09/01/2009 11:00PM

Fillies take Rosen back to the top

Barbara D. Livingston
Icon Project, romping winner of last weekend's Personal Ensign, is one of two star fillies currently racing for Andrew Rosen.

LEXINGTON, Ky. - Andrew Rosen sounds like a happy man when he picks up his phone, and why shouldn't he? The co-founder and president of the Theory fashion label in New York City was still enjoying his filly Icon Project's recent demolition of the Personal Ensign Stakes field.

Icon Project's 13 1/2-length win was her first in Grade 1 company, and it was the latest evidence that Rosen's plan is paying off. The plan, as Rosen describes it, was to invest serious money in serious-quality fillies who could take him and his family back to racing's best events, then contribute their genes to the small but select Rosen breeding program. The Rosen family has been to the summit before: Andrew's father, Carl Rosen, owned the 1974 champion 3-year-old filly Chris Evert, and he bred 1984 champion juvenile and inaugural Breeders' Cup Juvenile winner Chief's Crown. The senior Rosen died in 1983, before he could see how good Chief's Crown became for his family's Star Crown Stable.

Now Rosen is back with a pair of talented fillies: 4-year-old Icon Project and 3-year-old First Passage, a three-time stakes winner this season. They cost $775,000 and $1.2 million, respectively, as yearlings at the Keeneland September sale. Both started their career with trainer Brian Meehan in England before joining Marty Wolfson here.

"I had been buying a bunch of horses for a couple of years, and I said to the guys, 'I really want to step it up and try and buy the best possible fillies that have the conformation and pedigree I can get,' " Rosen, 53, said. "I've been around good horses my whole life and just wanted to try to continue to stay around good horses. I just re-looked at what my object was, which is developing a broodmare band and having some fillies that, when I got too old and couldn't play golf anymore, I could enjoy the sport of horse racing 100 percent and have some good fillies to breed from."

"The guys," by the way, are Rosen's advisers, trainer Meehan and bloodstock agents Hugo Merry and John Stuart.

Icon Project is a daughter of Empire Maker and Grade 1 winner La Gueriere. She's a half-sister to graded winner Lasting Approval, and her family includes Al Mamoon and Lost Soldier, as well as Master Command's dam, Lady Lochinvar, and the second dam of Honor in War.

"She just had a tremendous presence and class and quality to her," Rosen said of Icon Project, who is named for Theory's artistic and philanthropic program. "I loved her sire and thought he'd make a very good sire. All of the factors kicked in, and the guys that select the horses for me loved her."

First Passage hasn't ascended to Grade 1 heights yet. She won the Grade 3 Azalea before finishing fourth in the Test, but Rosen said he believes the best is ahead for the Giant's Causeway-Win's Fair Lady filly. Her family is also stacked, with such stakes winners as Graeme Hall, Harmony Lodge, and Diligence.

Rosen has a dozen other fillies in training, but, for the moment, the talk is all about his two stars. Their next races, he says, are still under discussion, but their retirement plans are more certain. Icon Project and First Passage eventually will head for Rosen's 10-mare band, which is divided between Claiborne Farm and Three Chimneys Farm in Kentucky. Will Rosen sell or race their foals? Undecided, for now.

"In today's world, one has to be open-minded and flexible," Rosen said. "You can't get too stuck in one way. The only plan I have is to have the best quality horses I can afford."

Action This Day changes farms

Action This Day will move from Spendthrift Farm to Castleton Lyons in 2010, Castleton president Shane Ryan says.

The 8-year-old Kris S. stallion was the 2003 champion juvenile and Breeders' Cup Juvenile winner. He is the sire of stakes winner Night Action and stakes-placed Rapid Release from two crops to race.

"The opportunity arose for Castleton Lyons to assume full ownership in Action This Day, and we were delighted to be able to complete this and look forward to him joining our roster for the 2010 season," Ryan said.

Action This Day is out of the Trempolino daughter Najecam, a multiple graded-placed mare. His fee will be announced at a later date, according to Castleton Lyons.

Our New Recruit succumbs to colic

Freshman sire Our New Recruit died Aug. 29 at Legacy Ranch in Clements, Calif., after recurring bouts with colic, according to the farm. A son of Alphabet Soup, Our New Recruit was 10.

Raced by CRH Stables, Our New Recruit won the Grade 1 Golden Shaheen and the Pirate's Bounty Handicap in 2004. He also placed in the Grade 2 Palos Verdes that year and in the Grade 3 Vernon O. Underwood Stakes in 2003. He earned more than $1.4 million.

Our New Recruit's first foals, totaling 16, are 2 this year. He stood for $3,500 this year.