03/03/2006 12:00AM

Alphabet Kisses paired with Awesome Again


ARCADIA, Calif. - Alphabet Kisses, the California-bred mare who won the Grade 1 La Brea Stakes in 2004, has been retired and will be bred to Awesome Again this month, owner John Harris said.

Alphabet Kisses finished her career with a second-place finish in the Pro or Con Handicap for statebred fillies and mares at Santa Anita on Feb. 25. She finished 1 1/4 lengths behind Moscow Burning after leading by 2 1/2 lengths in the stretch.

Alphabet Kisses, 5, won 7 of 17 starts and $590,271.

"She's sound and all that, but she's worth quite a bit as a broodmare," Harris said. "We had to make up our minds."

Alphabet Kisses's stakes wins include the Grade 1 La Brea in December 2004, the B. Thoughtful Handicap for statebred fillies and mares in April 2005, and the Grade 2 A Gleam Handicap last July.

By Alphabet Soup out of the Saratoga Six mare Kiss for Six, Alphabet Kisses typically raced on or near the lead and was best in sprints. She disputed the pace throughout the seven-furlong La Brea, which she won by a length at 20-1.

Harris said Alphabet Kisses may return to California after being bred to Awesome Again. If she returns to California and is bred to a stallion in this state, her Awesome Again foal can be registered as a California-bred.

Harris admitted that breeding to Awesome Again was a major investment.

"He stands for $125,000, which is more than we usually pay, but he's been a top sire," he said. "We'd be leaning toward bringing her back to California to get a California-bred."

Harris said in a statement that Alphabet Kisses would be sent to Kentucky on Friday.

Harris said his farm is sending two other prominent mares to Kentucky to be bred this spring - Blind Ambition and Lucky C.H.

Blind Ambition, 8, won 4 of 10 starts and $291,705. The highlight of her career was a win in the 2003 California Cup Distaff. She was retired last year after developing a filling in a leg while training at Hollywood Park.

Blind Ambition will be bred to Sky Mesa.

Lucky C.H. is the dam of Lucky J.H., the runner-up in the $250,000 Snow Chief Stakes for statebred 3-year-olds last April. Lucky J.H. returned from a 10-month layoff to win a one-mile allowance race at Santa Anita on Feb. 20.

Moscow Burning to race in statebred ranks

Moscow Burning, who was bred by Harris and claimed away from him for $25,000 in August 2003, will remain in statebred company after winning the Pro or Con Handicap, trainer Jim Cassidy said.

Moscow Burning will be pointed for two stakes at 1 1/16 miles on turf in April - the $100,000 Work the Crowd Handicap at Golden Gate Fields on April 1 and the $150,000 Fran's Valentine Stakes at Hollywood Park on April 30.

Owned by Bullseye Racing, Moscow Burning, 6, has won 11 of 26 starts and $1,242,755. The winner of the $500,000 Sunshine Millions Filly and Mare Turf here on Jan. 28, Moscow Burning has earned $340,220 this year. She is fourth on the all-time list of California-bred female money earners. Fran's Valentine is the leader with $1,375,465.

Cassidy said he would prefer to race Moscow Burning against statebred company this year, as opposed to trying graded stakes. Moscow Burning won the Grade 2 Sheepshead Bay Handicap at Belmont Park in 2004.

"There are many good California-bred races to be in," he said.