09/28/2007 12:00AM

Distorted Humor's reputation still growing

EmailLEXINGTON, Ky. - The 14-year-old Forty Niner stallion Distorted Humor continues to add to his stature as one of the best sires in the world, and the result of the Brooklyn Handicap shows why. Distorted Humor's high-class son Any Given Saturday won the Grade 2 stakes, and the sire's progressive Helsinki was third, the same place he filled behind division leader Street Sense in the Travers Stakes last month.

Already a Grade 1 stakes winner, Any Given Saturday is one of nine graded or group stakes winners by Distorted Humor this year, and some of the most astute buyers at the recently completed Keeneland September yearling sale were well aware of the continually rising tide of success for the offspring of the chestnut son of Forty Niner.

With 38 yearlings sold at the September sale, the offspring of Distorted Humor brought their breeders a gross return of $15,732,000, which works out to an average price of $414,000 for yearlings bred on a stud fee of $60,000 from covers made in 2005. Distorted Humor stood for $225,000 in 2007.

The stallion's highest-priced lot was Hip No. 460, a colt out of the Storm Cat mare Stormy Bear that John Ferguson bought for Godolphin for $1.9 million. That was the seventh-highest price of the September sale, and three other yearlings by Distorted Humor sold for $1 million or more at the auction.

Perhaps the most anticipated yearling by the stallion, however, was the full sister to Any Given Saturday, and she was declared out of the sale before going through the ring.

"She was entered but had a few X-ray issues that would not have allowed her to bring full retail, and we decided to keep this one as a racing and broodmare prospect," said Doug Cauthen, president of WinStar Farm. "We did the same thing in buying out our foal-share partner in the full sister to Bluegrass Cat. We saw that yearling as an opportunity to acquire a quality racing and broodmare prospect."

Cauthen also noted that the full sister to Any Given Saturday is WinStar's only daughter of their dam, the A.P. Indy mare Weekend in Indy. The 12-year-old mare has produced only three live foals, but the two of racing age are graded stakes winner Bohemian Lady (by Carson City) and Any Given Saturday.

Just as demand has risen for the offspring of Distorted Humor, so has interest increased in the stallion's sons as stud prospects. Two of the most popular stallions in Kentucky this year were a pair of first-year sons of Distorted Humor: Flower Alley at Three Chimneys and Sharp Humor at WinStar.

The winner of the Travers Stakes in 2005, Flower Alley entered stud in 2007 and covered 114 mares at a stud fee of $25,000 live foal.

"The moment we announced the stud fee, it was an Oklahoma land rush," said John Hamilton of Three Chimneys. "Everybody wanted to breed to this horse, and I don't think it's going to be much different in his second year."

Although two of Distorted Humor's most talented sons - Kentucky Derby winner Funny Cide and Whitney Stakes winner Commentator - are geldings and will not have an opportunity to breed on, they served the purpose of making their sire a force to be reckoned with on the racecourses of America.

Now other sons can carry the torch in attempts to recreate speed and success at the highest levels of sport, and Any Given Saturday would be the leading stallion prospect by his sire currently on the track.

"Any Given Saturday and Bluegrass Cat are the two best horses we've bred at WinStar, and we had greatly anticipated standing Any Given Saturday here alongside Bluegrass Cat," Cauthen said.

However, Darley purchased the breeding rights to Any Given Saturday in a private transaction last month, and the 3-year-old will join the stallion roster at Darley's Jonabell stallion complex outside Lexington when he retires to stud.

Cauthen said the rationale for selling the colt was "strictly business."

"We've proven again and again that we're in this as a business," he said, "and it was an opportunity to cash out a big asset and still retain the opportunity to breed to him throughout his career. It was too good an opportunity to pass up, and we believe it's a good opportunity for them, as he's one of the best colts of the year."

Any Given Saturday is expected to challenge the best 3-year-olds and older horses in the Breeders' Cup Classic on Oct. 27.