01/27/2010 1:00AM

Curlin's stud fee drops to $40,000


LEXINGTON, Ky. - In the latest sign that the economy continues to take a toll on breeding activity, majority owner Jess Jackson announced Wednesday that he'll reduce the stud fee for two-time Horse of the Year Curlin.

Curlin's new 2010 fee will be $40,000, a 33 percent cut from his originally advertised $60,000 fee.

Curlin will stand his second year this season at Lane's End Farm in Versailles, Ky.

"We are delighted with the three Curlin foals that we've seen so far and are eagerly awaiting our homebred Curlin babies," Jackson said in a statement Lane's End released. "We also know that times are tough for our friends in the breeding business."

Jackson said the decision came about "to continue to attract the best book of mares for Curlin and further help our breeders."

Curlin stands at Lane's End alongside his sire, Smart Strike, who will have a $75,000 fee this year.

The credit crunch and severe declines in bloodstock values have cut breeding activity in the last year. Kentucky had a 3.5 percent decline in its active Thoroughbred stallion population during the 2009 breeding season, and the number of mares those sires covered collectively fell by 10.6 percent.

Incentives offered for Ready's Image

As stud farms continue to look for innovative ways to attract mares, the syndicate that stands Ready's Image at Walmac Farm in Lexington is offering a breeding incentive specifically for regional breeders who might be interested in breeding to the second-year stallion.

The 5-year-old More Than Ready son is advertised as standing for an $8,500 fee, and according to an e-mail Walmac sent to breeders Wednesday, approved mares in out-of-state breeding programs can be eligible for such incentives as free shipping to and from Lexington and as many as 100 days of board at Terrazas Thoroughbreds at Overbrook Farm. Also included: routine veterinary work and hoof trimming while the mare is in Kentucky.

"We know that, for mid-range Kentucky stallions, a lot of mares traditionally come from regional markets," said Alan Porter, who is reviewing mares for Ready's Image. "But in the current financial climate, a lot of people are rethinking shipping to Kentucky because of the costs involved. This makes it possible for someone who might not have come and bred in Kentucky to come after all.

"You're not going to get in with just a pulse and an ovary," he said. "It is for approved mares, and we expect to take about 20. We might take more if it goes well."

Porter said the incentive will help Ready's Image by expanding his mare pool and by putting his runners in a variety of markets.

Ready's Image is out of the Clever Trick winner Clever Phrase and is a half-brother to stakes-placed Yingyingying. He won the Grade 2 Sanford and a pair of other stakes during his racing career and earned $310,542 from 4 wins in 10 starts. He also placed in the Grade 1 Hopeful and Grade 3 Kentucky Breeders' Cup Stakes in 2007. He stood his first year at stud in 2009.

* Thoroughbred Charities of America is now accepting grant applications for 2010 from 501(c)(3) charities whose work fulfills the TCA's mission of "providing a better life for Thoroughbreds, both during and after their racing careers by supporting retirement, rescue, and research, and by helping the people who work with them." Applications are located online at www.thoroughbredcharities.org and must be postmarked by April 1.