06/03/2004 11:00PM

Brennan's busy season coming to end


The fifth and final Florida sale of 2-year-olds in training takes place in Ocala, Fla., on June 16 and 17 with 499 cataloged. Tacked onto the end of the two days of selling are 34 older horses, also in training.

For sales agent Niall Brennan, it's the end of a long, long season.

"Usually, we sell somewhere between 70 and 80 a year," said Brennan. "Most of them are pin-hooks."

This year, thanks to Brennan being selected as the sales agent for the estate of John Franks, he will sell several times his annual average. "Am selling 68 in the OBS June sale, and most of these are for the estate.," he said.

Brennan is a member of a sizeable Irish-American community in Ocala. This group includes Noel Hickey, Tony Everard, Eddie Woods, Red Curtin.

"I'm either a third- or fourth-generation horseman," said Brennan. "Got my schooling and initial experience in Ireland and my graduate work, so to speak, at the Irish National Stud. Many of my classmates headed east to the U.S. and took jobs at the major Kentucky farms. I thought if everyone was going east, maybe I'd be better off going where it wasn't so crowded. So, I took a job in Australia."

The young horseman made a working tour of Australia before heading back to Ireland in 1982 by way of the U.S. He stopped off in Kentucky and wound up temporarily employed, helping out a few of his Irish friends who were working there. Then it was back to County Kildare. But soon after his arrival the phone began ringing with job offers to return to Kentucky, and he did.

Ocala was his next move, and this happened in 1990 when he signed on with George Steinbrenner's Kinsman Farm. He spent a couple of years with Kinsman Farm operation and then opted to go on his own. The 137-acre Niall Brennan Training Stables facility he designed and built is a full-service complex with three barns, a dirt track, a turf course, and an equine swimming pool

Brennan's philosophy precludes accelerated sales preparation. "I think the major difference between America and elsewhere is that we tend to hurry young horses here," he said. "For example, when my yearlings first go to school I take five to six weeks on average teaching them the fundamentals. It's a slow foundation - building process. Take the John Franks 2-year-olds that I have sold this year. Some were ready to go on - that is they had some breaking and training at Franks Farms. Others were raw. The original intent was to race all or most of them. The group that I am selling next week were raw. I had to start from scratch. That's why they are selling in June. I have most of them ready but some still need more time. So, to give each of these youngsters their best chance to become racehorses later on, I decided to breeze those who were ready and gallop the others."

Among the Franks 2-year-olds in this sale is Kissinique, a full sister to the millionaire graded stakes winner Kiss a Native. Others include, Shesaroyaldancer, a half-sister to Grade 2 stakes winner and $614,704 earner Dance for Thee, and a three-quarter brother by Marquetry to the Eclipse champion sprinter Squirtle Squirt.

* Three of Florida's first-crop stallions now have statistical records - something they did not have in the previous 2-year-old auctions. When the homebred filly Yes It's Gold, by Yes It's True, romped in her debut by nearly 15 lengths last week, she became the third winner by her sire from six starters. Yes It's True has seven cataloged in the June sale. Other first-crop stallions with winners through early June are Straight Man, with eight cataloged, and Successful Appeal, with four.