02/18/2005 1:00AM

A dream stallion for Lakland


These are good days for bloodstock investor Becky Thomas, who has been a key player in the business for many years.

Thomas's Sequel Bloodstock has sold Grade 2 winners Officer and Habibti among dozens of stakes horses, and she and her partners have been successful players at major American auctions.

Sequel Bloodstock is annually among the leading American 2-year-old consignors, finishing first in 2003 with gross receipts of $8,751,100 for 44 juveniles sold.

Today, Thomas is enjoying the game as never before, courtesy of young New York stallion Freud, who stands at her Lakland North Farm in Hudson, N.Y., for a fee of $5,000.

Thomas and partners Brenda and Lewis Lakin own Lakland North, which is also the home of stallions Dream Run, Hook and Ladder, and Good and Tough.

"I have absolutely never been so excited about a horse in my life," she said of Freud.

Freud, a full brother to a European Horse of the Year, Giant's Causeway, was represented by a pair of high-priced juveniles at the recent Ocala Breeders' Sales Company 2-year-olds in training sale.

His daughter out of the Saratoga Six mare Saralil was purchased for $220,000, while his son from the Tank's Prospect mare Midnight Tank brought $150,000.

They are from Freud's first crop.

Freud is a 7-year-old son of Storm Cat who raced in Europe for Coolmore Stud, his owner and breeder. Trained by Aidan O'Brien, Freud placed in the Group 2 Cork and Orrery Stakes at Royal Ascot.

In 2000, Thomas, on one of her annual trips to Ireland in search of broodmare prospects and racing fillies, was also looking for a son of Storm Cat to join Precise End at Lakland North.

Precise End, who has since moved to Japan, was the leading first-crop sire in New York in terms of earnings at $709,293 for 2004.

Through conversations with Coolmore's racing manager, Paul Shanahan, she acquired Freud.

"We had done stallion shares and pieces of stallions before, but never this kind of endeavor," she said. "We started with Precise End, and the idea was to develop a stallion and take him from start to finish, to the 2-year-old sales. Freud was our second one."

The timing was pretty good, for Giant's Causeway would later finish second by a neck to Tiznow in the Breeders' Cup Classic, drawing attention to the pedigree.

Giant's Causeway was a major topic of conversation in the 2000 Breeders' Cup Classic, for he was making his first career start on dirt in the event, a bold move by trainer O'Brien that nearly worked.

The sire of European and American classic winners, Storm Cat has also gotten high-class runners such as Storm Flag Flying, November Snow, Desert Stormer, Sweet Catomine, Sharp Cat, and Hennessy during his career.

He is an influential sire of sires, with sons such as Storm Boot, Hennessy, Tale of the Cat, Bernstein, and Giant's Causeway at stud.

Freud is out of multiple graded stakes winner Mariah's Storm, whose own graded-stakes-winning dam, Immense, is a half-sister to champion filly Dearly Precious, winner of the Grade 1 Spinaway during her career.

Freud is owned in partnership by Thomas, the Lakins, Coolmore, and Tony Grey.

In Thomas's view, Freud combines the best of what she considers to be three main types of Storm Cat stallions

"There are some that are on the small side, and there are the big, stretchy types," she said. "And then there are those that look like two-turn horses that just aren't going to do well early on. Freud's foals have the size of the bigger Storm Cats, yet have an early look to them."

Thomas said that when she was shopping for Freud, she was always thinking about him as a New York stallion.

She and her partners are committed to the New York breeding program, and their goal at Lakland North is to keep breeding the kind of horses who fetch top dollar in the market place.

So far, Freud has done his part.

"He has done everything right," said Thomas. "What has been so exciting for me is that I'm a firm believer in prototype. I love that you can breed him to a variety of mares. They can be big and rough or small and stumpy, yet with Freud you still end up with a nice, scopey horse. He is the most consistent of any of the stallions that I have bred a quantity of mares to."

There are five New York-bred juveniles by Freud cataloged for the Fasig-Tipton 2-year-old sale at Calder on March 1.

Thomas can't wait.