12/03/2002 12:00AM

Dehere's absence reverberates

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LAS VEGAS - Last weekend's stakes for juveniles once again underscored the loss of Dehere to Japan. Soto was impressive winning the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes, and the third-place finish of Outta Here in the Generous Stakes on the turf showed the versatility Dehere has been known for as a sire.

A champion at 2, when he captured the Champagne, Hopeful, Saratoga Special, and Sanford stakes, Dehere has had a solid, if not spectacular, career as a stallion. His many stakes runners include Arrested Dreams, Belle of Perintown, Easyfromthegitgo, Finality, Graeme Hall, Her She Kisses, Here's Zealous, Millencolin, Millions, Miss Seffens, One Colony, Outta Here, Puxa Saco, Shooter, Shop Here, Soto, Take Charge Lady, Warner's, and What a Bad Day.

By the hugely successful Deputy Minister out of a Secretariat mare, Dehere has offspring who are proficient on all surfaces - dirt, wet tracks, and especially turf. Most of his runners are blessed with speed and are able to carry their speed middle distances. Runners like Arrested Dreams, Graeme Hall, Here's Zealous, Miss Seffens, Warner's, and Take Charge Lady were known for their high speed, while Finality and One Colony were most effective on grass.

Soto, who rallied off a fast pace in the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes at 1 1/16 miles, is out of the Crafty Prospector mare Subtle Fragrance, and is bred more for speed than stamina. But under the care of master horseman Michael Dickinson, Soto just may be able to stretch out beyond his brilliant pedigree. Soto's damsire, Crafty Prospector (Mr. Prospector), and second damsire, Wing Out (Boldnesian), are strictly speed influences, but there is back class in this pedigree. His second dam, My Red Wing, is a half-sister to multiple stakes winner Bet Big, whose victories include the Paterson Stakes and Carter Handicap. Bet Big also placed in the Woodward Stakes, Haskell Invitational, Ohio Derby, and Arlington Classic.

Outta Here, who finished third in the Generous Stakes in his first start on turf, was bred to love grass. Along with the Northern Dancer influence from Dehere's sire line, Outta Here's second dam is by Danzig, making him inbred to Northern Dancer, the greatest turf influence of the last 30 years, and his third dam is by turf and stamina influence Le Fabuleux. Outta Here's third dam, Fabuleux Jane, is the dam of Danseur Fabuleux, the dam of Arazi, as well as stakes winners Noverre and Colombus Day. This prolific female family produced the recent Japan Cup Dirt winner, Eagle Cafe, as well as Let, Joyeux Danseur, Native Partner, Ajdal, Spectacular Bev, Sterling Pound, Exchange Rate, Formidable, and Dance Partner.

Congaree finds his distance

Congaree's tour de force in the Cigar Mile was reminiscent of his form in his 3-year-old season, when he won the Swaps and Wood Memorial stakes and finished third in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes.

Tried at various distances and surfaces, Congaree had not shown the same brilliance until last Saturday's Cigar Mile. A true sprinter/miler, Congaree is simply head and shoulders above his competition up to one mile, and as stated by trainer Bob Baffert, his main goal next year will be the Metropolitan Handicap, one of the world's most prestigious mile stakes.

Congaree is by Arazi, the 1991 2-year-old champion off the most dazzling Breeders' Cup Juvenile ever. Forced to compete in the Kentucky Derby despite surgery between his juvenile and 3-year-old seasons and insufficient seasoning, Arazi was off the board as the Derby favorite and has received a bum rap ever since.

Instead of being remembered for his brilliance, Arazi is unjustly known as a failure because of the Derby debacle. But as a stallion, Arazi had another chance to shine, and Congaree is a shining example. While Arazi (by Blushing Groom out of a Northern Dancer mare) has gotten runners who are best suited to turf, Congaree has displayed his sire's affinity for dirt, and at his best, Congaree is a very gifted animal.

More winners for Elusive Quality

It has been a sensational year for this year's freshman sires. At last count, Distorted Humor held a very narrow lead over Elusive Quality by total progeny earnings, but Elusive Quality added two more winners on Nov. 30 to bring his total to 19.

Although the exploits of his first crop have been well-documented, those who follow pedigree handicapping have been amply rewarded. Great Notion, making his debut at Churchill Downs last Saturday, was inexplicably dismissed at 26-1 and led every step in the six-furlong maiden race to score by a nose, paying $54.20.

Great Notion's dam, Evening Primrose (Dayjur), is a half-sister to Talinum. At Philadelphia Park, Novice, a filly by Elusive Quality out of the Pleasant Colony mare Pleasant Key, won a maiden race by 5 1/2 lengths as the 4-5 favorite. Novice is from the family that produced Silver Ghost, Minstrella, Misty Gallore, and Star of Atticus.