04/05/2002 12:00AM

Brother and sister make the grade


LEXINGTON, Ky. - Lightning may not strike twice, but that may not apply to Regal Realm, a very successful broodmare who has produced four stakes winners, including two winners of the Potrero Grande Handicap at Santa Anita.

The mare's first Potrero Grande winner was the chestnut gelding Sir Hutch, and she got her second winner in the race last weekend when her 6-year-old daughter Kalookan Queen defeated colts for a Grade 2 success to follow her Grade 1 victory this year in the Santa Monica Handicap.

Both Kalookan Queen and Sir Hutch are by Lost Code, a grand racehorse in the 1980's who won more than $2 million, a pair of Grade 1 stakes, and a quartet of Derbies. Retired to stud at Vinery, Lost Code made a good sire, getting 47 stakes winners to date. A son of Codex, he died in early 2001 just before the breeding season, and his youngest foals are yearlings.

His best offspring include Morris Code, winner of the Weekend Delight Stakes; Santa Ynez winner Tricky Code; Canadian champion Magic Code; and Kalookan Queen, all mares. Kalookan Queen was bred in Kentucky by Donald and Mary Zuckerman, who purchased Regal Realm at the 1995 Keeneland November breeding stock sale for $45,000 while she was carrying Kalookan Queen.

Donald Zuckerman said, "One of the reasons I bought Regal Realm was the full brother. Bob Baffert had the colt, and Baffert was our trainer also. So I knew Sir Hutch was a real good colt, very fast, when Bob had him."

It didn't hurt that Regal Realm already had two stakes winners on the catalog page, and the mare added a third the year after the Zuckermans acquired her. Zuckerman said, "Regal Realm is a strong, well-balanced mare, and she produces good-looking foals." The sales returns prove the point, and the mare's very best-looking foals were the results of matings with Lost Code. Sir Hutch sold for $200,000 at the Keeneland September yearling sale in 1991, and he was the most expensive yearling by his sire that year.

Kalookan Queen was the highest-priced juvenile in training for Lost Code when she sold for $275,000 at the Barretts March sale of select 2-year-olds in training. "Kalookan Queen is a grand-looking mare," Zuckerman said. "When we sold her in the 2-year-old sales, she breezed in 10 flat and broke the record at Barretts, as I recall. She was an extraordinary filly, and Bruce Headley bought her for Louis Asistio and has done a magnificent job with her."

Under Headley's handling, Kalookan Queen has won nine of 20 starts, earning $760,629, and only once been out of the money in four seasons of racing.

Zuckerman said, "Right from the start, Headley took his time with her. After the sale, he backed off her, even though she was so fast. You don't get many 6-year-old mares in training and racing at this level. That's Bruce Headley's training."

The breeder credits the trainer not only with patience but also with skill in keeping a horse mentally fit and happy. Zuckerman said, "The last time I was at Bruce's stable in California, he said, 'Just go in and play with her,' which I did. She was just wonderful, and his horses are this way because he has them so temperamentally fit.

"To my knowledge," Zuckerman continued, Kalookan Queen "has had no significant physical problems, but Bruce Headley senses when she needs time off, and he takes her to his farm, lets her freshen, and then brings her back. His design is to have them last this long, and the owner has been fully supportive of this."

In reward for his patience, Asistio is the proud owner of a Grade 1 winner who has earned more than three-quarters of a million dollars, a handsome return on the cost of acquiring her and keeping her in training. And when Kalookan Queen retires from competition, Asistio will have an outstanding broodmare prospect or a very valuable sales mare, depending on his inclination.

In addition to the good management, Kalookan Queen has the natural ability to be a high-quality racehorse. She's big, strong, and fast. "Bruce Headley must weigh 160 or 170 pounds," Zuckerman said, "and he gallops her in the morning. That's how big and strong she is. She's not a 17-hand mare, but she 's a strong and well-balanced athlete."

He then drew a comparison of daughter and dam. "Her dam looks a lot like her - strong and very good-sized. Regal Realm supplies the size. All the mare's foals are like her, although they're by different sires. All are big, strong, very correct, and have lovely personalities."

Regal Realm has a 2-year-old by Tomorrows Cat (bred and raced by the Zuckermans) named Tomorrows Empress. The yearling is a filly by Forestry that Zuckerman said is "absolutely magnificent." The mare does not have a foal and has been bred to Fusaichi Pegasus.