02/27/2004 12:00AM

Somewhere is a hidden gem


ARCADIA, Calif. - There may be a future state champion lurking among the 24 California-breds that will sell at Tuesday's Barretts March Sale of selected 2-year-olds in-training in Pomona.

In two of the last three years, the California-breds offered in the sale have included a 2-year-old who went on to win a championship - Officer in 2001 and House of Fortune last year.

Officer was bought for $700,000 by The Thoroughbred Corporation at the 2001 Barretts March Sale and went on to win the Del Mar Futurity and Champagne Stakes that year. He now stands at stud in Kentucky.

House of Fortune won the California Cup Juvenile Fillies last November and was third in the Grade 1 Hollywood Starlet Stakes. She is being pointed for the California Oaks at Golden Gate Fields on March 6. House of Fortune was purchased for $125,000 by trainer Ron McAnally at the 2003 sale, and races for Arnold Zetcher.

House of Fortune was one of the few bright moments for California-breds at the 2003 sale. Of the 40 statebreds that went through the ring, 20 were listed as sold. Only two were sold for more than $100,000, and neither reached the overall sale average of $142,186.

The California-breds in this year's sale include a wide variety of 2-year-olds.

There are two by In Excess, the state's top stallion; a filly by Free House, the state's leading freshman sire of 2003; and a colt by Swiss Yodeler, the leading freshman sire of 2002.

Other prominent California-based stallions represented are Beau Genius, Bertrando, Event of the Year, and General Meeting. In addition, there are California-breds by national stallions such as Lemon Drop Kid, Menifee, Stephen Got Even, Swain, Theatrical, and Yankee Victor.

The foals are registered as California-breds because their dams of those foals were bred back to California-based stallions.

A colt by Stephen Got Even sold for $3.1 million at Tuesday's Fasig-Tipton selected 2-year-olds-in-training sale at Calder in Miami.

During preview workouts at Fairplex Park in Pomona on Tuesday, the fastest California-bred was Swissle Stick, a Swiss Yodeler colt who sells as Hip No. 217. He worked a furlong in 10.2 seconds, which tied for the fourth-fastest workout at the distance.

Swissle Stick is out of Miss Soft Sell, and is a half-brother to Don'tsellmeshort, who has won three stakes for California-breds in the last year. Don'tsellmeshort was entered for Saturday's $100,000 Baldwin Stakes at Santa Anita.

Swissle Stick is consigned by Wavertree Stable, agent. He was purchased for $70,000 at the 2002 Keeneland November Breeding Stock Sale by Terry Oliver, agent.

Of the 24 California-breds offered, 10 have been sold at public auction for an average price of $45,800.

The most expensive is a Lemon Drop Kid filly named Steadily, who was purchased for $100,000 by Tom Bunn at the Del Mar Yearling Sale. She worked in 10.6 seconds.

Steadily is out of Rattle My Nerves, a Bertrando filly who was a stakes winner.

Five of the 24 state-breds were offered at previous sales and bought back, including a Gilded Time filly offered at Del Mar summer. She was bought back for $95,000.

There are five California-breds in the dispersal of horses of racing age of The Thoroughbred Corp. - three juveniles by Event of the Year - two fillies and a colt; Desert Visit, a 3-year-old filly who is unraced; and Manzanillo, an unraced 4-year-old filly.

The 2-year-olds did not have workouts at the preview last Tuesday, but have been in training with Kristin Mulhall at Hollywood Park. Mulhall is agent for The Thoroughbred Corp. horses.