Updated on 09/18/2011 2:46AM

Deputy Commander an ambitious import


The relocation of Deputy Commander from Kentucky to Ballena Vista Farm for the 2007 breeding season came about as the result of an offhand conversation between Donald Cohn, the owner of Ballena Vista, and Brereton Jones, the former governor of Kentucky who stood Deputy Commander at his Airdrie Stud in Midway, Ky.

"They weren't actually trying to sell the stallion," Cohn recalled earlier this month, but Deputy Commander "wasn't being marketed by Jones."

A deal ensued and Deputy Commander was sold and arrived at Ballena Vista Farm in Ramona, Calif., earlier this year. He joins Beau Genius and Sea of Secrets on the farm's stallion roster.

"It's hard to pry the top stallions out of Kentucky," Cohn said, referring to Deputy Commander. "They don't want to let them go. We were looking for a high-caliber, established sire."

Cohn is hoping that Deputy Commander can have a quick impact in California.

Deputy Commander is having an outstanding year at stud, with more than $3 million in progeny earnings through mid-December. He gives California breeders a rare shot to breed to the winner of the prestigious Travers Stakes.

Deputy Commander, a 12-year-old son of Deputy Minister-Anka Germania, by Malinowski, will stand for $10,500. He will be one of only a few stallions in California standing for $10,000 or more.

Cohn does not envision Deputy Commander attracting a large book of mares, at least not by national standards.

"We thought that his breeding will fit California well, and there is room for him here," he said. "We think 60 mares is a reasonable number. We think there will be interest for him."

Deputy Commander won 4 of 13 starts and $1,906,640 in a two-year career in 1997-98. Trained by Wally Dollase, Deputy Commander had his best season at 3, winning the Grade 1 Travers, Grade 1 Super Derby at Louisiana Downs, and Grade 3 Affirmed Handicap at Hollywood Park.

In addition, he finished second to Skip Away in the Breeders' Cup Classic at Hollywood Park.

Aside from being by top stallion Deputy Minister, Deputy Commander has an outstanding female line. Anka Germania was a brilliant turf mare in the late 1980's, when she was a multiple graded stakes winner. One of the highlights of her career was a win against males in the 1988 Sword Dancer Handicap.

At stud, Deputy Commander is the rare Travers winner to sire a Travers winner, Ten Most Wanted, who won the race in 2003. He is also the sire of the Japanese multiple stakes winner and millionaire Grab Your Heart.

This year, Deputy Commander has had six stakes winners. Among them are Deputy Glitters, winner of the Ohio Derby, and Roman Commander, winner of the Real Quiet Stakes at Hollywood Park in November. Roman Commander finished third in the Grade 1 Hollywood Futurity on Dec. 16.

Ballena Vista "breeds to sell," Cohn said. In 2006, Deputy Commander's yearlings averaged $41,881 at sale, or four times his $10,000 stud fee.

"He seems to put out some very correct horses," Cohn said. "He's having a helluva year."