01/19/2007 1:00AM

Selvatica looks a possible Barretts topper


Dispersals from large and small breeders in California are expected to increase interest in the Barretts January mixed sale in Pomona on Monday and Tuesday.

Few horses in the sale of more than 600 horses will generate as much interest as Selvatica, a 6-year-old mare who won three stakes in Southern California last fall.

A winner of 6 of 10 starts and $219,720, Selvatica is part of the 21-horse dispersal of Granja Vista Del Rio Stable. The dispersal includes Selvatica's dam, Pareja, and her unraced 3-year-old half-brother by Johannesburg, Lenador.

The Granja Vista Del Rio Stable dispersal also features a 2-year-old half-brother by In Excess to Hombre Rapido, a winner of $431,880.

There are also dispersals from Edward Nahem and the commercial division of Pepper Oaks Farm.

The Nahem dispersal comprises 17 horses of all ages, including six yearlings and 2-year-olds by Bertrando, whom Nahem raced in partnership.

Patricia Youngman's Pepper Oaks Farm has downsized its racing operation in recent months to concentrate on a racing promotion project backed by Youngman. The farm will continue to stand Swiss Yodeler, the leading stallion in California.

At this week's sale, Pepper Oaks Farm is offering 28 horses of all ages, including eight yearlings by Swiss Yodeler.

There are also smaller dispersals from the partnership of Jack Grossman and Palisair Place and from Bonnie Bobbitt.

The sale will begin each day at 11 a.m. at the Hinds Pavilion on the Los Angeles County fairgrounds.

Last year, the sale averaged $7,894 for 441 horses who sold for a gross of $3,481,300. The average grew 21 percent over 2005, led in part by a 123 percent increase in average price for horses of racing age to $15,709.

There were no prominent dispersals in the 2006 sale. In the past six years, the sale has featured dispersals from Ernest Cossey, Ron Gomez, Lakeview Thoroughbred Farm, and a partial dispersal of holdings from The Thoroughbred Corp.

The sale-topper last year was the horse of racing age Texcess, who sold for $300,000 and later won the California Cup Classic at the Oak Tree at Santa Anita meeting. A California-bred, Texcess is a probable starter in the $1 million Sunshine Millions Classic at Gulfstream Park on Saturday.

The all-time sale-topper for a Barretts January sale was Taste of Paradise, who sold for $425,000 as a horse of racing age in 2004.

Selvatica is a strong candidate to top this year's sale. Trained in her career by John Sadler and Jeff Mullins, the Forestry mare has specialized in races from six to seven furlongs.

Selvatica won three overnight races for Mullins in 2004 and 2005, but missed nearly a year of racing from the fall of 2005 to last fall. She has made her last four starts for Mullins, including wins in the Bangles and Beads Stakes at Fairplex Park in September, the restricted Pine Tree Lane Stakes at Oak Tree in October, and the restricted Manta Stakes on the Hollywood Park turf course in November.

In her most recent start, Selvatica finished 11th in the Grade 3 Monrovia Handicap on the hillside turf course at Santa Anita on Jan. 1. She has remained in training since that race, working five furlongs in 59.60 seconds at Hollywood Park on Thursday.

Mullins envisions Selvatica selling as a broodmare or racing prospect.

"She's got enough age on her that I'd be more inclined to see somebody buy her for a broodmare," he said. "If a guy is going to breed her, if I was in the breeding business, she'd be the kind I'd like to breed. She's a big, stout mare."