04/21/2005 11:00PM

Afleet Alex makes a hot property of his dam

Afleet Alex, dominant winning the 1 1/8-mile Arkansas Derby, will need to rely on stamina from his female line.

LEXINGTON, Ky. - A runaway victory in the Arkansas Derby reestablished Afleet Alex as a leading contender for the Kentucky Derby. The handsome colt needed a big effort because he had lost his previous start, the Rebel Stakes, also at Oaklawn, in disastrous fashion, apparently because of a lung infection.

Winning by eight lengths and shading 1:49 for the nine furlongs was an impressive effort, but will his pedigree lend him enough support to handle the 10th furlong of the Kentucky Derby?

Seeing how well the colt handled nine furlongs certainly gave the impression that Afleet Alex will negotiate 10 without undue difficulty.

Even so, the question of stamina, rather than natural athletic ability, will be the principal doubt as he approaches the Kentucky Derby.

For, despite the colt's performances, he is the son of a stallion, Northern Afleet, who was initially respected as a sprinter but who proved himself among the best of his age at eight and nine furlongs.

Winner of the Grade 2 San Fernando at nine furlongs, Northern Afleet was third to Langfuhr in the Metropolitan Handicap at a mile. His speed and typey, powerful physique earned Northern Afleet a place at stud in Florida, where he sired Afleet Alex.

The dam of this year's Arkansas Derby winner is the Hawkster mare Maggy Hawk, and much of the impression of stamina in Afleet Alex's pedigree comes from her, her sire, Hawkster, and her maternal grandsire, Hawaii.

Bought back for $10,000 as a weanling at the 1994 Keeneland November mixed sale, Maggy Hawk was bred in Kentucky by Ted Taylor and sold to Walter Nazarenko for $5,000 at the 1996 Ocala Breeders' Sales Company's June auction for horses of racing age. A winner of 1 of her 4 career starts, Maggy Hawk was retired and produced her first foal, an unraced filly by Mister Jolie named Jolie Hawk, in 1999.

The mare's next two foals were both colts by Northern Afleet, who then was standing at Double Diamond Farm in Florida. The first colt is the good stakes winner Unforgettable Max, and after a barren year, Maggy Hawk produced his full brother in Afleet Alex.

A very appealing colt who brought $210,000 at the OBS February sale of select 2-year-olds in 2002, Unforgettable Max was the sort of promising youngster who doubtless made the decision of returning Maggy Hawk to Northern Afleet a simple one.

The result was that the mare produced an even more talented athlete, but the owner realized only $75,000 for the colt, later named Afleet Alex, at the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic sale of juveniles in training at Timonium last May.

With successive stakes winners from her early produce, Maggy Hawk was becoming a hot broodmare property, and breeding farms began bidding to acquire her privately, especially after Afleet Alex began to win.

Afleet Alex set the seal of quality on the family and greatly increased his dam's value as a producer with his fine juvenile campaign, which included a victory in the Grade 1 Hopeful Stakes at Saratoga.

In addition to his second-place finish in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile last year, Afleet Alex has continued to progress and improve with age, and now has career earnings of $1.3 million from 6 victories in 9 starts.

Before the success of Afleet Alex on the racecourse, Maggy Hawk was entered, then withdrawn, from the 2004 Keeneland January mixed sale while in foal to a Florida stallion, Tour d'Or. The result of that mating is the filly John's Diamond.

That change of course proved beneficial to the owner, as Afleet Alex's victories increased the demand for the mare, along with her valuation. In midsummer, Maggy Hawk changed hands privately, and she is now in the broodmare band of Jess Jackson.

Maggy Hawk's foal of 2005 is a filly by the successful Fappiano stallion Quiet American, born Feb. 25 as property of Stonestreet Mares. Jackson has since acquired the former Buckram Oak Farm - now named Stonestreet Farm - as his base of operations for Thoroughbreds in Kentucky.

The second dam of Afleet Alex is the Hawaii mare Qualique, who was a precocious racehorse as well and scored her most important victory at 2 in the 1983 Demoiselle Stakes, then a Grade 1 stakes.

Afleet Alex is one of eight stakes winners for his sire, Northern Afleet. Owned jointly by Taylor Made Farm and WinStar Farm, Northern Afleet stood from 1999 through 2004 at Double Diamond Farm near Ocala, Fla., and now stands at Taylor Made near Nicholasville, Ky., for a fee of $12,500.