04/28/2005 11:00PM

Ascot Knight has ties to Derby


Ascot Knight has sired more than 50 stakes horses in 16 years at stud at Windfields Farm in Oshawa, Ontario, but the 21-year-old stallion could have his highest achievement should grandson Greeley's Galaxy win the May 7 Kentucky Derby.

Greeley's Galaxy, who was not nominated to the Triple Crown, is expected to be supplemented to the Derby for $200,000 as the 20th and final entrant.

Greeley's Galaxy is a son of the winning mare Ascot Starre, who is from Ascot Knight's 1996 crop.

"We're cheering for him, for sure," said Bernard McCormack, manager at Windfields. "Greeley's Galaxy's breeder, Catesby Clay, loves the Ascot Knight mares - he's collecting them. He has four right now."

Canada's leading sire in 2000, Ascot Knight is a regular on the top-10 sire list in the country each year and, according to McCormack, is showing no signs of slowing down in the breeding shed.

"He was the first one to dapple out in the barn this year," said McCormack. "He's in great health. He's a bit behind the younger stallions now, commercially, but if you breed to him, you might be hoping for a filly."

Ascot Knight, a son of Danzig, was the broodmare sire of 13 stakes winners through April 10 with Greeley's Galaxy, the winner of the Illinois Derby on April 9, one of his best runners.

Ascot Starre was bred by Chris Thomas's Hedgestone Management and sold by Windfields, as agent, for $8,000 at the 1996 Keeneland November breeding stock sale to Barbara Smicklas and Ran Ricks.

She raced for Smicklas and Cresran LLC in the Midwest and won 3 of 18 starts and $43,098.

Ascot Starre descends from a popular Kinghaven Farms family beginning with stakes winner Deepstar, a foal of 1972.

Deepstar produced stakes winner Festival Star for Kinghaven plus winner Star Deputy, a Deputy Minister filly and the dam of Ascot Starre.

Clay's Runnymede Farm in Kentucky purchased Ascot Starre at the 2001 Keeneland January sale for $27,000.

Ascot Starre had a Smart Strike colt on March 31 and is booked to Malibu Moon.

Byrne cheering for Consolidator

Another local horseman who has an interest in this year's Derby is Michael C. Byrne, who sold Consolidator at the 2003 Keeneland September yearling sale as agent for $1,250,000 to Bob and Beverly Lewis.

"I was asked to consign him as a yearling for a group of people, and the rest is history," said Byrne, who operates Park Stud in Orangeville, Ontario. "He was a really nice colt; super-attractive."

Byrne has sold a Breeders' Cup winner - 2001 Juvenile champ Johannesburg - and a Kentucky Oaks winner - Canadian-bred Gal in a Ruckus - and is looking forward to his trip to Churchill Downs this week to watch Consolidator.

"It would certainly be lovely to sell a Derby winner," said Byrne, who was the leading consignor by average at last year's Keeneland September and November sales.