02/11/2005 1:00AM

Bull market for Successful Appeal

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LEXINGTON, Ky. - Closing Argument made a good case for his ability to stretch out in distance and for his prospects in the upcoming Triple Crown preps with a victory in the Holy Bull Stakes at Gulfstream.

Running the 1 1/8 miles 1:50.14, Closing Argument won by 1 1/2 lengths from a Boston Harbor colt, Kansas City Boy, with previously undefeated High Fly another half-length back in third.

A winner of 3 of his 6 lifetime starts, Closing Argument has earned $511,984 for his owners, Philip and Marcia Cohen.

Closing Argument is from the first crop of last year's leading freshman sire, Successful Appeal, who is a son of the very good Florida stallion Valid Appeal and the Fortunate Prospect mare Successful Dancer. A full sister to Suave Prospect - a stakes winner of $730,532 who ran second in the Florida Derby, Fountain of Youth, and Blue Grass in 1995 - Successful Dancer produced Successful Appeal as her first foal.

Winner of the Cowdin at 2, Successful Appeal matured well at 3, winning the Withers and Kentucky Cup Sprint. After that, a group of investors, including John T.L. Jones III, purchased part of Successful Appeal.

"Our original intent," said Jones, "was to win the Breeders' Cup Sprint. That's why we bought into him right after he won the Kentucky Cup at Turfway in his 3-year-old season. He had all kinds of trouble in the Breeders' Cup and finished fifth."

Jones and his partners in Successful Appeal kept the colt in training at 4, when he took home the gold in the A.G. Vanderbilt at Saratoga.

Retired to stud in Florida, Successful Appeal went to stud at Hartley/DeRenzo Thoroughbreds-Walmac South near Ocala. From a first crop of an old-fashioned size (37 foals), Successful Appeal had 15 winners (41 percent) and six stakes winners (16 percent).

A restricted stakes winner at 2, Closing Argument is one of six stakes winners sired by Successful Appeal. The other five include Lunarpal and Punch Appeal.

The stallion's first season of runners created some serious statistics, and with those results and having the lead in gross earnings among freshmen sires last season, Successful Appeal made the trip up Interstate 75 from Ocala to Lexington.

After four seasons at stud in Florida, Successful Appeal will stand his fifth season at the Walmac Farm of Jones and Robert Trussell in Kentucky for a fee of $25,000 live foal.

Or, it would be $25,000 if a breeder could find a season.

Jones said, "We've been full on seasons at the farm since the November sale." He said that there are a few shareholder seasons that have been offered on the private-season market at $40,000 with no guarantee of a live foal, "and after Closing Argument's race, they'll probably get that."

Considering the current demand for seasons to Successful Appeal, the pricing last fall may prove a bargain for breeders. Jones said he does not mind pricing the horse under the market's current demand. He said: "It's kind of nice to see breeders getting a deal that might let them make some good money selling yearlings. And it will work for us, too, because it'll help keep the horse popular."

Owners of nice yearlings and 2-year-olds by Successful Appeal will not have to worry about making money. At the Ocala Breeders' Sales Company's auction of select 2-year-olds in training last week at Calder Racecourse, a pair of juveniles in training by Successful Appeal did quite well.

Hip No. 118, a colt consigned by Nick de Meric, agent, brought $170,000 from Eric Fein after working a furlong in 10.60 seconds at the sale's first under-tack show, and Hip No. 135, a filly consigned by Terry Oliver, agent, brought $200,000 from Ocala Horses LLC after equalling the best time of the day, running a furlong in 10.20 seconds.

Later at the sale, Hip No. 197, a chestnut half-sister to Closing Argument by Yes It's True, brought $225,000 from Mike Ryan, agent. That is a much better price than her half-brother brought. He sold twice as a yearling for $10,000 and then $25,000, going to Donna Wormser the second time, and then sold at the OBS April sale of 2-year-olds in training last year for $100,000.

This filly is the second foal out of the Mr. Greeley mare Mrs. Greeley. Closing Argument is the mare's first foal and also is the first stakes winner out of a Mr. Greeley mare. Both Closing Argument and his half-sister were bred in Florida by France and Irwin Weiner.

Mrs. Greeley has a gray yearling colt by the Danzig stallion Exchange Rate.