09/12/2003 12:00AM

Buy the Sport fulfills breeder's dreams


Pat Calandro hadn't seen Buy the Sport since she sold the New York-bred filly as a yearling two years ago at Saratoga.

When Calandro found out that Buy the Sport, who had been running in Europe, was entered in last Saturday's $250,000 Gazelle Handicap at Belmont Park, she immediately made plans to go to the track to see her run.

It was worth the 140-mile round-trip drive from her farm in Holmes, N.Y., because Buy the Sport provided Calandro with her first Grade 1 win as a breeder.

"It was like winning the Breeders' Cup," Calandro said of Buy the Sport's upset in the Gazelle at odds of 48-1. "To tell you the truth, when I looked at her form I thought, 'She hasn't been doing that great on the grass.' Then I saw her best race was on the dirt. I figured the trainer knew something."

Calandro owns the 30-acre Barely Able Farm in Dutchess County. Buy the Sport, a daughter of Devil's Bag nicknamed as a baby "Devil Dog" by Calandro, was foaled at Barely Able. The farm is the home of Buy the Sport's dam, Final Accord, and two other mares owned by Calandro.

"It's a backyard farm; it's nothing fancy," she said. "When I bought it, I turned the three-car garage into stalls."

Calandro's daughter, Judi Nelson, discovered Final Accord when she was working at John Hettinger's Akindale Farm in Pawling, N.Y., not far from her mother's farm. Nelson broke Final Accord, who was owned by Hettinger's son, Bill, when the filly was a yearling. The younger Hettinger told Nelson that if Final Accord didn't make it as a racehorse, he would give her the filly. After winning one race in five starts, Final Accord suffered an injury and was retired and given to Nelson.

Calandro, who worked as the stallion manager at Sugar Maple Farm in Poughquag for 13 years, said her daughter had hoped to retrain Final Accord as a show horse, but the filly was too temperamental.

Instead, Calandro arranged for Final Accord, a daughter of D'Accord, to be bred to Sugar Maple stallion Sir Harry Lewis. The resulting foal, Try N Sue, was given to the farm's owner, Howard Kaskel, to race in exchange for a breeding season to Distinctive Pro.

Try N Sue, a restricted stakes winner, earned $236,590 during three seasons on the track. Final Accord's third foal, Winter Dreams, a filly by Distinctive Pro, was sold by Calandro and became a restricted stakes winner for her owner, John Confort.

Calandro didn't have enough money to breed Final Accord in 1997 and leased the mare to Sugar Maple, which bred her to Husband. The resulting colt, named Haggs Castle, was sold by Sugar Maple to Confort and is a restricted stakes winner of $259,613.

Buy the Sport is Final Accord's sixth foal. Calandro decided to go above the usual budget she spends on a stud fee and bred Final Accord to the 1983 champion 2-year-old colt Devil's Bag, who stood for $12,500 at Claiborne Farm in Kentucky.

In 2001, Calandro, Nelson, and Calandro's friend, Marcy Roberts, consigned Buy the Sport to Fasig-Tipton's preferred yearling sale in Saratoga. Eddie Woods, a pinhooker, bought her for $82,000. The following year, Woods sold Buy the Sport at Fasig-Tipton's Calder February sale for $155,000. She was bought by Brian Meehan, who trained her in England for Gold Group International. Last month, Peter Minikes privately purchased Buy the Sport to race her in the United States.

Final Accord is in foal to last year's Eclipse Award sprint champion, Orientate. The 14-year-old mare has a yearling filly by Peaks and Valleys. Calandro said after Buy the Sport's Gazelle win that she has received offers to sell the yearling, who is at Barely Able. "We've never kept any of Final Accord's foals," Calandro said. "Maybe this time we will."

That might not be such a bad idea, considering Final Accord's produce record.