09/18/2003 11:00PM

Black Tie Affair, Bop nice additions


Virginia's sire power will surge in 2004, with the addition of Black Tie Affair and Bop.

Horse of the year Black Tie Affair, a 17-year-old son of Miswaki, is due to arrive at Blue Ridge Farm in Upperville in mid-October. A gray stallion, Black Tie Affair returns to U.S. soil after standing the past six seasons in Japan, and will be offered on a private contract basis. Shares, which include a bonus breeding season each year, are still available for $10,000.

Black Tie Affair joins Housebuster, another top-class runner and former Japanese stallion who resides at Blue Ridge. For the past two seasons, Housebuster has been Virginia's most active sire, covering a total of 168 mares.

Over a career that spanned four seasons, Black Tie Affair won 18 races and earned $3,370,694. In addition to his wire-to-wire score in the Breeders' Cup Classic over a field that included classic winners Unbridled, Strike the Gold, and Summer Squall, Black Tie Affair won the Grade 1 Philip H. Iselin Handicap and five other graded stakes during his championship season.

Black Tie Affair sired the high-class runner Formal Gold, an earner of $1,313,600, in his first crop. His early U.S. crops have also produced millionaires Evening Attire, winner of the 2002 Jockey Club Gold Cup Stakes and a fast-closing fourth in last year's Breeders' Cup Classic, and the durable race mare License Fee.

Virginia-bred Bop, campaigned throughout his career by Jonas Cash's Folly Quarter Stable, retires to Legacy Farm near Middleburg. A 6-year-old son of Rahy, Bop will stand for $2,500.

A turf-loving speedster, Bop set three course records during his career. In winning the Pennsylvania Governor's Cup at Penn National, he tied a world record with a time of 54.61 seconds for five furlongs on the turf. He also set five-furlong course records at Gulfstream Park and Colonial Downs. From 23 starts, Bop won 12 races, half in stakes, and earned $365,766. Out of the Fappiano mare Golden Guinea, Bop descends from Keswick Stables's famed producer Treasure Chest.

Two farms have big hits at Keeneland

Two of Virginia's elite nurseries - historic Audley Farm and Edward Evans's Spring Hill Farm - offered large consignments at the Keeneland September yearling sale and were quickly rewarded on Sept. 8, the first day of the sale.

A Spring Hill yearling filly by Storm Cat out of champion Flawlessly's full sister Successfully, consigned with Lane's End, brought $1 million. Demi O'Byrne signed the ticket for the fourth-highest priced filly of the session.

With Brookdale Farm as agent, Audley Farm sold a Cat Thief colt out of Black Tie Affair's stakes-winning daughter Mather Miss for $725,000. The purchaser was Toyomitsu Hirai.

Virginia-bred runners at Delaware Park

With limited racing dates on the Virginia calendar, the Virginia Breeders Fund gets creative in finding opportunities for Virginia-bred and/or sired runners.

Once again, juvenile stakes are scheduled at Delaware Park for eligible Virginia runners. The Hildene (for fillies) and the M. Tyson Gilpin (for colts), both to be run on Oct. 18, offer purses of $40,000 apiece. Nominations are free for both stakes until Oct. 4, or $100 after that date until time of entry.

"Without the generosity of the Delaware horsemen, who fund half the purses, the races wouldn't be possible," said Mark Deane, field director for the Virginia Breeders Fund.

On the Virginia racing front, the Old Dominion Turf Championship, a series of five flat races held in conjunction with the state's fall steeplechase meets, was scheduled to begin Saturday at the Fairfax Hunt, followed by Foxfield (Sept. 28), Glenwood Park (Oct. 4), Morven Park (Oct. 11), and the finale, Great Meadow, on Oct. 18. The field for the final race, the Bungalow Foundation Stakes sponsored by restaurateur Keith Early with a purse of $20,000, is determined by a point system based on the results of the other four races.

* The Virginia Thoroughbred Association is offering a seminar with well-known horseman Joe Taylor on Oct. 3 at Morgan's Ford Farm in Front Royal. Taylor, the former manager of Gainesway Farm, will speak on various aspects of the industry and discuss his book "Complete Guide to Breeding and Raising Racehorses." The seminar costs $50, which includes lunch. For more information, contact the VTA at (540) 347-4313 or www.vabred.org.