10/08/2010 12:13PM

Wygods dispersing California breeding stock at Barretts sale


A nearly four-decade involvement in California Thoroughbred racing will largely end for Marty and Pam Wygod when they offer their West Coast breeding stock in a dispersal at Barretts in Pomona, Calif., on Tuesday.

The Wygods, who have owned such prominent Thoroughbreds as the 2004 champion 2-year-old filly Sweet Catomine and 2009 Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic winner Life Is Sweet, will continue to race a small number of horses in California and keep a group of broodmares in Kentucky.

Earlier this year, the stallions Benchmark, Bertrando, Dixie Chatter, and Tribal Rule were moved from the Wygod’s River Edge Farm in Buellton, Calif., to Ballena Vista Farm in Ramona, Calif., for the 2011 breeding season.

For the West Coast breeding dispersal, the Wygods, who live in Rancho Santa Fe, Calif., near Del Mar, plan to offer 61 broodmares and 30 weanlings in a session Tuesday afternoon.

At the California Cup yearling sale, which is being held at Barretts on Tuesday evening and Wednesday, the Wygods have a consignment of 31 yearlings, which is described in the sale company’s catalog as a reduction of the family’s West Coast yearlings.

“There are surely some nice weanlings and yearlings,” River Edge manager Russell Drake said Thursday. “There will be something there for everybody. We’ve got a good bunch of weanlings.

“There are some Tribal Rules that are nice weanlings and a few Benchmarks. There are enough good ones that people will be happy to see them.”

Drake said the number of horses residing at River Edge will decline in coming months as the Wygods disperse their holdings and send some mares to Kentucky. Horses kept at the farm on behalf of other people will be transferred to other farms. In addition, Drake said the Wygods will offer some horses at a January mixed sale at Barretts that were not ready for this week’s event.

“The stallions have been at Ballena Vista for a month or so,” he said. “We still have a lot of horses there that belong to clients and we’re waiting to see who they’ll breed their mares to. I think a few will sell in January. There will be less and less at the farm all the time.”

The sale will represent the end of the Wygods’s development of successful California-based Thoroughbred families. The broodmares offered Tuesday include Private Persuasion, who won the Grade 1 Vanity Handicap in 1995; Lacquaria, winner of the 1998 California Cup Juvenile Fillies; and the unraced Exotic Wishes, a 5-year-old mare by A.P. Indy out of Exotic Wood, a three-time Grade 1 winner for the Wygods in the 1990s. Exotic Wishes sells in foal to Bertrando.

“It will be sad in a way,” Drake said of the dispersal. “We started these families and now it’s granddaughters and grandsons. It will be kind of sad because you think the one reason you’re in this business is you care for it and enjoy it.”

Drake, for one, will remain active with the Wygods through their Kentucky horses.

“They’ve got some really nice mares in Kentucky that we’ll be looking after and watching,” he said.

The Wygods have a sizeable consignment to the yearling portion of the sale, which features 241 yearlings overall. A majority of the yearlings consigned are California-breds. Last year, the overall yearling sale saw 178 horses sell for an average of $12,413, compared to 149 horses selling for an average of $16,689 in 2008.