09/03/2004 12:00AM

Clark's memorial draws big crowd

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LEXINGTON, Ky. - The long influence of William G. Clark Sr. was obvious Thursday at the late horseman's graveside funeral. More than 150 mourners crowded the narrow lanes of Lexington Cemetery, including, it seemed, most of the town of Midway, Ky., where Clark had lived for about 50 years.

"There's no one left in Midway today but the fire chief," one attendee said, looking around the crowd that had come to pay its respects and tell stories about Clark, who died Aug. 30 of complications from diabetes.

Clark is best known as the co-breeder of 1972 champion sprinter Chou Croute and as the man who selected and bought 1960 Kentucky Derby winner Venetian Way for owner Isaac Blumberg of Sunny Blue Stables. He also bought Lincoln Road, runner-up to Tim Tam in the 1958 Derby, for Blumberg.

Airdrie Stud owner and former Kentucky Governor Brereton C. Jones, who gave the eulogy, called Clark "one of the great characters of the game." Noting the presence of one of Clark's former clients, Padua Stables owner Satish Sanan - who has called on the Thoroughbred industry to establish and enforce a formal code of ethics for bloodstock transactions - Jones said, "No code of ethics could ever be stronger than Bill Clark's word."

Clark brought Sanan into the business back in 1997, advising him in his early purchases before Sanan hired trainer D. Wayne Lukas. Although Clark was no longer a formal advisor to Padua, the two men remained on warm terms.

"Being at a sale with Bill could be a pain, because he knew everybody, and they would all stop to say hello to him," Sanan recalled. "You'd be trying to talk about horses, and you couldn't. He knew everybody."

One of the people Clark knew from years back was Mackenzie Miller, who was a young man, newly married, and struggling to build a stable, when Clark first sent him a couple of horses in the early 1950's.

"I've known Bill since I was a kid," Miller said recently. "When I got to Belmont Park in New York, Bill called and told me, 'I've got an old friend named Mrs. Jane Goodwin who has two fillies to send you.' I told Bill, 'You don't know how hungry I am. I really need them.' One of them was a 3-year-old that won a couple of stakes for us, and the other was an allowance winner. A little later, he sent me a Kentucky Colonel colt he had for a West Virginia doctor, and that one won a stake, too. Those two horses of Mrs. Goodwin's really laid the foundation for better times for me, and I got to be a little bit better trainer, too.

"Wherever I went, if Bill happened to be in the same place, we would always get together and shoot the bull," Miller added. "I'm going to miss him."

Candy Ride to stand for $10,000

Candy Ride, who retired from racing this week, will arrive at John Sikura's Hill 'n' Dale Farm in Lexington on Wednesday.

His fee for the 2005 season, Sikura said, will be $10,000. "That's in keeping with our philosophy of trying to provide value for the customer," Sikura said. "People often forget that the stud fee is just one incremental expense in the total cost of raising a horse. When breeders leave your place of business thinking they've gotten a superior product at a great price, they tend to return."

Sikura said he'd like to breed "about 100 nice mares" to Candy Ride in 2005, though he hasn't set a specific cap on Candy Ride's book. So far, he said, early interest has been strong. "I've gotten numerous requests, some from California trainers," Sikura said.

That's no surprise. Candy Ride, an undefeated Grade 1 winner in Argentina, arrived in California last year at age 4. He made just three starts there but won them all, including the Pacific Classic.

Christmas Bonus dead at 26

Edward Evans's prolific broodmare Christmas Bonus died Aug. 18 at age 26, ending a remarkable breeding career that produced five stakes winners and, one generation later, a top young sire.

Cynthia Phipps bred Christmas Bonus, a daughter of Key to the Mint and Sugar Plum Time, by Bold Ruler. Phipps sold her to Glencrest Farm owner David Greathouse, who later sold her to the partnership of Will Farish and Warner Jones Jr. Though Christmas Bonus was a stakes winner she showed her greatest value once she retired to the breeding shed. Farish's Lane's End Farm sold her first foal, the English winner Yaqut, for $2.5 million at the 1984 Keeneland July sale.

From her 12 foals to race, Christmas Bonus produced 11 winners. The first to earn black type was Bright Candles, who won or placed in nine stakes. Runner-up in the 1990 Santa Anita Oaks and third in the Kentucky Oaks, she went on to produce Grand Slam, now a popular sire for Coolmore Stud.

Christmas Bonus's other stakes winners are Grade 3 winner Christmas Gift; Bonus Money, who also placed in Grade 1 company; Iron County Xmas, a steeplechase stakes winner; and Shebl, who won stakes in the United Arab Emirates and placed in group company in England.

Evans campaigned Christmas Gift, whom he bought as a yearling in 1993. He bought Christmas Bonus the following year at the Keeneland November mixed sale for $500,000.