11/17/2005 12:00AM

From claimer to $800K broodmare


Ashado's $9 million price at Keeneland's November auction last week grabbed the big headlines, but New Englanders' attention was caught by a different mare in the sale that weekend. Satin Sunrise, a former $4,500 claimer at Suffolk Downs and Rockingham Park, left the Fasig-Tipton ring as an $800,000 broodmare in foal to 2003 Horse of the Year Mineshaft.

The improbable rags-to-riches climb began in 1992 when Satin Sunrise started out in cheap maiden races, eventually being claimed for $4,500 and $9,000 tags and landing in trainer Kevin Clark's barn. He managed to find the spark that turned her around, getting her to win three straight allowance races and earn black type when she won the $25,000 My Fair Lady Stakes in 1995.

Satin Sunrise maxed out in New England and became a popular commodity, at one point being claimed back and forth by Clark, Ray Stifano, and eventually Frank Passero after she ran at Gulfstream in 1996. While moving from barn to barn in Florida, she had four wins and a second-place finish in five starts.

When Satin Sunrise retired in 1997, she had won 23 of her 76 races and earned dates with top sires. Her first foal, by French Deputy, was named French Satin and won the 2001 Florida Oaks, but her big baby came when she and Tale of the Cat produced 2004 Haskell winner and Derby runner-up Lion Heart.

Consignor Michael Barnett's Blackburn Farm sold Satin Sunrise to bloodstock agent Ben Walden Jr.

Auntie Millie takes on the boys

Auntie Millie could be as surprising a winner in Saturday's $40,000 Norman Hall Stakes as she was two weeks ago in the Amelia Peabody as she attempts to sweep the 2-year-old stakes for Mass-breds.

With eight races under her belt, Auntie Millie is again the most experienced horse in the field. That came in handy when she ran down the green Sassy Splash in the Peabody. Strawbrysundance, Caller Sara Kate, and Flirt for Fame all join Auntie Millie in taking on the boys in the Norman Hall.

Flirt for Fame will try to make up for a disappointing run at odds-on for trainer Mike Gorham in her last race. She is coupled with another major player in the race, Sprinkle of Gold. A son of 1997 Massachusetts Handicap runner-up Formal Gold, Sprinkle of Gold sandwiched two victories around a three-month layoff with a 5 1/4-length score in his return Oct. 19.

Thunda Bolt will try to win the Norman Hall in his career debut, but he has the family history to back up the attempt. His dam, Roberta's Thunder, is a half to 1997 winner Scarlet Stanley and 2000 winner Jini's Jet.

First-timer Silky Fredie and Monster Truck complete the field.

Slots bill dead; simulcast in limbo

Slots are dead in the Massachusetts legislature for this year after the state's House of Representatives failed to take up a heavily lobbied-for bill that had already passed the state Senate.

Track owners took encouragement from the support shown by Senate president Robert Travaglini, whose district covers Suffolk and Wonderland Greyhound Park, but they now face a more pressing concern in securing the renewal of legislation that allows for simulcasting.

Track owners gambled on tying the simulcasting laws to the slots bill in the hopes of forcing the legislature's hand, but they now have to hope a separate bill can be passed in informal sessions before the laws sunset at the end of the year.

* Suffolk's season will now run through Nov. 23, with the addition of three days to make up for cancellations.