12/05/2008 12:00AM

Adena Springs after 4th straight Sovereign Award


Strength in numbers is the theme of the finalists for the 2008 Sovereign Awards for outstanding breeder and broodmare in Canada. The winners will be announced Friday at a ceremony in downtown Toronto.

Adena Springs, owned by Frank Stronach, seems poised to garner its fourth consecutive top breeder award and eighth overall since the awards were initiated in 1975.

The farm, which has branches in Florida, Kentucky, and Aurora, Ontario, is up against the legendary Gardiner Farms - which is for sale following this summer's passing of its owner Helen Gardiner - and Eugene Melnyk.

Horses bred by Adena Springs are favored to win two Sovereigns this year: Fatal Bullet (foaled in Florida) is the likely champion sprinter and possibly the Horse of the Year, and Ginger Brew (foaled in Ontario) should be named champion 3-year-old filly.

And with dozens of other top stakes winners that raced in Canada or the United States, including Harlem Rocker, winner of the Prince of Wales Stakes, and graded stakes winners Sugar Swirl, The Niagara Queen, Buffalo Man, and Just Rushing, the numbers are on its side.

According to statistics provided by the Jockey Club of Canada (for Canadian-bred foals only), Adena bred 84 winners from 147 starters, who earned $6.3 million through Nov. 4.

Gardiner Farms also has big numbers - the earners of $2.4 million, with 33 winners from 63 starters.

The stars of 2008 foaled at Gardiner included Legal Move, a son of Gardiner's top stallion Bold Executive and a two-time sprinting stakes winner on the season, and 2-year-old Mean Green, by Trajectory, who won two stakes.

Melnyk's Canadian-bred stakes winners number just four - Marchfield, Sterwins, Arden Belle, and Vaulcluse - but the close second-place finish by last year's Horse of the Year Sealy Hill in the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf on Oct. 24 at Santa Anita certainly earned marks with voters.

Melnyk bred 45 Canadian-bred winners, who earned $3,065,920.

For top broodmare, a lifetime achievement award in which a mare had to have a stakes-winning or stakes-placed horse in 2008 and also in a previous year, Kathie's Colleen, owned by Gus Schickedanz, is the favorite to beat out former Kinghaven Farms mare Forty Gran and Elizabeth and Gordon Lickrish's May Time.

Kathie's Colleen, now 16, produced Canadian Triple Crown winner Wando, the Horse of the Year in 2003. Incredibly, Kathie's Colleen has not been eligible to be named the outstanding broodmare of the year in Canada before this season.

The same year her champion son Wando, by Langfuhr, swept through the Canadian Triple Crown, the mare's 2-year-old filly Six Sexy Sisters won the Ontario Lassie Stakes.

Kathie's Colleen did not have another stakes horse until 5-year-old Half Sister, by More Than Ready, placed third this year in the restricted Belle Geste Stakes at Woodbine.

Kathie's Colleen has yearling and weanling fillies by Langfuhr.

Forty Gran produced the top 2-year-old colt Square Eddie, winner of the Grade 1 Breeders' Futurity and runner-up in the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Juvenile at Santa Anita on Oct. 25.

The colt was bred by Kinghaven Farms, which recently sold Forty Gran at the Keeneland November sale for $500,000 to My Meadowview Farm.

May Time is the dam of this year's 2-year-old stakes winner Bucephalus, plus previous stakes winners Nyuk Nyuk Nyuk and Deputy Cures Blues.

Two new Ontario stallions

Sky Conqueror, Canada's champion grass male in 2006 and a Grade 1 winner, will enter stud in 2009 at Firestone Farms, in Caledon, Ontario.

His fee is $5,000 Canadian.

Six-year-old Sky Conqueror won or placed in 13 of 20 races and earned $1,720,699 as a homebred for William Sorokolit Sr.

The Ontario-bred Sky Conqueror captured the Woodford Reserve Turf Classic Stakes at Churchill and three stakes in Canada, including the 2006 and 2007 Northern Dancer Breeders' Cup Turf.

Marcavelly, a two-time graded stakes winner last year as a 3-year-old, will enter stud at John Burness's Colebrook Farms Stallion Station near Uxbridge, Ontario for a fee of $5,000 Canadian.

Marcavelly is by Johannesburg and won the Transylvania and Hill Prince Stakes on the grass for Zayat Stables.