07/29/2005 12:00AM

Big prices for first crops of two sires


Business for the first half of 2005 was good in Florida. New farms are being constructed all over Marion County. Real estate values are soaring, up by some 24 percent in the past year, according to real estate surveys.

The 2005 2-year-old sales so far have held their own; the gross was up, while the averages and medians were down a bit off a record year.

Florida sires did well at the recent Fasig-Tipton Kentucky yearling sales. Yearlings by Ocala Stud's freshman sire Trippi averaged $132,500 - his fee is $7,500. Yearlings by Padua Stable's first-crop stallion Snow Ridge averaged $85,000, 17 times his $5,000 fee.

Despite the loss last year of two premier young sires - Yes It's True and Successful Appeal,who relocated to Kentucky - and the pending relocation of the promising freshman stallion Songandaprayer to Walmac International, there is still ample sire power in the Sunshine State.

Montbrook, the 15-year-old syndicated stallion who stands at Ocala Stud, is again leading all Florida sires. His record through the end of July reads: 105 starters, 49 winners, and earnings of $1.6 million. Right behind him are the Farnsworth Farms stallions Double Honor, with 48 winners from 107 starters and earnings of $1.5 million, and Suave Prospect, with 43 winners from 81 starters. Suave Prospect is also the sire of Golden Man, a 3-year-old who ran in two stakes - the Long Branch Breeders' Cup at Monmouth Park and the Leonard Richards Stakes at Delaware Park - on consecutive days, and placed in both.

Farnsworth Farms has a third sire in Florida's top five, Line in the Sand. While Double Honor and Suave Prospect have yet to be relocated to new homes for the 2006 breeding season, pending the sale of Farnsworth Farms itself, Line in the Sand will stand in Thailand next year. Line in the Sand leads all other Florida stallions with 58 winners from 130 starters with earnings of $1.3 million. Rounding out the top five is Bridlewood Farm's stallion Halo's Image with 45 winners from 105 starters and earnings of $1.3 million.

Songandaprayer sits atop Florida's freshman sire list with nine starters from a registered foal crop of 46, and four winners, including the California-campaigned stakes winner What a Song. Trippi (End Sweep) has 55 in his first crop. Eleven of these have raced and five have won. B.L.'s Appeal (Valid Appeal) stands at Randolph Thoroughbreds. From his crop of 23, 11 have raced and six have won.

Put It Back (Honour and Glory) has a crop of 29, of which five have started and one has won. But that winner, In Summation, is the leading 2-year-old at Calder Race Course, winning all three of his starts, including two stakes. Completing the list of freshmen sires is CloverLeaf Farms II's stallion Snuck In (Montbrook) His first crop numbers 53. Of those, 15 have started and four have won.

Among Florida's established sires, the 2-year-old leader is Montbrook with a crop of 63. Montbrook has 4 winners from 10 starters, including two stakes horses. Next comes Adena Springs South's stallion Running Stag, with a crop of 63, 12 starters, and 3 winners, including the stakes winner Running Lass. Tiger Ridge, at Hartley/DeRenzo-Walmac South, is in the mix with 46 in his current crop. Thirteen have started and 7 have won.

Florida champions by point system

The Florida Thoroughbred Breeders and Owners Association has developed a point system for determining Florida's annual divisional championships. Points range from 20 assigned to a Breeders' Cup winner, to 15 for a Grade 1 event, down to 2 points for non-restricted stakes worth $40,000 or more. There are various point awards for finishing on the board, as well.

Currently, the leading 3 year-old is Afleet Alex with 42 points - highest of any division. Since the racing future of Afleet Alex is uncertain, the 3-year-old mantle falls to Lost in the Fog. Lost in the Fog, however, is classified as a sprinter in the FTBOA ratings.

Vegso increases Ocala investment

Peter Vegso is improving his 145-acre property in Ocala with the construction of a 13,000-square-foot mansion - a $3 million to $4 million investment.

Vegso, whose Health Communications Inc. publishes the "Chicken Soup for the Soul" series of books, is the owner of the Florida-bred filly Splendid Blended, a Grade 1 stakes winner. He also bred and races the graded-stakes-winning brothers Orchid Park and Silver Tree.

Vegso calls his Ocala nursery The Racing Edge Inc. Managed by Chuck Patton, it has 25 broodmares. Vegso has a racing stable of 24.