12/09/2005 12:00AM

Big U.S. victories boost year's top Canadian-breds


Victories by Canadian-breds Indian Vale, Jambalaya, and That's the Problem in the United States helped land Eugene Melnyk, Gus Schickedanz, and Adena Springs the three finalists' positions for the Sovereign Award for top breeder of 2005.

The Sovereign Awards will be handed out at the Wyndham Bristol Place Hotel in Toronto on Dec. 16.

Melnyk, who is also nominated as outstanding owner along with Harlequin Ranches and Stronach Stables, had one of his best years with his homebreds.

Through Nov. 28, Melnyk had bred 40 winners (in Canada) from 59 starters, according to Jockey Club Information Systems, for earnings of $2.8 million. His Ontario stakes winners were Arch Hall (Sir Barton Stakes) and Schooner Bay (Classy 'n Smart), and six other homebreds placed in stakes.

One of Melnyk's first homebreds, the 5-year-old Lucky Lionel mare Sparkling Sabia, took the Hoist Her Flag Stakes at Hawthorne last month to improve her record to 10 wins in 29 starts.

But it was the accomplishments south of the border by Indian Vale (A.P. Indy-Marley Vale) that could get Melnyk his first Sovereign for breeder.

Bred in Ontario, Indian Vale was tabbed as one of Melnyk's "brightest stars" for 2005 by Melnyk's farm manager, Phil Hronec, this spring.

Though she was eligible for the Queen's Plate, Indian Vale didn't get her career started until after the Plate, in a maiden race at Monmouth Park. She won that race and went on to win 5 of 6 starts, including the Grade 2 Falls City Handicap at Churchill Downs and the Grade 3 Turnback the Alarm Handicap at Aqueduct, both against older rivals.

Indian Vale's Beyer Figure of 109 from her effort in the Falls City makes her one of the fastest Canadian-breds of the year.

Jambalaya's exciting victory in the Grade 3 Saranac Stakes at Saratoga was another important win by a Canadian-bred in 2005, and it earned the 3-year-old a Sovereign nomination for top turf male.

Jambalaya, a $2,500 yearling purchase who also won the Breeders' Stakes, the third jewel of Canada's Triple Crown, is a son of Schickedanz's sire Langfuhr out of the Vice Regent mare Muskrat Suzie.

Schickedanz is also the breeder of double nominee Mobil, last year's champion older horse.

Mobil, also by Langfuhr, is nominated for older male again, as well as top turf male. The 5-year-old Mobil, who enters stud next spring at Windfields Farm, piled on another $443,000 in earnings in 2005 to boost his career total to $1.95 million.

Vibank, a 2-year-old colt nominee, was a two-time stakes winner for Jim and Alice Sapara and was produced from Schickedanz's stakes-winning mare Princess Ruckus.

Frank Stronach's Adena Springs bred Ablo, the Prince of Wales Stakes winner; That's the Problem, a Calder stakes winner; Sugar Swirl, the Princess Elizabeth Stakes winner; and minor stakes winners Awesome Action and Sailor Knot.

Jockey agents sponsor LongRun horse

In the spirit of the holiday season, most of Woodbine's jockey agents have chipped in to sponsor one of LongRun Thoroughbred Retirement Society's horses.

The agent colony raised more than $2,000 and chose the popular 7-year-old Dawn Watcher (10 wins, $495,145 in earnings), who last raced in June, to sponsor for six months.

Dawn Watcher is one of about 30 horses fostered by LongRun that are looking for happy homes.

LongRun would like to thanks agents Mike Luider, Ken Zweig, Kelly Regan, Darren Gomez, Ron Burke, Lorne Spearman, Tom Patton, Tyler Gaskin, Greg Broadhurst, Roger Poynter, Neal Wilson, Trapper Barroby, Al Raymond, Dave O'Connor, Mike Langlais, and Andy Bankuti for their generosity.