 horses for $131,200. McMahon said those horses will be sent to Malaysia.

The October mixed sale was the final sale at Barretts for 2005.

Moscow Burning will return in Cal Cup

The California Cup program next Sunday at Santa Anita will include at least one California-bred horse of the year. Moscow Burning, the 2004 horse of the year, will make her first start in more than six months on that program in the $100,000 California Cup Distance Handicap for fillies and mares over 1 1/4 miles on turf.

Trained by Jim Cassidy, Moscow Burning finished fifth in the Grade 2 Santa Barbara Handicap at Santa Anita on April 17 in her most recent start. She was sidelined with a cracked vertebra during the spring and returned to training in late summer.

"We knew there was something going on, but we couldn't quite find it," Cassidy said of the back injury. "I finally figured it out on a nuclear scan. Her works have been good for her comeback."

The California Cup program comprises 10 stakes worth $1,325,000. Eight of the races have purses worth $100,000 or more, led by the $250,000 California Cup Classic over 1 1/8 miles on dirt.

Moscow Burning, 5, won the 2003 California Cup Distance Handicap, a few months after being claimed for $25,000. She did not run in the race during her championship season in 2004, which included 2 wins in 11 starts and earnings of $627,970.

The most important win of that campaign was the Grade 2 Sheepshead Bay Handicap at Belmont Park, her most recent victory. She has lost her last eight starts, but has finished second or third in four of those races.

Last fall, Moscow Burning was third in the Grade 1 Flower Bowl Invitational at Belmont Park and fourth in the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf at Lone Star Park and the Hollywood Turf Cup. The Hollywood Turf Cup was against males, and she lost by three-quarters of a length.