Updated on 09/16/2011 8:49AM

Cal. breeding: Summer Wind Dancer gets tested for class


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Summer Wind Dancer has grown out of the California-bred 2-year-old filly division this fall.

After winning the Cover Gal Stakes and California Cup Juvenile Fillies during the Oak Tree at Santa Anita meeting, Summer Wind Dancer will reappear in the Hollywood Starlet Stakes over 1 1/16 miles next Saturday. The Starlet is led by Composure, the runner-up in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies at Arlington Park in October.

Despite the jump in competition, the owners of Summer Wind Dancer - Richard and Yvette Wira and Linda Vetter - are ready to take the chance.

"This is a huge step up for her and we know that," Yvette Wira said. "If we're every going to do something we might as well try something at 2 when she's doing so well."

The Wiras and Vetter bred Summer Wind Dancer with Deborah Penny. The filly is the result of the mating of Siberian Summer and Native Wind Dancer, whom the Wiras and Vetter campaigned as part of a partnership group. When Native Wind Dancer was injured in training and retired, the Wiras and Vetter were the only ones interested in keeping her as a broodmare.

Summer Wind Dancer is Native Wind Dancer's first winner. From the start, Summer Wind Dancer was a personable filly, Wira said.

"We saw her when she was a few hours old," she said. "She's always been very, very special. She likes people. When you go into the fields with the mares, she'd follow me around like a puppy. I think she realized that I had the carrots."

Six months after she was foaled in California, Summer Wind Dancer was sent to the Wiras' farm in Midway, Ky., Valley View Farms. "She got the winter, the good grass, and the hills," Wira said.

Native Wind Dancer has since returned to California and is at Creston Stud Farm. She was bred to Wild Rush last year and will be bred to Siberian Summer in 2003, Wira said.

Summer Wind Dancer joined Sahadi's stable earlier this year and has won 3 of 4 starts and $164,385. The filly's sole loss was a third in the Generous Portion Stakes at Del Mar.

Her victory in the California Cup Juvenile Fillies was a surprise to her owners. After appearing to be beaten on the final turn, Summer Wind Dancer unleashed a rally that caught 33-1 Buttertart, who had a three-length lead at the eighth pole.

"We thought, 'Well, we've got a second,' " Wira recalled. "There was no way we thought she would make up that much ground. She always does exactly enough. She's our star."

Worldly Manner comes to Creston

Creston has added Worldly Manner to its stallion roster for the 2003 season.

The 6-year-old Worldly Manner previously stood at stud at Wycombe House Stud in Fla., for a fee of $7,500. His fee at Creston will be $5,000.

A winner of 3 of 10 starts and $251,857, Worldly Manner is best known for being purchased privately by Godolphin Racing following a victory in the 1998 Del Mar Futurity.

He never won again. Seventh in the 1999 Kentucky Derby, Worldly Manner later was campaigned in Europe and Dubai, finishing last in the Dubai World Cup in 2000.

Sheikh Mohammed's Darley Stud Management retains ownership of Worldly Manner.

Al Skywalker goes to England

Al Skywalker, the California-bred who has risen to prominence as a steeplechaser in recent years, will make his European debut in next Saturday's $117,000 Victor Chandler Bula Hurdle at Cheltenham, England.

The 9-year-old Al Skywalker has won two stakes in 2002 - the National Hunt Cup at Radnor, Pa., and the Appleton Stakes at Far Hills, N.J.

A half-interest in Al Skywalker was recently acquired by Michael Watt from owner-trainer Jennifer Majette. There is a chance that Al Skywalker could remain in England following the Bula Hurdle and be pointed to a race at the prestigious National Hunt Festival in England in March.

The Bula Hurdle is run over 2 1/8 miles.

* Rich Decker, an executive at two Kentucky farms in recent years, has joined Vessels Stallion Farm in Bonsall, Calif., as a breeding farm manager. Decker previously worked as general manager of Prestonwood Farms and president of WinStar Farm in Kentucky.