11/29/2002 1:00AM

First Class Gal living up to name as a broodmare


First Class Gal was a finalist for Canada's outstanding broodmare two years ago but lost to Primarily. Lover's Talk was fourth in the voting for top mare last year behind the incomparable Dance Smartly.

But this year, First Class Gal and Lover's Talk are the leading candidates for the outstanding broodmare award, which will be presented at the Sovereign Awards ceremony on Dec. 7 in downtown Toronto.

The outstanding broodmare award is a lifetime honor for a mare who has produced a Canadian-bred stakes winner in the current year and a different stakes winner in a previous year.

First Class Gal, who is owned by Jim Day, has produced One Way Love, a multiple champion; Runaway Love, a stakes winner; and First Quarter, a promising filly who won the Carotene Stakes on the turf at Woodbine for owner Robert Schaedle and the Come by Chance Stable.

First Class Gal, a daughter of Geiger Counter out of Postage Stamp, was a $25,000 yearling purchase from the consignment of her breeder, Anderson Farms. Day later purchased the mare as a broodmare prospect from Minshall Farms.

"She's a Geiger Counter mare, and that's the Mr. Prospector line, so it was sort of a no-brainer to go with the Northern Dancer connection," Day said, on his decision to breed the mare to Regal Classic for her first three years in the breeding shed.

Both One Way Love, the champion sprinter and older horse in 2000, and Runaway Love, are sturdy runners who had good speed but could carry that speed at middle distances.

While the mare's third foal, Aunt Ivy, has been a disappointment, First Quarter, a 3-year-old filly by Sky Classic (a three-quarter brother to Regal Classic), has been a pleasant surprise for Day.

"I wasn't all that crazy about her or her yearling full brother," Day said of First Quarter. "They were willowy, light foals, so I didn't think Sky Classic was going to be a good physical match."

But not only has First Quarter already become a stakes winner after just five career starts, His Smoothness, the yearling, has shown Day he might also be a special runner.

Day said First Class Gal has a weanling colt by Canadian Horse of the Year Peaks and Valleys and is in foal to top Canadian stallion Ascot Knight.

"She's been very good to me and it seems like she just keeps getting better," Day said.

Eighteen-year-old Lover's Talk has produced four stakes winners and a total of 10 winners through Nov. 11. Most of her foals are large and physically delicate.

Wild Whiskey, by Whiskey Wisdom, is a freakishly fast 3-year-old who won the Woodstock Stakes in April before being sidelined for the summer and is the dam's last foal to race. The mare's previous stakes winners were Love Grows, a very talented sprinter in 1996 who won the Highland Handicap but died prematurely; Barley Talk, a stakes winner in British Columbia; and Torrid Affair, a top older mare on the Ontario circuit last year.

Lover's Talk, a $125,000 yearling purchase in 1985, is a winning daughter of successful broodmare sire Vice Regent. Lover's Talk is also a half-sister to Canadian stakes winners Lover's Answer and Le Promeneur, as well as the stakes-placed Regent's Walk, the dam of millionaire Marquetry.

o For the second consecutive year, Adena Springs, Mike Byrne, and Sam-Son Farms are the three finalists for Canada's outstanding breeder.

Sam-Son is the front-runner again and has won the award on four other occasions, including the last two years. The farm's top homebreds in 2002 were Grade 1 winner Dancethruthedawn, Portcullis, and Quiet Resolve.