07/24/2008 11:00PM

Babs Moossa keeps surprising


DEL MAR, Calif. - Ted Aroney had just about given up on Babs Moossa when the gelding made his third start in a $12,500 maiden claimer at the Alameda County Fair in Pleasanton, Calif., on June 25.

"I was rooting for a tag," Aroney said, hoping the gelding would get claimed.

Babs Moossa's four-length win in the race was a minor consolation. At least Babs Moossa improved on sixth- and second-place finishes in maiden claiming races at Golden Gate Fields in the spring.

What has happened since is far from what Aroney or trainer Jerry Hollendorfer envisioned. Following the Pleasanton race, Babs Moossa won the Solano County Juvenile Stakes at Vallejo on July 12 in odd circumstances, then returned to win the second stakes of his career in the $136,000 Graduation Stakes for California-breds at Del Mar on Wednesday.

"He's definitely matured in the last two months," Aroney said. "Jerry has done a wonderful job with the horse."

Babs Moossa needed all 5 1/2 furlongs of the Graduation to catch Triumphant Flight, a colt by Chullo, in the final strides. Babs Moossa won by a nose, taking the lead in the final strides. The style of the win suggested he should have no difficulty with the six-furlong distance of the $100,000 I'm Smokin Stakes for statebreds here on Sept. 1, his next expected start.

While Babs Moossa displayed his experience in the Graduation, he was the beneficiary of a wild finish to the Solano County Juvenile. Babs Moossa was third in early stretch in that race over 5 1/2 furlongs when front-runner Cross Fire, the 3-5 favorite, ducked in and fell over the inside rail. Babs Moossa went on to win by two lengths, earning a first-place purse of $41,450.

He earned $81,600 for winning the Graduation, improving his career earnings to $132,450.

"He's made $130,000," said Dan Ward, Hollendorfer's assistant. "Not bad for a maiden twelve-five."

Aroney bred Babs Moossa, who is by Crowning Storm out Moossa's Girl, by Candi's Gold. Crowning Storm, 12, won 2 of 9 starts and $92,940 for Sid Craig, racing from 1998 to 2000. Crowning Storm placed twice in Grade 3 races - the 1998 Iroquois Stakes at Churchill Downs and the 1999 Affirmed Handicap at Hollywood Park.

Craig died last Monday after a five-year battle with cancer. Craig and Aroney campaigned horses together in recent years.

Moossa's Girl, 9, raced for Aroney's Halo Farms, whose burgundy and gray silks are among the most recognizable in California racing. Moossa's Girl made only six starts as a 2-year-old and ended her career with a two-length win the fillies division of the 2001 California Sires Stakes at the Oak Tree at Santa Anita meeting. The race is no longer run.

Moossa's Girl is the dam of one other winner, Crowning Moossa, and was bred to Benchmark earlier this year, Aroney said. She does not have a yearling or a foal by her side, Aroney said. The mare is kept at Legacy Ranch in Clements, Calif.

Crowning Storm was sent to stud in Argentina in 2005 and his oldest foals there will be 2-year-olds next year, Aroney said.

Aroney retains the Northern Hemisphere breeding rights to Crowning Storm, but said there is no decision about whether he will return to this part of the world for the upcoming breeding season.

"This will be his last crop" in California, Aroney said of the current 2-year-olds. "He stands in Argentina. The Crowning Storms can run. Sid Craig stood him with me. He'd be very happy. We'll miss him a lot."

Swiss Yodeler relocates

Swiss Yodeler, the leading stallion in California in 2006, has been moved to Harris Farms in Coalinga, Calif., the farm announced Friday.

Swiss Yodeler had stood at Pepper Oaks Farm in Santa Ynez, Calif., since he entered stud in 1999. Patricia Youngman, the owner of Pepper Oaks Farm, said in June that she would no longer stand stallions at that farm.

Heinz Steinmann, who campaigned Swiss Yodeler during his racing career in the late 1990s, has retained ownership in Swiss Yodeler.

Swiss Yodeler, 14, is the sire of Thor's Echo, the 2006 champion sprinter and the winner of the Breeders' Cup Sprint that year. Thor's Echo was entered in the Vanderbilt Stakes at Saratoga on Saturday.

Swiss Yodeler has sired 19 stakes winners and winners off more than $16.6 million in purses. According to a statement from Harris Farms, the stud fee for the 2009 season will be announced in September.