08/24/2006 11:00PM

Faith in the long run justified in Arch's case

The Arch-sired Arravale wins the Del Mar Oaks last Saturday.

LEXINGTON, Ky. - To an amazing degree, a horse's success at stud depends on how much and how consistently breeders and owners believe in him. A syndicate has to have a vision and a long-term plan, even as it adjusts to immediate market conditions. And those in the syndicate must not panic. In other hands, Arch might have been written off and sold to a stud in China, Tasmania, or perhaps the Antarctic.

Fortunately for Arch and Claiborne Farm, however, belief in this big, nearly black son of Kris S. remained firm, and last weekend proved the brightest reward for all concerned in a banner year for the 11-year-old stallion.

On opposite coasts of the United States, Arch had a pair of Grade 1 winners. Pine Island won the Alabama at 10 furlongs on dirt, and Arravale won the Del Mar Oaks at nine furlongs on turf.

The capacity to sire top-class performers on both surfaces is nothing unusual for really good sires, with stallions such as Pulpit and Dynaformer siring major winners on both surfaces this year.

Furthermore, last weekend's star fillies are not the only guns in Arch's arsenal. Earlier in the summer, his first-crop son Les Arcs won the Group 1 July Cup and the Golden Jubilee in England, establishing himself as the year's top sprinter in Europe.

Les Arcs was the sale-leader from Arch's first crop, selling for $140,000 at the 2001 Keeneland September sale.

The runners by Arch are fulfilling expectations from such early promise, and on the basis of the positive response to Les Arcs and other good-looking youngsters, breeders sent a very good group of broodmares to Arch.

Both of last weekend's Grade 1 winners are from the stallion's fourth crop, typically the most difficult year to fill a stallion's book because of the unpredictable results of a stallion's freshmen-year racing results.

Arch's first group of foals did take time to find their best form, and some breeders had already passed on him after the first few seasons and gone on to another, newer stallion.

But Claiborne's Seth Hancock has long had faith in Arch. When the handsome colt came up for auction at the Keeneland July select yearling sale in 1996, Hancock liked the athleticism and promise of the colt so much that he purchased Arch for Claiborne and Adele Dilschneider as a racing and stallion prospect for $710,000.

Arch carried the torch for his owners through a successful racing career and began his second career as a promising outcross from the Roberto line.

A good-looking and robust horse, Arch sired some attractive and very sales-worthy yearlings. Although the early racing results from his first crop or two were not at a par with their high expectations, some breeders kept faith with the horse, and he has repaid their support.

The Phipps family sent one of their choice young mares to Arch in Matlacha Pass, a Seeking the Gold mare out of Our Country Place. Matlacha Pass won two of her three starts and is a full sister to Breeders' Cup Distaff winner Pleasant Home and graded winner Our Hideaway.

The result of Arch's mating with Matlacha Pass was the Alabama winner, Pine Island, a filly who handles distance racing very well and probably has the versatility to switch surfaces to pick up rich prizes.

The Del Mar Oaks winner, Arravale, is the third foal out of the Kaldoun mare Kalosca, who placed in graded stakes and is a half-sister to a Swiss Horse of the Year, Mykonos.

A graded stakes winner last year in Canada, Arravale has won 4 of 6 starts and earned more than $500,000.

With the successes of his sons and daughters this year, Arch has emphasized the importance of diversity in the pool of bloodlines available to breeders. Not every stallion should be a son of Storm Cat or out of a Secretariat mare.

Variety in bloodlines breeds not only the spice of life but also the potential for unexpected versatility and excellence from genetic recombinations.

By the important Roberto stallion Kris S. and out of the very fast mare Aurora, by Danzig, Arch was an outstanding first foal from his dam, and he started her producing career in the right way: He became a Grade 1 winner and won five of his seven starts, earning $480,990.

Aurora kept the production standards up, with each of her first three foals winning stakes. Arch's full brother Alisios is a listed winner, and their half-brother Festival of Light (by A.P. Indy) won the Group 3 Godolphin Mile in the UAE.

Since that trio, Aurora also has produced the stakes-placed Aztec Pearl. The mare has a 2-year-old colt by Deputy Minister named Let There Be Light and a yearling filly by Empire Maker.

This is perhaps the best line of the highly successful Courtly Dee family, coming through champion Althea. Althea produced four stakes winners from five live foals: Destiny Dance, Alyssum, Yamanin Paradise, and Aurora.