09/26/2005 11:00PM

Deal may be imminent for Afleet Alex at stud


LEXINGTON, Ky. - Afleet Alex, winner of this year's Preakness and Belmont, may soon have a destination for his stud career.

A 3-year-old Northern Afleet colt, Afleet Alex is attempting to come back from a hairline fracture in time for the Oct. 29 Breeders' Cup Classic. As he does so, his owners are negotiating potential deals for Afleet Alex's breeding rights that could put the colt's value as high as $20 million, according to one bloodstock agent who has been involved in discussions with the owners.

On Tuesday, a number of reports on the Internet speculated that Tony Ryan's Castleton Lyons was a leading bidder for the horse. Castleton Lyons, the Lexington nursery, stands Malibu Moon, Action This Day, Bernstein, and Toccet. Jamie LaMonica, a Castleton Lyons representative who handles stallion acquisitions for the farm, declined to comment Tuesday. Afleet Alex is owned in partnership by Cash Is King Stables. Chuck Zacney, the stable's managing partner, did not return a phone call seeking comment Tuesday.

But Afleet Alex's trainer, Tim Ritchey, said, "There's no deal pending. I know they've talked to two or three farms, but nothing's done yet. What they're telling me is they may not even do it until next year."

Ritchey said that Cash Is King likely would sell 75 percent to 80 percent of the breeding rights in the colt.

"They tell me he would continue to race," Ritchey added. "I'm getting him ready for a fall campaign."

Afleet Alex, a son of the Hawkster mare Maggy Hawk, has so far won the Preakness and Belmont, as well as the Grade 1 Hopeful, Grade 2 Arkansas Derby and Sanford Stakes, and ungraded Mountain Valley Stakes. He was second in the Champagne and third in the Derby. He is most famous among racing fans for surviving a near fall when hampered by Scrappy T during the Preakness Stakes. Afleet Alex nearly fell to his knees before recovering to win the 1 3/16-mile race.

To date, Afleet Alex has won 8 of 12 races and more than $2.7 million in purses. He has finished second twice and third once.

- additional reporting by Jay Privman