05/12/2005 11:00PM

Race on Sunday, sale on Tuesday for two fillies


The advantage, or potential risk, of selling an active racehorse in Tuesday's Barretts May sale of 2-year-olds in training will be on display when Acceleration and Swiss Lady start in Sunday's $75,000 Nursery Stakes at Hollywood Park.

Swiss Lady won a two-furlong race at Santa Anita on April 14 and is Hip No. 337 in Tuesday's marathon sale in Pomona. Acceleration won a $40,000 claiming race for maidens at 4 1/2 furlongs at Hollywood Park on April 28.

A win or placing in the Nursery would enhance the value of either filly. A bad loss could lead to diminished interest.

Despite the risk, Kristin Mulhall, the consignor of Swiss Lady, feels there is an advantage to selling a juvenile prospect in May who has already started, as opposed to the more conventional method of displaying an unraced prospect in a pre-sale workout.

For Tuesday's sale, prerace workouts were scheduled for Friday and Sunday mornings over the five-eighths-mile track at Fairplex Park.

"If they can win, I think it improves what they can make" at the sale, Mulhall said. "When you preview them, it's hard to see what a horse can do on that small track."

Swiss Lady races for Juan Aguilar and trainer Peter Miller. The Swiss Yodeler filly started twice at Santa Anita, finishing second in a two-furlong race on March 30 and returning to win by three-quarters of a length.

Mulhall projects that buyers will judge Swiss Lady off her performance in the Nursery Stakes at five furlongs.

"The two-furlong races really don't count, but a winner is a winner," Mulhall said. "But at Hollywood, you can see what they're all about and how they handle it."

Acceleration, a Vision and Verse filly, made her second start on April 28. She is owned by Jocelyn McKathan and is consigned by McKathan Farms.

As of Thursday, Acceleration and Swiss Lady were among 272 horses remaining in the sale after the withdrawal of 84 prospects.

Last year, the May sale set records for average and median. The average reached $37,371, a gain of 22.5 percent over 2003, while the median was $27,000. There were 189 horses sold in 2004, compared with 236 in 2003.

The sale-topper last year was a Belong to Me filly who sold for $350,000, one of 11 horses that sold for $100,000 or more.

Many horsemen will key their buying strategies off weekend workouts. Barretts president Gerald McMahon expects the sale to be near 2004 levels.

"This is our best May catalog ever," he said. "Last May was a real solid sale, and I hope that this one follows suit.

"It's a bread-and-butter market with some nice horses at the top. This is where northern and Southern California owners can really compete. We get some international buyers in March that make that difficult."

In past years, the May sale has offered such notable runners as Texcess, the champion 2-year-old statebred male of 2004; Yearly Report, the champion 3-year-old statebred filly of 2004; and Shadow of Illinois, who won the Grade 3 San Simeon Handicap at Santa Anita last month.

The sale has never been considered a boutique juvenile sale, partially because it is held in the spring and not late winter.

McMahon said he was discouraged by the disappointing results of the more esteemed Keeneland 2-year-olds in training sale last month, but thinks that Tuesday's sale may not be similarly affected.

"Anything like that is cause for concern, but that high-rent portion is dependent on a few individual [buyers]," he said. "Our May sale is $30,000 to $35,000 in average, and appeals to a broader reach of buyers."