04/09/2004 12:00AM

Bertrando ailing but still potent

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ARCADIA, Calif. - Bertrando, one of California's top stallions in recent years and the champion older male of 1993, has been bred to 35 mares this year despite suffering from a liver disease that required surgery as recently as December.

Through Wednesday, 20 of the 35 mares bred to Bertrando had been pronounced in foal, according to owner Marty Wygod. As of Wednesday, Bertrando had been booked to 69 mares this year.

Bertrando stands at Wygod's River Edge Farm in Buellton, Calif.

Throughout the current breeding season, Bertrando's health has been closely monitored.

In December, Bertrando underwent surgery for the second time to remove gallstones from his bile ducts, a rare occurrence in Thoroughbreds, according to veterinarian Greg Ferraro.

Ferraro has monitored Bertrando's health since the horse underwent the initial surgery at the University of California-Davis in the late 1990's. The most recent surgery was conducted at the Alamo Pintado Equine Clinic in Los Olivos, near Buellton.

The need for a second surgery has led to concern that Bertrando's stud career could be curtailed, but Wygod remains optimistic.

"He's doing fine now but it's a month-to-month situation," Wygod said. "He's getting his mares in foal. We're keeping our fingers crossed."

Bertrando, 15, won 9 of 24 starts and $3,185,160 in a five-year racing career. He won stakes annually from ages 2 through 5 and won the Eclipse Award as the outstanding older male of 1993 as a 4-year-old. That season, he won the $1 million Pacific Classic at Del Mar and finished second in the Breeders' Cup Classic at Santa Anita.

At stud, Bertrando has progeny earnings of more than $17 million. He is the sire of such major stakes winners as Cliquot, Officer, Queenie Bell, and Smooth Player, all of whom earned more than $500,000.

Wygod said Bertrando could stand at stud again in 2005.

"We're hoping he'll be breeding and healthy," he said.

Grey Memo to resume racing

Grey Memo, a multiple stakes winner who was sent to co-owner Pat Thompson's farm in Hemet in February for a possible retirement, has resumed training with Warren Stute at Santa Anita.

Grey Memo, 7, worked three furlongs in 37 seconds on Friday, according to Stute. The workout did not appear on the daily workout report.

Grey Memo returned to Stute's stable in late March after a break of approximately five weeks. At the time he was sent to Ridgeley Farm, there were discussions about standing him at stud this year. Those plans have been put off to next year at the earliest.

Stute said Grey Memo will not be ready for the California Gold Rush program at Hollywood Park on April 24, but will race at that meeting. Stute said Grey Memo was not in training at Ridgeley Farm.

"He was just standing around," Stute said. "He looks good. He's put on a little weight."

Grey Memo has won 8 of 52 starts and $1,733,059, but is winless in his last 15 starts.

He won two stakes in 2002 - the $1 million Godolphin Mile in Dubai and the Grade 2 San Diego Handicap at Del Mar. In his most recent start, he was last in the Sensational Star Handicap on the hillside turf course at Santa Anita in mid-February.

Stute is hoping that Grey Memo has regained an interest in racing after the brief vacation.

"He acted good last time but he didn't run good," Stute said. "He kind of quit trying. We'll give him another shot at Hollywood Park."

Barretts catalogs 332

Barretts has cataloged 332 horses for the one-day 2-year-olds in training sale on May 11. The sale will include the winners of three races at Santa Anita this year - Brooker B. Tee, Cheatinsideoftown, and Capt. Mc Craiger. Cheatinsideoftown is a California-bred colt by Illinois Storm.