12/02/2008 1:00AM

Dixieland Band's career as sire comes to end

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LEXINGTON, Ky. - Dixieland Band, the sire of 115 stakes winners and a sought-after broodmare sire, has been pensioned from stud at Lane's End Farm, the stallion farm announced Tuesday.

The 28-year-old Northern Dancer horse is one of Lane's End's foundation sires, having been one of the first stallions to enter stud at the Versailles, Ky., nursery in 1985.

"Dixieland Band remains in good overall health, with remarkable fertility, but his arthritis has prompted his retirement," according to a farm statement. He will live out his retirement at Lane's End.

Dixieland Band was a homebred campaigned by Mrs. Bayard Sharp, whose daughter Sarah owns Lane's End with her husband, Will S. Farish. He won a pair of Grade 2 events - the 1983 Pennsylvania Derby and 1984 Massachusetts Handicap - as well as the 1982 Maryland Juvenile Championship Stakes and 1983 Southampton Handicap. He retired with 8 wins from 24 lifetime starts and a bankroll of $441,320.

In his 23 years at stud, Dixieland Band was highly successful as a sire and even more influential as a broodmare sire. He was among the leading sires twice, in 1993 and 1999, and led broodmare sire rankings in 2004. He was the third-leading broodmare sire in 2007 and ranks fourth on that list for 2008, behind Sadler's Wells, Deputy Minister, and Woodman.

Dixieland Band is the sire of Drum Taps, a Grade 2 winner in the United States before becoming a champion in England and Italy and Group 1-placed in Ireland and France. Named Europe's champion stayer in 1992, Drum Taps also won consecutive runnings of the Ascot Gold Cup in 1992 and 1993. Dixieland Band also sired Canadian champion 3-year-old filly Cotton Carnival; Austrian champion Palace Piper; Irish champion Check the Band; French classic winner Egyptband; Grade 1 winners Dixie Union, Alwajeeha, Sharp Lisa, Spinning Round, and Dixie Brass; and such graded winners as Bowman's Band, Del Mar Dennis, and Snake Eyes. To date, he has more than $73 million in progeny earnings.

Dixieland Band is the broodmare sire of two Kentucky Derby winners - Street Sense in 2007 and Monarchos in 2000 - and is the broodmare sire of ill-fated 2008 Derby runner-up Eight Belles. He also is the broodmare sire of Grade 1 winners Bandini, Dominican, Cotton Blossom, First Samurai, Exotic Wood, and Society Selection.

Princesse Dansante sells for $2.6M at Tattersalls

Sheikh Mohammed al-Maktoum swept another seven-figure top offering into his broodmare band Tuesday at the Tattersalls December mare sale, which continued to endure deep declines.

One day after bidding just more than $3 million for top seller Saoirse Abu at the Newmarket, England, auction, Maktoum sent his representative John Ferguson back in the fray to buy Tuesday's session topper, the Group 2-placed broodmare Princesse Dansante.

The 5-year-old mare was cataloged in foal to Dansili and sold for 1.7 million guineas, about $2,659,650. Princesse Dansante, by King's Best, is a French stakes winner. She is a half-sister to multiple stakes-producer Brooklyn's Dance; Krissante, the dam of French champion Okawango; and Funsie, the dam of European champion and 2007 Epsom Derby winner Authorized.

The Castlebridge Consignment sold the mare.

The session sold 143 horses for about $21,608,561, for an average price of about $151,108 and a median of approximately $70,402. Compared year-to-year in the auction currency of guineas, the gross plummeted 62 percent, while average fell off by 52 percent and median by 47 percent.

The December mare sale continues in Newmarket through Thursday.

More farms announce stallion fee reductions

Two more prominent Lexington stallion operations have issued new, lower fees for their sires in 2009, following a trend to cut back stallion fees in light of the plummeting bloodstock market.

Gainesway Farm announced Monday it will slash fashionable sire Mr. Greeley's fee from his previously advertised $100,000 to $75,000.

Juddmonte Farms also said Monday that it would make the same 25 percent cut to Empire Maker's fee from $100,000 to $75,000. The Lexington nursery also will trim Aptitude and Mizzen Mast from $25,000 to $17,500 and First Defence from $20,000 to $17,500.

The announcements came the same day that the 3-year-old Mr. Greeley filly Saoirse Abu, a dual Group 1 winner, brought more than $3omillion at Tattersalls. But that auction session also saw steep declines in revenue this year versus last year, with gross falling 53 percent, average down 45 percent, and median off by 52 percent. The losses underlined a recent sharp downturn in the bloodstock market, which has prompted other farms, including Taylor Made, WinStar, and Lane's End, to revise their horses' 2009 stud fees downward.

Not surprisingly, given recent overseas auction results at Tattersalls and at Goffs in Ireland, the fee-cutting trend has crossed the Atlantic. The Irish National Stud became the latest to lower prices on Tuesday when it sent out revisions for all its stallions, except leading freshman sire Elusive City at about $15,875. Among the seven sires reduced in price for 2009 were the stud's major sire, Invincible Spirit, who dropped from about $76,200 to about $63,500.