04/05/2002 1:00AM

2001: The year of Say Florida Sandy


Say Florida Sandy has his share of New York-bred championships, but had never won the state's Horse of the Year. But his 2001 campaign as a 7-year-old was too good for voters to overlook, so Say Florida Sandy earned his much-deserved Horse of the Year title when the winners for New York-bred championships were announced March 26 in Albany, N.Y.

Say Florida Sandy, bred by Sanford Bacon and owned by John Rotella, also added another sprinter and top older male title to his cache of past statebred awards.

Say Florida Sandy, a son of one of New York's leading sires, Personal Flag, became the all-time leading New York-bred in earnings when he finished second in last year's Hudson Handicap. While the Hudson was a milestone in the horse's career, it was Say Florida Sandy's wins in the Grade 2 True North, Grade 3 Bold Ruler, Grade 3 Philadelphia Park Breeders' Cup, Paterson Handicap, and Hollie Hughes that cinched him the Horse of the Year title.

Say Florida Sandy, whose dam Lolli Lucka Lolli died in 2001, ended the season with a record of 6-5-1 in 16 starts and earnings of $615,420. Overall, Say Florida Sandy has earned $1,772,545 and has a record of 28-15-9 from 80 starts.

Say Florida Sandy earned 50 points in the Horse of the Year voting, 10 more than Gander, the winner in 2000, who was second in the 2001 balloting.

Say Florida Sandy, trained by Juan Serey, is now being prepared for his 8-year-old debut, which is expected to come in Saturday's $350,000 Carter Handicap at Aqueduct. Last year, Say Florida Sandy finished second in the Grade 1 Carter.

* Lolli Lucka Lolli, owned by Bacon, was recognized with her third broodmare of the year award. The broodmare died last summer at 17 from colic while she was carrying a Personal Flag foal.

* Gander, bred by Angela Rugnetta, shared the older male championship with Say Florida Sandy. Owned by brothers Mike and Ted Gatsas, Gander won $557,060 last year while competing against the best in the older handicap division. Gander, a gelded son of the pensioned New York sire Cormorant and Lovely Nurse, won the Grade 2 Meadowlands Cup and picked up checks in several Grade 1 races.

* Critical Eye, the 3-year-old champion filly in 2000, followed with another title: top older female. Owned and bred by Herbert Schwartz and trained by his son Scott, Critical Eye earned $339,736 and won the Grade 1 Hempstead and Grade 2 Sheepshead Bay. Critical Eye, who finished third in the Horse of the Year voting with 19 points, is by the Kentucky sire Dynaformer, out of Schwartz's broodmare Critical Crew.

* Personal Pro, bred and owned by James Edwards, was voted top 3-year-old male for his win in the Albany Handicap, the third leg of the Big Apple Triple. Personal Pro, a son of Distinctive Pro, out of the Personal Flag mare Pretty Personal, also was second in the New York Derby.

* Ransom's Pride, bred and owned by Chester and Mary Broman, distinguished herself as top 3-year-old filly and turf female. The Red Ransom filly won the Yaddo and Ticonderoga over older fillies and mares.

* White Ibis, bred by Bill Garbarini and Michael T. Martin, earned the 2-year-old championship with three restricted stakes wins. The Distinctive Pro gelding, out of the Scarlet Ibis mare, Wild Wings, raced for Garbarini's Quarter Keg Stable.

* Shesastonecoldfox won 4 of 5 starts for her breeders, Dennis and Deborah Petrisak, and clinched the 2-year-old filly title. A daughter of the Danzig sire Foxhound, and Morgans Raider, Shesatonecoldfox won three stakes, including the New York Breeders Futurity over males. Sheastonecoldfox's trainer, Anthony Ferraro, was recognized as New York-bred trainer of the year.

* I'm All Yours, owned by Stuart and Anita Subotnick's Anstu Stables, was named champion turf male on the strength of his four wins from six starts, including the Mohawk. I'm All Yours, a son of Belong to Me, was bred by the president of the New York Thoroughbred Breeders, Jerry Nielsen, who along with his wife, Joanne, were recognized as New York's top breeders of 2001.

* Thor Thors, bred by Amherst Stable and owned by Green Stripes Stable, was voted champion steeplechase horse. Thor Thors, a former flat runner by Eskimo, out of Silver Judy, won three races from four starts, including two stakes.