01/19/2007 12:00AM

Distorted Humor should add right touch

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LEXINGTON, Ky. - As the certain Eclipse Award winner in the older horse division, Invasor is also the likely 2006 Horse of the Year, which will be announced Monday night.

Partially in response to Invasor's success in the U.S., Alessandro Miserocchi, the breeder of Invasor, has arranged to send the dam of the Breeders' Cup Classic winner to leading American sire Distorted Humor.

Invasor is the first foal of the Interprete mare Quendom, and since foaling Invasor, the mare has produced three fillies, two by Southern Halo and one by the Lure stallion Orpen. Like Invasor, all are bred on Southern Hemisphere time, and the oldest is a Southern Halo 2-year-old filly in training. The yearling is by Orpen, and the second Southern Halo filly was born in November.

The last filly came rather late in the Southern Hemisphere breeding season, and Miserocchi turned this to his advantage, putting the lively bay filly on a nurse mare and sending Quendom to Kentucky for a 2007 mating with a premier international stallion.

The choice of Distorted Humor was based on sound principles of selection. The sire of Kentucky Derby winner Funny Cide, Spinaway winner Awesome Humor, Travers winner Flower Alley, and Whitney winner Commentator, Distorted Humor is among the best younger stallions in the world.

He also fits the guidelines that Miserocchi likes to use in his matings. In a discussion at the recent Keeneland January sale, Miserocchi said that one of his goals is "to breed to proven sires because you cut out the uncertainty of whether a stallion will be able to transmit his own racing class. A proven sire has already shown what he can do, and a breeder can mate accordingly."

Distorted Humor has proven that he can sire speed, and his offspring typically are capable of carrying their speed a mile or more.

Distorted Humor, a chestnut son of Forty Niner, also tends to stamp his foals with his own robust constitution and good forelegs. This was an important consideration for Miserocchi, who said, "I always want to combine the physique of the sire and the dam in such a way to bring equilibrium to the mating in terms of the physical qualities of the parents, and I look to the stallion to compensate for any faults in the mare with strengths in his own makeup."

Conformation is not Miserocchi's first consideration in selection, however. He ranks pedigree first, then conformation and race record as his guides to choosing mares.

Candidly, Miserocchi said that "with an unlimited budget, that ranking would be different, but the mares with the very best racing records bring so much money at the sales. And a limited budget restrains what I will purchase."

As a result, Miserocchi has found greater success by making the quality of the pedigree his first priority and then reinforcing that by breeding from classic families.

Quendom descends from one of the best families in Argentina, and her full sister Reina Victoriosa is a Group 1 winner who is in the U.S., owned by Vinery, and already has bred a pair of stakes winners by More Than Ready.

These two fine producers are out of the Cipayo mare Queen of Victory. Miserocchi still owns Queen of Victory, as well as three full sisters to Quendom at his Haras Santa Ines outside of Buenos Aires. Queen of Victory also has produced the Group 2 winner Qualified, a son of Interprete, and the mare has been bred back to Interprete.

An Argentine champion, Interprete has been an active agent in revitalizing this important family, and Miserocchi gives the dark brown stallion full credit for his positive influence.

Miserocchi said, "I am looking for a sire to produce a particular type of horse, and that is the type that I try to breed from him."

In Quendom and her siblings, Miserocchi has succeeded in breeding robust and athletic individuals, and that type is already breeding on. In physical type, the stock by Interprete "have more width in their hindquarters, depth and muscle for a good chest, and they are all slightly lower in front than they are behind," Miserocchi said.

The breeder noted that Interprete "also improves the mind of the horse. They are well-behaved and tranquil horses. Yet they have courage and strength, and he also adds speed."

With this recipe for success, Miserocchi had only to add a dash of finesse from Invasor's sire Candy Stripes (by Blushing Groom), and he has bred a horse likely to be selected Horse of the Year in the U.S.