01/01/2008 12:00AM

Finding early stars and late bloomers


LAS VEGAS - Every December and January, I take a brief, early look at the freshman sires for the new season, and 2008 will feature many new sires who should have an immediate impact and others whose offspring should be more effective at 3 when they catch up to their more precocious contemporaries. This year's group of eclectic young sires promises to be a stellar crop and includes Smarty Jones, Birdstone, Candy Ride, Congaree, Johar, Medaglia d'Oro, Pleasantly Perfect, Read the Footnotes, Speightstown, Strong Hope, and Tapit. Below is the first part of an alphabetical preview of what to expect from the new group of first-crop sires, followed by their pedigrees:

Action This Day (Kris S.-Najecam, by Trempolino). Developed quickly in late fall of his juvenile season to win 2 of 3 starts at age 2, including an authoritative victory in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile, and garner an Eclipse award. His runners, however, should be much better at 3 and older when they have a chance to mature and stretch out in distance. Keep in mind, while he never raced on grass, Action This Day has a superb turf pedigree and will be a strong HT (hidden turf) sire. His offspring should relish turf given the opportunity.

Alke (Grand Slam-Pasampsi, by Crow). Stakes-placed at 2 and 3, Alke won the Deputy Minister Handicap and finished second in the Group 1 Dubai Golden Shaheen at 4. By Grand Slam, Alke should get runners who have good speed at 2 on all surfaces.

Alysweep (End Sweep-Chronicler, by Alysheba). By speed influence End Sweep, who was a leading freshman sire, Alysweep was a good sprinter-miler, winning the Gotham Stakes and Fred "Cappy" Capossela Stakes and gamely running second in the nine-furlong Peter Pan and Withers stakes. His Florida-bred babies should be precocious.

American Patriot (Mr. Prospector-Wandering Star, by Red Ransom). While he only placed in his two starts, both in France, American Patriot merits attention because of his pedigree. He is by Mr. Prospector, and his dam won the E.P. Taylor Stakes and is from a female family of quality. His second dam is a half-sister to Silver Hawk. His runners should be effective on dirt and turf.

Anasheed (A.P. Indy-Flagbird, by Nureyev). Anasheed was second in the Arlington-Washington Futurity, and his dam was a champion older female in England, Ireland, and Italy. Flagbird is one of seven stakes winners out of Up the Flagpole, including Prospectors Delite, the dam of Mineshaft. Based in New York, Anasheed could be this year's version of Hook and Ladder - the state's leading freshman sire for 2007.

Birdstone (Grindstone-Dear Birdie, by Storm Bird). Winner of the Champagne Stakes at 2, he won the Travers but will always be remembered for thwarting Smarty Jones's Triple Crown bid in the Belmont Stakes. Although there is obvious stamina in Birdstone's pedigree, his runners should have speed. Grindstone won the Kentucky Derby, but the majority of his offspring are speed types.

Black Mambo (Kingmambo-Lassie's Lady, by Alydar). He won only 3 races from 21 starts and placed in a stakes, but his pedigree earned him the right to be a stallion. By one of the world's premier turf sires, his dam is a half-sister to Charming Lassie (dam of Lemon Drop Kid) and the 1992 Broodmare of the Year Weekend Surprise (dam of A.P. Indy and Summer Squall). His runners should win on dirt but prove best on turf.

Bold Truth (Seattle Slew-Forty Nine Hearts, by Forty Niner). He won only twice from 15 starts and finished third in the Amsterdam Stakes, but is one of Seattle Slew's last sons to stand at stud and is from a female line of quality. Bold Truth's dam is a full sister to Editor's Note and half-sister to Hold That Tiger, and this family produced Hennessy.

Bowman's Band (Dixieland Band-Hometown Queen, by Pleasant Colony). He was a stakes winner at 3, 4, and 5 and stakes-placed at 6, including a runner-up finish in the Metropolitan Handicap behind Pico Central. He also was third in the Whitney and Pimlico Special handicaps and Woodward Stakes. His dam is a half-sister to Viviana, the dam of Sightseek, Tates Creek, and Special Rate, and his third dam is champion Chris Evert, the second dam of champion Chief's Crown. Champion Winning Colors also comes from this productive female family. His juveniles should win on all surfaces but should be best at 3 and older.

Burning Roma (Rubiano-While Rome Burns, by Overskate). A durable campaigner who won a stakes every year he raced (from 2 through 6), he is by a champion sprinter, and his runners should mature quickly at 2. His dam is a half-sister to Vivano, and his fourth dam, the stakes winner Lady Be Good, was a foundation mare for the Phipps family.