04/15/2005 12:00AM

Derby prep winners reflect positively on upcoming sale


Saturday, April 9, turned out to be a big day for Florida breeding and the 2-year-olds in training sales held in the Sunshine State. Within an hour, Bellamy Road won the Grade 1 Wood Memorial and Buzzards Bay the Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby. Both are the get of Florida stallions and both were consigned to last year's Ocala Breeders' Sales spring sale of 2-year-olds in training. And both have full siblings in this year's April 25 renewal of the OBS spring sale.

Bellamy Road was one of two sons of Concerto bought by George Steinbrenner at last April's sale. The Boss bid $87,000 to get Bellamy Road and $75,000 for an unnamed Concerto colt. He had been directed to both by the new Kinsman Farm manager, Eddie Sexton. Sexton had worked for Ocala Stud, where the two Concerto colts had been prepped for the sales.

Neither of the Concerto colts had worked particularly fast. Bellamy Road went a quarter-mile in 23.60 and the other in 23.20. There were 10 get of Concerto sold at the 2-year-old sales in 2004 and they averaged only $29,600. So whatever it was that Sexton saw in these colts, other bidders saw the same.

Bellamy Road will most likely be the Kentucky Derby favorite, but what of the other Concerto colt? The Boss is purported to have said to Sexton something like, "You picked him out so you name him." Sexton did that and gave the stablemate the name of Tir na Og. Sexton is from Ireland and the name he chose is Gaelic for land of youth or land of the young. According to Irish legend, it is the homeland of the faeries and it is where they spend their days feasting, playing, love-making, and listening to beautiful music.

Tir na Og has not made the kind of music that The Boss likes to hear. The colt, 3, won his debut, which came at Tampa Bay Downs earlier this winter. He finished third in an allowance sprint there and then finished up the track in the OBS Sprint Championship. Bellamy Road, so far, he isn't.

Buzzards Bay is the get of the itinerant stallion Marco Bay. Not too many breeders know of this stallion, as he seldom has stayed in the same breeding venue for more than a season.

"Not so, anymore," said Pete Maloy of Hidden Hills Farm in Ocala, where Marco Bay stands. "He's hot - the phone is ringing." Marco Bay's fee is $3,000.

Marco Bay is a 1990 son of the late Florida stallion Copelan. An honest if not quite prime-time racehorse, Marco Bay's high point came in 1993 with a victory in the Tampa Bay Derby. Through the years he has averaged 10 foals per crop. He has had 34 starters and 26 winners, but this is not the total picture, for Marco Bay has better than 20 percent black-type earners from starters.

Marco Bay, owned by Jay Shaw, stood at Hidden Hills, and then returned there after an unsuccessful trip to Pennsylvania.

"Jay Shaw sent him to Pennsylvania, because he thought he'd be a bigger fish in a smaller pond," Maloy said. "Didn't quite work out that way."

Marco Bay covered one mare in Pennsylvania, Lifes Lass, by Seneca Jones, the dam of Buzzards Bay, but she did not catch. So, the stallion and the mare returned to Hidden Hills Farm where they were recently reunited.

Buzzards Bay's story is as offbeat as that of his sire. The colt was offered for sale as a yearling, but failed to meet his reserve and went home for $20,000. He next showed up in April for the OBS spring auction, and after working a quarter in 23.40, .20 faster than Bellamy Road, he went home for his reserve of $6,000. Next, came the 2004 June sale, and again, while close to the number, he failed to make his reserve. So he went to the races at Calder Race Course and was later sold to the California-based Fog City Stable.

A full brother to Bellamy Road named Old Midleton, consigned by Ocala Stud, agent, will sell at this year's spring sale. Like his brother, the bay colt was bred by Julian and Diane Cotter's Snooty Fox Farm, located near Gainesville, Fla. According to an Ocala Stud spokesperson, he is a nice colt who has traits in common with his brother, but is not his mirror image.

That same afternoon a full sister to Buzzards Bay goes to auction. Her name is Marco's Flower and she is consigned by Horses of Course Inc. for breeder and owner Shaw.

* The OBS spring sale under-tack showings begin Wednesday. The 2-year-olds who sell on the first day of the sale breeze on Wednesday, those on the second day go on Thursday, and so forth.