DEL MAR, Calif. (May 28, 2015) -- Worries about moving the Barretts sales from Fairplex Park to Del Mar turned out to unfounded, as the 2-year-old sale May 28 increased 38.5% in gross and 5.4% in average over 2014's edition in Pomona, Calif. A son of J P's Gusto topped the sale at $230,000.
"I loved the attention and the energy in the crowd," said Kim Lloyd, general manager of Barretts.
The sale was conducted at the Surfside Race Place, Del Mar's simulcast site. The sale pavilion was full, with many potential buyers and trainers making the trip 100 miles south from Santa Anita Park.
A total of 92 2-year-olds grossed $4,199,000 and averaged $45,641, compared to 70 horses selling in 2014 for a gross of $3,031,500 and an average of $43,307. The buy-back rate was 24.6%, with 30 not sold of 122 2-year-olds put through the ring. In addition, this year's sale included two older horses of racing age, who together sold for $17,000, bringing the gross to $4,216,000.
Ciaran Dunne's Wavertree Stables consigned the sale-topper, named Chicken Hawk. The colt is out of the Lord Carson mare Iny Belle and a half brother to stakes-placed Smoky Belle. Agent Dennis O'Neill bought Chicken Hawk on behalf of Glenn Sorgenstein and Josh Kaplan's WC Racing, which raced two-time Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile (gr. I) winner Goldencents .
"He looks like Goldencents to a 'T,'" said O'Neill, whose brother, Doug O'Neill, will train the youngster.
When Fairplex closed its track earlier this year, Barretts made the decision to hold its future sales at Del Mar. Many Florida consignors have often sold at the company's 2-year-old sales in the past and this first Del Mar sale didn't attract as many Floridians
"Some of the Florida consignors took a wait-and-see attitude," Lloyd said.
Wavertree, which is based in Florida and has led consignors at many Barretts sales, led again, selling six for $797,000.
"I wasn't really excited about coming here and I was a little nervous that the people would come," Dunne said. "Barretts was convinced that it was the thing to do and that it would work. And I've got to admit, I was totally wrong."
The O'Neill barn was also involved with the purchase of the second-highest priced horse, for $225,000. Dunne consigned that colt, a son of Kitten's Joy —Surpriseinthebox, by Outofthebox. Daniel Kramer of La Jolla, Calif., bought the colt. Kramer has had several horses in training with Doug O'Neill.
Adrian Gonzalez's Checkmate Thoroughbreds handled the partial dispersal of Golden Eagle Farm, the major breeding and racing farm operated by the late John and Betty Mabee. Eight horses grossed $344,000 in the dispersal.
The Mabees' grandson, John R. Mabee, purchased the top-priced filly of the sale in the name of Golden Eagle Farm Investment LP for $150,000. Checkmate consigned the daughter of Pulpit—Saskawea, by Stormy Atlantic, on behalf of Hartley/De Renzo Thoroughbreds.
"We saw the filly at the barn all week," said John Stuart of Bluegrass Thoroughbred Services, who advised Mabee on the sale. "We thought she was the best filly in the sale."
Two other horses sold for $150,000 each. T.B. Bloodstock Service bought a son of Einstein—Fortune Candy, by Milwaukee Brew, from Becky Thomas' Sequel Bloodstock. Gary Broad purchased a son of Rock Hard Ten—Ladyote, by Capote, from McCarthy Bloodstock.
In addition to the sale being conducted at a new site, Del Mar has a new dirt track, which replaced the Polytrack main track. The 2-year-olds previewed over the new surface to positive reviews.
"The track was fantastic," Lloyd said. "We had a very good track at Pomona and the results out of our preview at Del Mar were better than ever."