11/08/2002 12:00AM

Bigger purses and new races for crop of '00

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On New York Showcase Day at Belmont Park last month, many of the New York-breds competing in the seven stakes were sired by out-of-state stallions.

Sunday's New York Stallion Stakes Series at Aqueduct, on the other hand, features the progeny of New York-based stallions.

The horses competing in the four Stallion Stakes, which are worth a total of $450,000, must be sired by registered New York stallions who were nominated to the series the year of the horse's conception. The foal's owner is then required to keep the horse eligible to the series.

Although the majority of the Stallion Stakes runners are New York-breds, it is not a requirement for eligibility.

Sunday's four races are the $125,000 Great White Way for 2-year-olds, $125,000 Fifth Avenue for 2-year-old fillies, $100,000 Cormorant for 3-year-olds and older on turf, and the $100,000 Perfect Arc for filly and mare grass runners.

Both the Great White Way and the Fifth Avenue received a $25,000 purse increase this year. The current series for foals of 2000 also includes a pair of 3-year-old races, worth $250,000 apiece, which will be run for the first time next year during the summer. The new stakes join two existing 3-year-old stakes run at Aqueduct in the spring, the Times Square and Park Avenue. Those races each will be worth $150,000 when they are run in 2003, an increase of $50,000 over this year.

Beginning with Sunday's 2-year-old stakes, if a horse sweeps the three races in either division (open and fillies), a $100,000 bonus will be paid to the horse's owner.

Dennis Brida, the executive director of the New York Thoroughbred Breeders Inc., said he believes the additional races and the purse increases will serve as a strong incentive for stallion and foal owners to nominate their horses to the series.

"The series isn't in its heyday yet, but the truth of the matter is that it's a growing series," Brida said. "The money is growing and so are the number of the races. The New York Racing Association has done a great job turning this into a [rich] event. The number of nominations are on the rise and I believe people will look at the series as necessity to nominate their horse to. The best horses to buy will be horses that are fully nominated to the series."

Seventy-eight stallions were nominated to the series this year, which will cover foals born in 2003, who are candidates for the 2005 series. That figure is 42 percent higher than in 1996, when 45 stallions were nominated.

This year, 151 stallions stood in New York, which means more than half of the sires standing in the state were nominated to the Stallion Stakes.

Stallion and foal owners benefit from nominating their sires and foals to the Stallion Stakes. Five percent of the purse money - on first- through fifth-place finishes - kicks back to the stallion and foal nominators, with the exception of the grass races.

The annual cost per year of nominating a stallion is $2,500 or the advertised stud fee, whichever is greater. When a horse is a weanling, an owner can pay $600 to cover a full nomination to the series, or payments can be stretched out over time for $800.

New display at Aqueduct

A special showcase devoted to New York-breds will be unveiled this weekend at Aqueduct, according to Brida.

The display, which will feature, among others things, trophies, videos, and photographs, is located on the third floor, near the Equestris Restaurant.

The showcase was a joint effort by the NYRA, NYTB, the New York State Thoroughbred Breeding and Development Fund, and XYZ Total Home designers.

Diane Suzanne brings half-million

New York-bred Diane Suzanne, a full sister to New York-bred millionaires Fourstardave and Fourstars Allstar and the dam of millionaire Mystic Lady, sold at Keeneland last week for $525,000.

Bred and raced by Richard Bomze, Diane Suzanne, a 16-year-old, was bought by Virginia Kraft Payson's Payson Stud in Lexington, Ky. Consigned by Three Chimneys Sales, agent, Diane Suzanne, is in foal to 2001 Horse of the Year Point Given.

* Top Account, a graded winner who formerly stood in Florida, has been moved to New York for the 2003 breeding season. Top Account will stand at Michael and Debra Lischin's Dutchess Views Farm in Pine Plains. His fee will be $3,000. A 10-year-old son of Private Account, Top Account has a first crop who are 3-year-olds this year. He is owned by a syndicate.

* Smokin Mel, a graded winner who previously stood in Illinois, will stand the 2003 breeding season at The Stallion Park in Millbrook, N.Y. No fee has been announced for Smokin Mel, who is owned by Edwin Wachtel. Smokin Mel's first crop will be yearlings next year.