09/05/2002 11:00PM

Cal. breeding: Great year for the late Bold Badgett

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DEL MAR, Calif. - Bud Johnston can only shake his head in frustration when reminded that the late stallion Bold Badgett is having his best season at stud this year.

Earlier this year, Bold Badgett was euthanized after complications set in following corrective surgery on a leg he initially injured as a yearling. At the time, the 17-year-old Bold Badgett had completed his fifth year at stud at Johnston's Old English Rancho in Sanger, Calif. The success of his foals on California's racetracks was attracting attention, a trend that has continued in recent months.

Through Thursday, Bold Badgett's foals had earned $1.4 million this year of the stallion's total earnings of $6 million. This year's earnings are remarkable when compared with earnings from recent years.

"We could have bred 100 mares to him this year," Johnston said.

Led by Breeders' Cup Sprint candidate Disturbingthepeace, Bold Badgett should finish the year among California's leading stallions.

For many years, Bold Badgett was marketed as a full-brother to Desert Wine, but recently his runners have held their own.

The stallion is also represented by Stoney, the winner of two allowance races at Del Mar and a candidate for the California Cup Sprint; and Amber Hills, who finished second in the Generous Portion Stakes for statebred 2-year-old fillies last Wednesday. Earlier on Wednesday, Bold Badgett had two winners at Del Mar - Lucky in Love in a $50,000 maiden race and Bold Mango in a $32,000 starter allowance.

For Johnston, there will be some consolation in the next two years. "He's got a good crop of yearlings and weanlings," Johnston said. "But those are the last ones. He's like a great painter. Everything is worth more after they die."

In Excess well represented

The stallion In Excess will be represented by at least three 2-year-olds in Monday's $100,000 I'm Smokin Stakes for statebreds at Del Mar.

Jury Box, second in the $125,000 Graduation Stakes on July 31, is the likely favorite and the most accomplished of the three In Express colts. Trained by D. Wayne Lukas, Jury Box won a maiden race at Hollywood Park in his fourth start on June 30.

Expression, third in the Graduation, and Excessive Barb, the winner of a claiming race for maidens, are the other expected starters by In Excess.

The field will also include Martinblestme, Noble Silence, Only the Best, Siberland, and Unfurl the Flag.

Noble Silence is a well-regarded maiden winner by Elusive Quality. Owned by a partnership, he won his career debut by a half-length at Hollywood Park on July 21.

Run over six furlongs, the I'm Smokin is restricted to nonwinners of a first-place purse of $35,000 other than closed or claiming. The conditions eliminate Icecoldbeeratreds, the winner of the Graduation Stakes who is being pointed for Wednesday's $250,000 Del Mar Futurity.

Mind for Gold retired

Mind for Gold, who was stakes-placed against California-breds three times in her career, has been retired, trainer Peter Eurton said. The 6-year-old Mind for Gold made her final start on Aug. 9, winning a $70,000 allowance race for fillies and mares at Del Mar. She was being pointed for a fall campaign in statebred stakes when she suffered a slight injury.

Trainer Peter Eurton said Mind for Gold would need 45 days of recuperation before she could resume training, which would eliminate a start on California Cup Day, Nov. 2.

Owned by Frank and Sharon Alesia, Mind for Gold won 6 of 24 starts and $334,103.

Although no definite breeding plans have been arranged, Mind for Gold may be bred to Skimming, Eurton said. Skimming will stand his first year at stud in 2003 at Cardiff Stud. He won consecutive runnings of the Pacific Classic in 2000 and 2001.