06/15/2001 12:00AM

Florida: Pretty much business as usual


Florida escaped the foaling problems that plagued Kentucky this year, and this breeding season was pretty normal. Many stallions had bookings well into the hundreds while other less-popular ones were hardly monogamous.

Robert Slack of Stoneriggs Farm was particularly pleased with the reception the breeders gave to his stallions Greenwood Lake and Lycius. "Florida breeders are getting away from going cheap," said Slack."They have figured it out that if you breed cheap, you get cheap. The yearling and the 2-year-old sales have been getting weaker at the lower end, and anyone in this business knows that once you pay for your breeding costs, your daily costs are the same whether you have an upscale prospect or an ordinary one."

Slack said he was gratified with the support of the 1999 winner of the Grade 1 Champagne, Greenwood Lake. A son of Meadowlake, he will cover about 80 mares when this season's tally is complete. Lycius, a son of Mr. Prospector out of a stakes-placed producer of graded stakes winners, Lypatia (by Lyphard), won the 1990 Middle Park Stakes, a Grade 1, at 2. He was second the following year in the English 2000 Guineas. He sired 16 stakes winners in Europe before relocating to Stoneriggs Farm. This new Florida resident will have gotten approximately 60 mares.

Farnsworth Farms has three Mr. Prospector-line stallions on its most active list. Robyn Dancer is a grandson of Mr. Prospector, and if his get continue their winning ways, he could wind up this year's Florida's leading sire in number of winners and victories. Robyn Dancer was bred to 100-plus. The other stallions at Farnsworth at the 100 mark in bookings are Double Honor, the 1997 Sapling Stakes winner and Line in the Sand. Double Honor is by Gone West and out of a daughter of Storm Bird. Double Honor's first crop are yearlings. Line in the Sand is a graded stakes winner by Mr. Prospector out of the stakes winner Really Lucky, by Northern Dancer.

Sean Kelly of Wycombe House Stud had a tough row to hoe, being little-known locally and bringing four new stallions to the Florida scene this past year. But the plan has worked and worked well. Worldly Manner (by Riverman out of Lady Pastor, by Flying Paster) won the Del Mar Futurity, a Grade 2, and was among the first to winter in Dubai and prep for the Kentucky Derby. Owned by Darley Stud, he had a 70-mare book. Classic Cat, the millionaire son of Mountain Cat out of Sahsie, by Forli, had more than 50 mares.

Phil Hronec, manager for John Franks, said that Lost Soldier, the much-traveled and accomplished son of Danzig out of Lady Winborne, by Secretariat, led the farm's stallion patronage with over 100 mares booked. Next to Lost Soldier came Kissin Kris (Kris S.-Toes Forward, by Your Alibhai), with 70 plus bookings

Joe Moos, manager of Dun Hill Stud, LLC, is ebullient when it comes to Straight Man (Saint Ballado-Brilliant Melody, by Cornish Prince). "We got him off the racetrack, and the bookings came rolling in. Breeders like his bloodlines, his racing record, and his conformation. He'll cover 140 mares or more when the season is over." The Will Farish-connected Miner's Mark (Mr. Prospector-Personal Ensign, by Private Account) moved down from Kentucky to a book of more than 100 mares.

Across town from Dun Hill Stud is Don Dizney's Double Diamond Farm. Until Miner's Mark came down to Florida, it was his full brother, Proud and True, representing the family. "It's hard to tell whether or not having a full brother in the neighborhood is a help or a hurt," offered Jim Alexander, the Double Diamond farm manager. "But Proud and True will get some 50 mares this year, and this used to be considered a full book."

Northern Afleet, a graded stakes winner by Afleet out of Nuryette, by Nureyev, is DD's most popular stallion. He was booked to 70 mares, with Dr. Caton (Seattle Slew-Won't She tell, by Banner Sport) right behind him.