02/22/2008 12:00AM

Denis of Cork cure for what ails

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Denis of Cork, unbeaten in three starts, is a Florida-bred colt with the credentials to become the state's seventh Kentucky Derby winner.

A bay colt by Harlan's Holiday out of Unbridled Girl, by Unbridled, Denis of Cork won the Grade 3 Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn Park last Monday for owners William and Suzanne Warren.

Foaled at and bred by Westbury Stables, a 130-acre breeding operation located a few miles north of Ocala, Fla., Denis of Cork was pinhooked out of the 2006 Ocala Breeders' Sales selected yearling sale for $120,000 and resold last year at the Barretts March 2-year-old sale for $250,000.

Westbury Stables was established a few years ago as a means of therapeutic recovery for one of its founders. Nora Figliolia - a New Yorker - was seeking a hobby while she was recovering from an illness. Her husband, Alfonso, a Manhattan industrial developer, thought that horses would suit her need, and Westbury Stables, named after a picture-book photo of an English pastoral community, was created.

"We knew very little about raising Thoroughbreds," said Nora Figliolia. "So we read, we researched, and we were fortunate in that we met and were helped along by some successful experts in the horse business."

She cites Barbara and Francis Vanlangendonck, who do business as Summerfield Sales, among those who helped her along and whose advice she took. She also credits Nick de Meric, as well as Crystal and Brent Fernung of Journeyman Farm.

Westbury Stables now has 15 broodmares on the property. These broodmares are covered in Florida and Kentucky.

Unbridled Girl, the dam of Denis of Cork, is one of the farm's prized matrons. She has no yearling and is currently not in foal, but she is sound for breeding and will be returned to Harlan's Holiday.

"We do have a 2-year-old filly by Touch Gold out of this mare," said Figliolia.

The bay filly is being sold in the Nick de Meric consignment at the OBS March sale. Also in this consignment is a colt by Dynaformer who is a half-brother to the stakes-winning Awesome Chic, and a filly by Halo's Image who is a half-sister to the French stakes winner Deep Dish Pie.

According to Figliolia, Westbury Stables has raced horses who, for whatever reason, did not sell. Those horses are sent to the Calder-based trainer Ron Spatz.

How far Denis of Cork gets on the the Triple Crown trail remains to be seen. That he's on the trail at all is a testament that one can get healthy in the horse business.

Fasig-Tipton offers 16 statebreds

Fasig-Tipton Florida holds its 2008 selected 2-year-olds in training sale beginning at 11 a.m. Tuesday at Calder Race Course. The catalog contains 270 horses, 16 of them Florida-breds.

The majority of the Florida-breds are by stallions that formerly stood in the state and have since moved on. The exception is the Ocala Stud resident Trippi, who has two colts and a filly cataloged.

Hip No. 72 is all Florida, since she is by Trippi and out of a mare who is from the family of the Ocala Stud sire Montbrook. Hip No. 132 is a half-brother by Trippi to the Grade 1 Spinaway winner Appealing Zophie. Hip No. 268 is a Trippi colt who is a full brother to the graded stakes-placed St. Joe.

* Catalogs have been shipped for the OBS March sale of selected 2-year-olds in training, to be held March 18-19. Accompanying that catalog is one for the March 17 Adena Springs auction of 2-year-olds in training, also conducted by the OBS. The OBS has cataloged 460 for its two-day auction, and Adena Springs has cataloged 136.