07/24/2006 11:00PM

Fertility problems for Forty Niner

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Forty Niner, 1987's champion juvenile and runner-up to the filly Winning Colors in the 1988 Kentucky Derby, may be facing the end of his breeding career in Japan, according to a report in the Racing Post.

A 21-year-old Mr. Prospector horse, Forty Niner has been standing at Japan's Shizunai Stallion Station since 1996. He began his stud career at Claiborne Farm in Paris, Ky., and was a top freshman sire in North America in 1992. But he is now showing signs of age-related fertility troubles. Forty Niner reportedly was bred to about 45 mares this year but has gotten no more than six in foal.

Forty Niner's leading runners in Japan include Utopia, an earner of more than $4 million. His best representatives in North America include Coronado's Quest, his leading United States earner with $2,046,190 and a dual Grade 1 winner; 1996 Belmont Stakes winner Editor's Note; and multiple graded winner Distorted Humor, now a successful sire in Kentucky.- Glenye Cain