07/05/2001 12:00AM

Answer Lively relocates in Florida to aid fertility


LEXINGTON, Ky. - Answer Lively, the juvenile champion of 1998, is back in Florida after fertility difficulties compromised his initial year at stud in Kentucky, where he stood the 2001 season at Hill 'n' Dale Farm.

Answer Lively's fertility problems do not appear to be permanent, according to Phil Hronec, manager of John Franks's Franks Farms Southland division in Ocala, Fla., where the

5-year-old horse currently is stabled. Answer Lively is likely to remain at Franks Farms Southland division for the 2002 breeding season.

"Sometimes in Kentucky, when it gets cold in the early months of the breeding season, some first-year stallions do have infertility problems," Hronec said. "We've brought him home and he's in a paddock in plenty of sunshine. He's near mares and can see them; that's called paddock stimulation. It's like sending a young guy down to Daytona Beach on spring break."

Hronec said that tests performed before the horse took up stud duty in Kentucky showed Answer Lively's sperm count to be "a little low, but not abnormal for a horse who hadn't bred yet."

Now owner John Franks, who also bred the son of Lively One, hopes Florida's warmer climate will benefit his champion.

"Our weather is just better down here, and we think that will help him," said Hronec. "We talked to some experts at the University of Florida and in Kentucky, and they say that the time of year for breeding in Kentucky isn't the best for young horses with this kind of problem. We may test breed him later this year to see where we stand."

Hronec said Franks Farms hasn't established Answer Lively's 2002 stud fee yet. At Hill 'n' Dale this year he stood for an advertised fee of $3,500 and got a book of about 60 mares, Hronec said.

Answer Lively, who is out of the stakes-winning Two's a Plenty mare Twosies Answer, won the 1998 Breeders' Cup Juvenile and Sport of Kings Futurity, and also finished second in the Grade 2 Lane's End Breeders' Futurity, at two.

Though he did not win a stakes the following year, he finished second in three: the Grade 2 Louisiana Derby, the Grade 3 Remington Park Derby, and the Risen Star Stakes. He earned $938,296 from a career record of 14-4-4-0.

Marfa dead at age 21

Texas stallion Marfa, sire of Grade 1 winners Farma Way and Imaginary Lady, died in March, according to a representative of Valor Farm in Pilot Point, Texas, which stood the horse in 2000. Marfa was 21.

The farm pensioned Marfa after the 2000 season and a syndicate member moved him to a farm in Midland, Texas.

Marfa, a gray horse by Foolish Pleasure and out of Gray Matter (Stratmat), was bred in Kentucky by Tom Gentry and became a Grade 1 stakes-winner for his owners Barry Beal, L. R. French, and D. Wayne Lukas. Trained by Lukas, Marfa won the 1983 Santa Anita Derby and the Spiral Stakes in a two-year career at the races. He retired with three wins, four seconds, and a third from 15 starts.

In addition to Imaginary Lady and dual millionaire Farma Way, from 13 crops to race, Marfa has sired such stakes winners as Boundlessly, Full and Fancy, Militron, Yes I'm Blue, and Harness Hitch, among others. To date, he has lifetime progeny earnings in excess of $15 million.

Our Mims still winning things

Among the familiar faces at the inaugural All-Thoroughbred Charity Horse Show at Turfway on May 27 was 1977 champion 3-year-old filly Our Mims, a winner in the event's War Horse Mares in Hand class for mares who had won more than $100,000 or had at least 50 starts. Retired Hall of Fame jockey Steve Cauthen judged. Thoroughbred adoption programs ReRun and New Vocations Racehorse Adoptions received $9,000 from the event, which is expected to serve as the championship show for an all-Thoroughbred circuit in the fall of 2002.

o Lexington's Urban County Council has voted to use $182,000 from the purchase of development rights program - which buys development rights from local farm owners to preserve rural land - to pay for maintaining several Lexington bus routes. The move, which land preservationists called a dangerous precedent that may encourage other programs to "borrow" from the PDR fund.