07/27/2007 12:00AM

Bargain filly bests the blue bloods

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Saratoga is a venue for the rich and famous, and this applies to horses as well as people. So, it is somewhat unusual for a $3,000 yearling purchase to make Saratoga's opening-day headline. But, that's what the filly Subtle Aly, bred by David and Teresa Palmer, did Wednesday when she won the Grade 3 Schuylerville Stakes for her second win in as many starts.

The Palmers are relative newcomers to racing and breeding. Their entry into the Thoroughbred business came nine years ago when they bought a colt by El Prado. Given the name Mr. Livingston, the gray or roan colt became a multiple graded stakes winner. He is now a stallion at Bridlewood Farm in Florida with first yearlings selling this year.

"We decided to support Mr. Livingston with our own mares," said Teresa Palmer, "and we developed a business plan."

The plan called for the Palmers to buy mares in foal, sell the foals they were carrying, and breed the mares back to Mr. Livingston. Among the mares purchased in 2004 was Aly Sweet for $8,000. She was in foal to French Envoy. It was this foal that sold at the Ocala Breeders' Sales winter mixed sale of 2006 for $3,000 and that won the 2007 renewal of the Schuylerville for IEAH Stables and Alan Pesch.

"My husband, David, loved the filly and did not want to sell her," recalled Teresa, "but we had a business plan and we needed to stick to it."

First-crop sires spring a few surprises

Florida's 2007 first-crop sires have had a solid first half-season. Going into this final weekend of July, there are 12 Florida freshman sires with at least one juvenile winner. The Vinery's D'wildcat is the money leader. He has had 3 winners from 11 starters, including the stakes winner The Golden Noodle. D'wildcat, by Forest Wildcat, had speed and he is obviously passing it on. There are 38 in his first crop.

The Vinery's Trust N Luck is one of two sons of Ocala Stud's perennial leading stallion Montbrook to make the list of freshman sires. Trust N Luck, who stands for $5,000, has 58 in his first crop, 10 have started, and 2 have won, including the stakes winner Wonderful Luck. Pure Precison, standing at Lou-Roe Farm, is the other freshman-sire son of Montbrook. He has 30 registered 2-year-olds, of which 6 have started and 2 have won.

Full Mandate, by A.P. Indy-Clear Mandate, by Deputy Minister, stands at Hartley DeRenzo/Walmac South for $5,000. While he did win a listed stakes in 15 starts, it was his pedigree and conformation that earned him a ticket to the breeding shed. He has 84 in his first crop, and 15 have started and 3 have won, including the stakes winner Thoroughly.

Rising Hill Farm is the home to Awesome of Course, a 7-year-old chestnut son of Awesome Again. Awesome of Course was useful on the racetrack, winning two minor stakes races. Like Full Mandate, Awesome of Course has an impressive family. There are only eight registered 2- year-olds in this sire's first crop. Three have raced, two have won, and his daughter Honey Honey Honey is stakes-placed.

Two surprises on this Florida freshman list are the Adena Springs South resident stallions Milwaukee Brew and Sligo Bay. Both horses preferred routes, and the farther the better. Milwaukee Brew, a son of Wild Again, won consecutive runnings of the Grade 1 Santa Anita Handicap, in 2002 and 2003. Milwaukee Brew has 75 in his first crop. Five of these have started and two have won.

Sligo Bay is the only graded-stakes-winning son of Sadler's Wells standing in Florida. The Irish-bred horse was a classic stayer, and his best effort was in winning the Grade 1 Hollywood Turf Cup at 12 furlongs on the turf. Given his pedigree and his racing stamina, one would not have predicted him to be a sire of precocity. Yet, two of his get have won sprinting.

Adena Springs South's Macho Uno, the 2000 Eclipse champion 2-year-old male, was expected to be early off the mark, and so he has been. There are 61 in his first crop. Seven have started and two have won, including the stakes-placed Swift Victress. Macho Uno stands for $12,500.

Lambholm South's Lido Palace, by Rich Man's Gold (Forty Niner), was Chile's champion 2-year-old, winning 3 of 6 starts - all graded stakes. At 3 he won the classic Chilean St. Leger at 1 3/8 miles and was second in the 1 1/2-mile Chilean Derby. He was acclaimed champion 3-year-old and Horse of the Year in Chile. In the U.S. he won the Whitney, Woodward (twice) and Jockey Club Gold Cup, all Grade 1.

Florida, where the emphasis is on speed, was an unusual choice to stand Lido Palace. His first crop has 43 registered, 7 have started, 1 has won, and several have placed.

You will, doubtless, hear more from Lido Palace, Milwaukee Brew, and Sligo Bay as the season goes on and the distances lengthen.