12/12/2003 12:00AM

Cannatas clear out bloodstock; make plans outside racing

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INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Carl and Olivia Cannata will sell 65 horses at the Barretts January mixed sale, a dispersal that will largely end an involvement in racing that has stretched more than two decades and included the breeding of an Eclipse Award winner.

Carl Cannata said the decision to sell nearly all of their bloodstock was reached when real estate developers made the Cannatas an offer on their Riverside County property, Lakeview Thoroughbred Farm. They rejected similar bids in the late 1980's for the 160-acre property, he said.

"The last real-estate boom, we had people knocking the door down 12-15 years ago," Carl Cannata said. "My wife and I are both in our 80's. We're active and we enjoy the horse business, but we said, 'The time has come.'

"I used to be in the automobile business, and we did a lot of travel all over the world. Since I've been full-time in the horse business for the last four or five years, we don't go anywhere. We've been all over the world, and there are places we'd like to go back and visit again."

The Cannatas were named the 2001 California Breeders of the Year by the California Thoroughbred Breeders Association, the season Gourmet Girl was honored with an Eclipse Award as the nation's outstanding older filly or mare.

The Cannatas bred Gourmet Girl, who ended her career racing for Gary Tanaka. Gourmet Girl won 9 of 33 starts, including the Apple Blossom and Vanity handicaps in 2001, and earned $1,255,373.

In a way, Gourmet Girl's championship season was a bonus. Tanaka had decided to retire her after the Apple Blossom and breed her to War Chant. She stayed in training after scoring an impressive win in the Apple Blossom, and the win in the Vanity Handicap came two months later.

"How many breeders get an Eclipse Award winner, especially from California?" said Carl Cannata. "We're proud of what we've done with our limited resources and limited pedigree that we've had."

The dispersal will be part of the mixed sale on Jan. 26-27. The dispersal includes 27 broodmares, 19 yearlings (currently weanlings), seven 2-year-olds (currently yearlings), and a few horses of racing age. Currently, the Cannatas have four horses in training at Hollywood Park and may keep a few others that were not included in the dispersal.

"We've got a couple of horses at the racetrack that we may keep," Cannata said.

"Our intent is to dispose of as many as we can. We may have some left over. We may get horses we don't get a bid on. I can't turn my back on them."

The Cannatas will retain Category Five, an 8-year-old stallion whose first foals are 2-year-olds. By Storm Cat, Category Five will be relocated to Sue Hubbard and Associates Farm in Paso Robles.

Category Five has had six starters, four of which are winners. Edgerrin, the most prominent of the winners, is unbeaten in three starts and has won two stakes at Hoosier Park in Indiana.

"We're pleased with what he's done with limited exposure," Carl Cannata said. "We think he has a tremendous future."

The dispersal will include broodmares by Affirmed as well as Rhondaling, a 6-year-old half-sister to Gourmet Girl. Rhondaling was winless on the racetrack.

"We have some young mares that didn't go to the racetrack," said Carl Cannata. "Most of our mares were bred to Category Five."

The horses of racing age include Starlit Night, an unraced 3-year-old by Affirmed.

"We debated whether to take him to the races," he said. "He's in the sale."