09/01/2005 11:00PM

Flower Alley boosts Distorted Humor's stock

Adam Coglianese/NYRA
Flower Alley, winner of the Jim Dandy and Travers stakes at the current Saratoga meet, was a $165,000 purchase by Eugene Melnyk in 2002.

LEXINGTON, Ky. - By winning his last two starts, the Jim Dandy and Travers stakes, Flower Alley has fulfilled much of the promise he showed in the spring. The chestnut colt began the spring well, winning the Lane's End Stakes at Turfway in only his third start, but then was thrashed by Afleet Alex in the Arkansas Derby and subsequently ran ninth in the Kentucky Derby.

That form, however, apparently was not the best Flower Alley had to offer, and trainer Todd Pletcher gave him 60 days off and turned the situation around. After a close second to Roman Ruler in the Dwyer, Flower Alley has won his last two starts with serious Beyer Speed Figures and is in the best form of his career.

After his victories at Saratoga, Flower Alley, a son of Distorted Humor, stands on the cusp of being considered the most talented 3-year-old colt currently racing (Afleet Alex is out of training).

In addition to his achievements on the racetrack, Flower Alley also holds the distinction of being the only Grade 1 winner by Distorted Humor who is a colt. Both of Distorted Humor's leading sons from his first and second crop - Funny Cide and Commentator - are geldings.

While racing success is essential to increasing and maintaining the value of a stallion, siring a son who becomes a good stallion is the accomplishment that propels a stallion's value into the stratosphere.

And Distorted Humor's results from August - Commentator and Flower Alley both won Grade 1 stakes - are ratcheting up the excitement at WinStar Farm, where Distorted Humor stands.

"We haven't set any fees, but we know that he's in the six-figure range, said Doug Cauthen, president and manager of WinStar. "We'll wait and see how the rest of the season goes."

The growing successes for the offspring by Distorted Humor continue to attract increasing outside support for the son of Forty Niner, and he will have even greater backing from WinStar.

"We've believed in him for a long time and have bred 15 to 20 mares to him annually," Cauthen said. "The mares that fit him will go to him, and we'll probably breed 25 to 30 mares to him next year."

Flower Alley is from his sire's third crop and was pinhooked to the yearling sales from the 2002 Keeneland November mixed sale by Bruce Smart, who purchased the colt for $50,000 from breeder Bona Terra Farms, with Paramount Sales as agent.

In 2003, Eugene Melnyk purchased Flower Alley for $165,000 at the Keeneland September yearling sale out of the Walnut Green consignment.

Phil Hronec, manager of Melnyk's Winding Oaks Farm in Florida, said that the owner's young daughter is named Olivia, and Melnyk told Hronec, "There's a horse in here that I saw. Unless there's something wrong with this horse, I want him."

There wasn't anything wrong with the chestnut colt out of the Lycius mare Princess Olivia, and Melnyk bought him.

"But if it weren't for Princess Olivia, we wouldn't have purchased him," Hronec said.

Flower Alley's success has added luster not only to his sire's accomplishments but also to his dam, who has become a commodity of considerable value.

Flower Alley is the best runner of the Lycius mare Princess Olivia. She is in foal to the Danzig stallion Monashee Mountain on a March 9 cover and is entered for the Keeneland November sale of breeding stock, where she certainly will be one of the most frequently inspected lots.

Flower Alley was bred in Kentucky by George Brunacini, who owns Bona Terra Farms near Georgetown, Ky. Brunacini purchased Princess Olivia, in foal to Alphabet Soup, for $32,000 at the Adena Springs broodmare sale at Fasig-Tipton Kentucky in November of 2000.

Following a colt by Alphabet Soup born in 2001, Flower Alley is the second foal from Princess Olivia.

The mare's third foal is from the first crop of the Storm Cat stallion Black Minnaloushe. Born in 2003, that colt was injured as a foal. The mishap compromised the colt so badly that he was gelded and given away to a farm employee.

The mare's foal of 2004 is a yearling filly by Belmont Stakes winner Victory Gallop. This half-sister to the Travers winner has been consigned to the Keeneland September sale by Brunacini's Bona Terra Farms and will sell as Hip No. 589. A May 9 foal, she will go through the ring early on the auction's third day.