10/12/2006 11:00PM

Cal-breds filling out graded-level exactas


ARCADIA, Calif. - Last year, a record seven California-breds won Grade 1 races around the nation. So far this year, five California-breds have won Grade 1 or Group 1 races around the world, but they have accounted for eight Grade 1 races among them.

While time is running out to equal last year's number of individual winners at the highest level, the 2006 group have achieved a different level of success - they are often being chased home by fellow statebreds.

On Oct. 7, Bordonaro became the fifth California-bred in 2006 to win a Grade 1 in the $250,000 Ancient Title Breeders' Cup Stakes at the Oak Tree meet at Santa Anita. To accomplish the win, Bordonaro had to beat the statebred Thor's Echo, who lost by a length. It was the third time this year that California-breds had filled the top two spots or more in a Grade 1 race.

In March, Proud Tower Too, Thor's Echo, and Jet West swept the first three positions in the Group 1, $2 million Golden Shaheen Sprint in Dubai. In July at Del Mar, the statebred females Dancing Edie and Moscow Burning finished first and second in the Grade 1, $400,000 John Mabee Handicap on turf.

Earlier on the Oct. 7 program, the California-breds Lava Man and Brother Derek finished first and second in the Grade 2 Goodwood Breeders' Cup Handicap, a key prep to the $5 million Breeders' Cup Classic at Churchill Downs on Nov. 4.

The $250,000 Goodwood was the seventh consecutive win for Lava Man, the leading California-bred of 2006 in stakes wins (seven) and earnings ($2,770,000). Lava Man's win streak includes four Grade 1 races: the Santa Anita Handicap, Charles Whittingham Handicap (on turf), Hollywood Gold Cup, and Pacific Classic.

Brother Derek won the Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby in April before finishing fourth in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes.

There are not many local Grade 1's left other than the Hollywood Turf Festival in November and two Grade 1 races for 2-year-olds at Hollywood at 1o1/16 miles: the Futurity on Dec. 16 and the Starlet on Dec. 17.

Those races could feature statebred 2-year-olds such as Spot the Diplomat and Mistical Plan, who are bound for the California Cup at Santa Anita on Oct. 28.

Spot the Diplomat ran a respectable third in the Norfolk Breeders' Cup Stakes on Oct. 8. He will make his next start in the California Cup Juvenile.

Mistical Plan, the winner of the Cover Gal Stakes on Oct. 8, is bound for the California Cup Juvenile Fillies.

Celestial Being may be done racing

Celestial Being, who remained unbeaten in two starts after winning an optional claimer at the Oak Tree at Santa Anita on Wednesday, may not race again because of a tendon injury, owner-breeder Ed Allred said Friday.

Allred said Celestial Being is likely to need time off following her four-length win in a six-furlong race for statebred fillies and mares.

"It may compromise her career and it could end it," Allred said. "She's the best California-bred Thoroughbred I've ever raised. We're hoping the injury isn't career-ending."

Allred, the owner of Los Alamitos, is well-known as one of the nation's leading Quarter Horse breeders. Allred said that regardless of whether Celestial Being returns to racing, he may breed her to the Quarter Horse stallions Separatist and Walk Thru Fire and transfer the embryos to surrogate mares.

In addition, Celestial Being may be bred to a Thoroughbred stallion next year, if she does not return to racing, Allred said. The 4-year-old Celestial Being is by In Excess.