10/31/2002 1:00AM

Ashford cutting star stud fees

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LEXINGTON, Ky. - Ashford Stud, the North American division of Irish-based Coolmore Stud, will trim stud fees for Fusaichi Pegasus, Giant's Causeway, and Thunder Gulch in 2003. Johannesburg, last year's North American juvenile champion, will debut at the Versailles, Ky., farm with a $30,000 fee.

The farm announced Thursday that it will drop the fees for 2000 Kentucky Derby winner Fusaichi Pegasus and English champion Giant's Causeway from $135,000 to $125,000 for the upcoming breeding season. Thunder Gulch, whose fee rapidly rose in the last two years to top out at $80,000, will stand for $65,000 in 2003. Those three stallions are the most expensive on offer at Ashford.

Other Ashford stallions with lower fees in 2003 are Bianconi, who drops from $7,500 to $5,000; Black Minnaloushe, who goes from $15,000 to $12,500; Hennessy, who falls from $45,000 to $35,000; Honour and Glory, who drops from $30,000 to $20,000; Stravinsky, who falls from $25,000 to $17,500; and Woodman, who drops from $40,000 to $30,000.

Not all the farm's residents will have lower fees in the coming season. Grand Slam, who had North America's largest book of mares this year with 215, will have a higher fee, rising from $25,000 to $30,000.

Ashford sires whose fees will stay the same in 2003 are High Yield at $30,000; Louis Quatorze and Lure at $10,000; Royal Academy at $20,000; and Tale of the Cat at $25,000.