05/09/2008 12:00AM

Alke, Roar of the Tiger off to fast starts


Alke became the first of 21 Florida stallions whose initial crops will be racing this year to produce a winner when Tipsy Saint captured a maiden race at Delaware Park on April 16.

Alke, part of Vinery's stallion roster, was followed by the Hartley/DeRenzo stallion Roar of the Tiger. His daughter Roarin Tigress zipped a quarter-mile in maiden special company to win her debut at Puerto Rico's Camarero Racetrack on April 26.

There are 42 registered 2 year-olds in Alke's first crop. Alke, who stands for a $4,000 fee, had 13 sell at this year's 2 year-olds in training sales at an average price of $64,899.

Alke, a foal of 2000, was relatively lightly raced, starting but 10 times over several seasons. He won five races, including the Grade 3 Deputy Minister, and placed in four other starts. Despite a pedigree that indicated stamina, he was more of a sprinter-miler.

Roar of the Tiger is a chestnut full brother to the world-class sire Giant's Causeway. His career was short, consisting of just 11 starts over four seasons. He won four races and placed in one stakes. Roar of the Tiger stands for a $6,000 fee. At this year's 2 year-olds in training sales, 17 were sold by Roar of the Tiger at an average price of $71,094.

Hickey has high hopes for Tour Ireland

Noel Hickey's homebred Tour Ireland moved way up the class ladder on April 26 when he met a solid field of 3 year-olds in the $400,000 Calder Derby, a 1 1/8-mile turf stakes.

Tour Ireland is from the last crop of the Irish Acres Farms sire Tour d'Or, and out of a three-quarter sister to the 1998 Eclipse turf champion Buck's Boy, whom Hickey bred and trained.

Tour Ireland began his career in March at Tampa Bay Downs, where he finished first in a 1 1/16-mile, $50,000 maiden claimer on turf, but was disqualified to fourth. He returned several weeks later and humbled a field of maiden-special-caliber 3-year-olds going a mile on the turf.

"I thought I had a good colt," said Hickey, "but I wanted to know how good."

Tour Ireland was sent off at 11-1 in the Calder Derby and went right to the front. He shook off several bids and entered the final sixteenth in front but then swerved in at the gap yards before the finish line to finish a creditable second to rapidly closing Sporting Art, winner of the Grade 3 Palm Beach at Gulfstream.

"I think we were going to be caught anyway," said Hickey. "He was a little short on training and experience."

Hickey has an ambitious campaign planned for Tour Ireland. The colt may run this week in an allowance at Calder. If all goes well, he will be pointed to the $600,000 Colonial Turf Cup on June 21 and then target the $750,000 Virginia Derby on July 19, both at Colonial Downs.

When asked if he was planning to return to the racetrack, Hickey responded: "This horse is really a bugger to train. He doesn't get his adrenaline going until he has competition around him. You might say he's a bit lazy, and to keep him fit and focused, I can do this better at the Irish Acres training center. I have a van; so, as of now, he'll commute to the racetrack - just as horses do in Europe and other racing centers where horses are not stabled on the grounds."

Victories in Calder undercard stakes

Offspring of Florida stallions accounted for two stakes wins on the Calder Derby undercard when Ginger Brew captured the $200,000 Calder Oaks and Lookinforthesecret took the $200,000 Bob Umphrey Turf Sprint Championship.

It was the first stakes win for Ginger Brew and the third stakes winner for her Adena Springs South sire, Milwaukee Brew.

Lookinforthesecret, a 6 year-old son of Cimarron Secret who stands at Frannie McDonnell's Cimarron Farm in Ocala, defeated a classy field of turf sprinters that included the Grade 1 stakes winner In Summation and the millionaire Weigelia. It was Lookinforthesecret's fourth stakes win of 2008 and his seventh stakes win overall.