05/23/2008 12:00AM

Big Brown adding to Claiborne legacy


LEXINGTON, Ky. - It's a dream scenario for most stud farms to have one of their sires' colts on the verge of winning the Triple Crown. But it's bittersweet for Claiborne Farm in Paris, Ky., because Big Brown's sire has been pensioned since 2005.

Big Brown's Kentucky Derby and Preakness wins can't give Boundary much commercial boost, but he does add luster to the farm's long record of success in the Triple Crown races. He is the 15th Kentucky Derby winner conceived at the Hancock family's farm, and six of those have gone on to win the Triple Crown - so far.

"It's great for Boundary, it's great for Claiborne, and it's been fun," said Bernie Sams, who handles stallion marketing for the historic stud farm. "With Big Brown out there right now, you'd love to have him standing at stud, obviously. But he is going to be 19, too, so it isn't like he's a young horse.

"He was a good, solid sire," Sams said of Boundary, an 18-year-old Danzig horse who now enjoys life in a pasture at Claiborne's Marchmont division. "He was a nice horse for $10,000. Unfortunately, fertility issues caught up with him."

But Boundary has done well with the opportunities he had. "If you look at his record, he has about 400 foals in 10 crops," Sams said. "From a limited opportunity, he sired 23 stakes winners and 60 stakes horses. Their earnings are $30 million, so they average about $90,000 per starter. That puts him on a par with the likes of Unbridled and Distorted Humor."

What has surprised many, including Sams, is that Big Brown has been such a strong performer beyond a mile. Boundary never won beyond six furlongs, and Danzig's maximum winning distance was seven furlongs. Boundary's dam, the Grade 3-winning Damascus mare Edge, won once at 1 1/16 miles, by a nose, but her other three victories came over six and 6 1/2 furlongs.

"You would never have guessed he'd get a 1 1/4-mile horse, let alone a 1 1/2-mile horse, if Big Brown wins the Belmont," Sams said of Boundary.

If Big Brown does win the Belmont Stakes and become the first Triple Crown winner since Affirmed in 1978, the accomplishment will reflect well on three-time leading sire Danzig, who stood his entire career at Claiborne and died in 2006. It might also give a boost to an active stallion on Claiborne's roster, War Front. Like Boundary, he is a son of Danzig, and he stands close to Boundary's price range with a 2008 fee of $12,500.

"Danzig and sons of Danzig have done well," Sams said. "Langfuhr got Lawyer Ron. Belong to Me is a good sire. Danehill has been a great sire. It's a commercial line that is also a successful line at the racetrack. It tends to get good-looking individuals, and they can run.

"War Front is a carbon copy of his father. Hopefully, War Front will fill in where Boundary left off."

Chelokee recovering nicely

Chelokee, Centennial Farms' Grade 3 winner who broke down in Churchill's Alysheba Stakes on May 2, continues to make good progress, his owners report.

A 4-year-old Cherokee Run colt, Chelokee dislocated his right front ankle in the race and underwent surgery on May 5 at Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital in Lexington. The surgery, performed by Dr. Larry Bramlage, fused bones in the colt's ankle and replaced ligaments in the back of the foreleg.

On May 19, Bramlage removed Chelokee's cast to evaluate the limb and noted that "for the most part we are in good shape," according to an update Centennial Farms issued Thursday.

"Most importantly, the coronary band is intact and healthy, and the foot appears to have survived the period of reduced vascularity without serious damage," Bramlage said. "The incisions are well healed, and there are no soft areas indicating infection of the implants or deeper structures."

Bramlage has since replaced the cast with no complications.

"His cast leaves his toe exposed, so he gets a small amount of tendon motion with each step, but immobilizes the fetlock," Bramlage said.

Chelokee probably will wear the cast for about two weeks. Centennial also said the colt is no longer on antibiotics and has a normal temperature.

"The staff at Rood and Riddle report he is eating every oat and still begs for carrots and peppermints," said Centennial president Don Little, Jr. "A few of his partners stayed behind in Kentucky and visited him daily during the initial days after the injury. They were amazed by the many cards and gifts he received from the public."

OBS June catalog available

Catalogs are available at www.obssales.com for the June 17-18 Ocala Breeders' Sales Company's June sale of 2-year-olds and horses of racing age in Ocala, Fla.

The under-tack preview is set for June 14-15, starting daily at 8 a.m. Eastern at the OBS facility in Ocala; Hip Nos. 1-296 will breeze June 14, while Hip Nos. 297-591 will breeze Sunday.

A total of 562 juveniles and 29 older horses are cataloged to the auction.