04/26/2005 11:00PM

Dear Birdie chosen as top broodmare

Dear Birdie, the dam of Kentucky Oaks winner Bird Town and Belmont Stakes winner Birdstone, has produced 10 winners, all by different sires.

LEXINGTON, Ky. - Dear Birdie, the dam of Grade 1 winners Bird Town and Birdstone, has been named broodmare of the year by the Kentucky Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders.

Dear Birdie's owner, Marylou Whitney, bred both Bird Town, the 2003 champion 3-year-old filly and Kentucky Oaks winner, and Birdstone, the 2004 Belmont and Travers stakes winner.

Dear Birdie, a Storm Bird mare, has produced 10 winners from 10 starters so far, all by different sires. Her most successful matings have been with stallions from the late W.T. Young's Overbrook Farm.

Whitney considered Young a close friend. In a way, Dear Birdie favored both Whitney and Young through her success with Overbrook's young stallions Cape Town, sire of Bird Town, and Grindstone, sire of Birdstone. Dear Birdie also produced a stakes-placed runner, So Long Birdie, by Overbrook stallion Pioneering. That colt was bred by Lev Miller, to whom Whitney's husband, John Hendrickson, says she gave Dear Birdie briefly.

Dear Birdie's foals also include the Mt. Livermore filly Mountain Bird, runner-up in Keeneland's Grade 2 Beaumont Stakes in 2001.

Dear Birdie is an 18-year-old daughter of Storm Bird and the Silent Screen mare Hush Dear.

Dear Birdie's award was presented at the KTOB's annual awards luncheon at Keeneland on Wednesday. The ceremony also honored Aaron and Marie Jones with the P.A.B. Widener Trophy, its highest breeding honor. The Joneses bred two 2004 champions, sprinter Speightstown and 3-year-old filly Ashado, as well as 2004 stakes winners Frenchglen and Forest Grove.

Diane Perkins of Wimborne Farm received the 2004 Hardboot Breeder Award as small breeder of the year.

Statebred champions were Ghostzapper, horse of the year; Wilko, juvenile male; Sweet Catomine, juvenile filly; Birdstone, 3-year-old male; Ashado, 3-year-old filly; Ghostzapper, handicap male; Azeri, handicap female; Kitten's Joy, turf male; Wonder Again, turf female; Speightstown, sprinter; Shamardal, Kentucky-bred racing abroad; and McDynamo, steeplechaser.

Kentucky Thoroughbred Development Fund Award winners were Overbrook Farm, leading owner; Brereton C. Jones Jr., leading breeder; Dale Romans, leading trainer; A.P. Indy, leading sire; and Miss Wellspring, leading KTDF earner.

Seabiscuit, the subject of a bestselling book and a feature film in recent years, was named recipient of the Charles Engelhard Award for media service to the Thoroughbred industry.

Ireland gets two new rich races

Irish-based auction house Goffs has announced that it will establish two new races, the richest 2-year-old races in Europe to date, next year for sales graduates: the $2 million Goffs Million for colts and fillies, and the $1 million Fillies Five Hundred for fillies only. Both will be seven-furlong races run in September 2006, at The Curragh in County Kildare, Ireland, and purses will be distributed through sixth place. Runners must be graduates of the Goffs Million yearling auction set for Sept. 26-28 at the Goffs facility in Kill, County Kildare.

The races' purses will be paid in euros. One million euros, worth $1.29 million, will go to the winner of the Goffs Million, with 600,000 euros ($775,998) distributed among second- to sixth-place finishers. The total value of the Fillies Five Hundred is 800,000 euros ($1.03 million), with 500,000 euros ($646,687) of that going to the winner.

The races will be limited to 30 runners each, and Goffs will guarantee the purses.