04/26/2007 11:00PM

Exchange Rate, Safely's Mark keep the flame for Danzig


The Danzig side of the Northern Dancer line of stallions had not made much of an impact on Florida breeding - that is until now. Padua Stable's Exchange Rate, a 10-year-old son of Danzig out of Sterling Pound, by Seeking the Gold, has vaulted to the top 10 ranks of third-crop sires in North America with progeny earnings of better than $4 million. The gray or roan stallion has sired two Grade 1 stakes winners, Swap Fliparoo and Ermine, from his first crop, and four additional stakes winners.

Padua Stable's manager Bruce Hill said that Exchange Rate will serve a maximum book of 120 mares in '07 and the fee is $10,000 live foal.

Safely's Mark, a 13-year-old son of Danzig out of the champion sprinter Safely Kept, is the only other son of Danzig standing in Florida. Safely's Mark is at Ocala Thoroughbred Farm and stands for $5,000. Safely's Mark did not live up to his pedigree as a racehorse, but his son Weigelia is a worthy scion of the line. Weigelia, a graded stakes winner and Grade 1 stakes-placed, is closing in on the million-dollar earnings mark.

Honor Glide full of surprises

While there are only two immediate sons of Danzig in the Ocala area, there are five who are Danzig line descendants. Among the five is the Bridlewood Farm resident stallion Honor Glide, whose first runners are now 3-year-olds.

Honor Glide was foaled at Bonnie Heath Farm in the spring of 1994. The Heath Farm at that time was adjacent to Dudley Farm. Jack Dudley and Bonnie Heath II, as most Floridians know, formed the team that raced Needles, Florida's first national champion. The partners gambled that Florida, with only a smattering of breeding farms in the 50's, had enough quality mares to support a stallion such as Needles. So, despite lucrative offers from Kentucky breeders, they kept Needles home. The gamble paid off as Needles, in an era when stallion books rarely numbered more than 40, sired 17 stakes winners from 253 starters.

Honor Glide presented a similar challenge for Bonnie Heath III. He was a horse with a powerful turf pedigree and lived up to that pedigree by winning $1.37 million on the turf. He won the Grade 1 Secretariat as a 3-year-old and the Grade 2 Niagara Breeders' Cup Handicap as a 7-year-old.

"I knew it was going to be tough standing him in Florida," said Heath. "But it was going to be tough standing him anywhere. There's not much demand for a purely turf horse."

It should be noted that Honor Glide's dam, Becky Branch, by Run the Gantlet, is a half-sister to April Run, champion turf mare in the U.S. and Europe.

Honor Glide had been a fairly busy stallion. His mares produced 46 live foals in '04, 43 in '05, and 26 in '06. Last year, 11 of his 2-year-olds averaged just under $21,000 at the sales, but his yearlings only brought an $8,030 average.

"It was like breeders and buyers were giving up before the first of his get got to the post," said Heath.

Honor Glide's get are racing and winning. He has eight winners from his first crop to race, including Salty's Glider, a Grade 1 stakes winner in Puerto Rico; Gliding Margery, Grade 1 stakes-placed in Puerto Rico; and Euroglide, unbeaten in two starts at Santa Anita, including one of the fastest sprint debuts of the recent Santa Anita meeting.

But, here's the whopping surprise: All eight winners won their maidens on the dirt. In fact, the few get of Honor Glide who have tried the turf have been unsuccessful.

"It's funny how this game works," said Heath. "Euroglide began his commercial career as a board-bill horse. I had to make a deal to get paid his stud fee."

The "deal" horse, however, was quick on his feet and was sold at the Ocala Breeders' Sales Co. April sale last year for $30,000 to a stable that races in California.

Next month Euroglide will get his first major test when he runs in Hollywood Park's Grade 3 Laz Barrera Stakes next month.

Honor Glide's book ($4,000) has been lean this year, according to Heath. But, he reckons, if Euroglide and some others continue to make waves, Honor Glide will get support next year.

"Here I was thinking, turf, turf, turf," said Heath. "But, we'll take it any way we can."