03/06/2009 12:00AM

Realistic expectations at Barretts


The 2-year-olds in training market shifts to Barretts for a one-day sale of selected horses in Pomona, Calif., on Tuesday amidst a market that has shown an expected downturn in a poor economy.

Barretts officials are bracing for declines in some categories. The catalog comprises 122 horses, but 30 have been withdrawn. As of Thursday, 92 horses were scheduled to go through the ring. Last year, 132 horses went through the ring, with 73 sold for an average of $178,027.

Maintaining the 2008 average will be difficult, according to Barretts vice president Bill Baker.

"We have hopes, but it's hard to put a number on it," Baker said. "The economy has put a damper on all horse sales.

"We're happy with the horses. We're happy with the [training] preview. We're not happy with the economy."

Santa Anita's parent company, Magna Entertainment Corp., entered Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Thursday.

Barretts is hosting the third major 2-year-olds in training sale of the year. The Fasig-Tipton select 2-year-old sale at Calder last Tuesday had a decline in gross of 25 percent from 2008 and a decline in average of 32 percent. At the Ocala Breeders' Sales Company select sale last month, gross prices fell 29 percent, while the average was down 34 percent.

"People were trying to buy the bargains," Baker said of the Florida market.

With a decline in the bloodstock market in recent months, Barretts officials chose a smaller catalog for the March sale, the company's premier event. Baker said the catalog size was further reduced when some horsemen opted not to send prospects to Barretts because of the expense involved.

"People were reluctant to ship from Florida," Baker said. "It's a high-risk and high-reward venture."

Barretts held its only training preview session Thursday, with 92 horses working one or two furlongs.

Of the 84 horses that worked a furlong, only one, a Distant View filly, cracked 10 seconds, finishing in 9.80 seconds.

Consigned by B.C.3 Thoroughbreds, the filly was purchased by B.C.3 Thoroughbred principal John Brocklebank, as agent, for $55,000 at the 2008 Keeneland September yearling sale.

The filly is the first foal out of Upgraded, a 7-year-old High Yield mare who was placed at 2 and did not win. The second dam, Digitalize, was group stakes-placed twice in England.

B.C.3 Thoroughbreds has one of the larger consignments in the sale, with 17 horses for various clients.

Four horses were timed in 10 seconds - fillies by Officer and Sky Mesa and colts by Songandaprayer and Tribal Rule. All were offered as yearlings. The Songandaprayer colt went through the ring at the Keeneland September yearling sale but was listed as not sold for $70,000. The Sky Mesa filly was listed as having been bought back at the same sale for $17,000.

Only eight horses worked a quarter-mile, with a filly by Cactus Ridge setting the fastest time of 20.80 seconds. She was the only horse to better 21 seconds. The filly is consigned by John O'Hara, agent. She was withdrawn from the 2008 Fasig-Tipton October yearling sale.

The filly is the first foal out of Lodden Blue, a 6-year-old mare by Coronado's Quest who did not race.

One horse that drew favorable reviews, but did not have a fast time, is a Tiznow colt, Hip No. 121, who breezed a furlong on 10.60 seconds. Consigned by Ciaran Dunne's Wavertree Stable, the colt was purchased for $200,000 at Keeneland last September by Edmonton Inc.

Wavertree has a consignment of 13 horses in Tuesday's sale, which begins at 2 p.m. Pacific.