10/15/2003 11:00PM

Freshman sire Good and Tough creates buzz

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A talented racehorse and an impressive physical specimen, Good and Tough is a freshman sire who has breeders in New York buzzing with interest and horse buyers around the country snapping up his young stock.

At the sales of 2-year-olds in training last April at Keeneland, Good and Tough's son Tough Negotiator brought $310,000, and another colt of his, Gruff, sold for $210,000 at the Fasig-Tipton select auction at Calder in February. From his first crop of racers, Good and Tough already has a half-dozen winners, and the demand for the stallion's young athletes brought him 115 mares for the 2003 breeding season.

Good and Tough came to his present home, Lakland North in Hudson, N.Y., after two covering seasons at Vinery in Kentucky. Said Lakland's co-owner Becky Thomas: "I bought into Good and Tough when he was still racing. Vinery got together a group to purchase him before the Breeders' Cup [in 1999]. We bought 15 shares and have retained eight.

"After his first two seasons there, Vinery decided to scale down their stallion operation, and I thought Good and Tough was the perfect horse for New York. The reason that I wanted him for the New York program was that of our eight shares, we had five babies, and there wasn't a one of them that I didn't like."

Thomas owns Lakland Farm in Kentucky and Lakland North with Lewis Lakin, and she also has Sequel Bloodstock, which is a leading consignor to the 2-year-old sales. The Lakland projects, however, breed and sell horses at a variety of venues, and the Good and Tough 2-year-old who sold for $210,000 in Miami was a highly profitable pinhook that Thomas had sold as a yearling.

"The first year he was in New York was tough," she said of Good and Tough, "but the sales results this year brought in a lot of mares for him. In June, we had 30 mares come to him that were not previously booked."

Good and Tough has a license to make a good stallion, as he was an accomplished racehorse and a very good representative of his sire, Carson City, who is one of Mr. Prospector's most successful and consistent sons at stud.

Standing at W.T. Young's Overbrook Farm in Lexington, Ky., Carson City has the fertility typical of the Mr. Prospectors and has been consistently among the leading sires by number of winners and stakes winners.

The ability of Good and Tough to handle a large book of mares shows that he has inherited his sire's good fertility, and the size of his book marks Good and Tough as one of the most popular stallions in the state, along with another son of Carson City, City Zip.

Bred in Kentucky by David Reynolds out of the stakes-winning Northern Raja mare Amy Be Good, Good and Tough is the second-highest money earner for his sire, Carson City.

The success of the mating that produced Good and Tough was the result of professional support and consultation, as well as Reynolds's loyalty to his homebred program. John Stuart, president of Bluegrass Thoroughbred Services, said that he helped Reynolds with his mares and arranging matings.

Stuart said that Reynolds bred the first three dams of Good and Tough, "which is a major accomplishment these days."

Stuart added that Good and Tough descends from one of Mr. Reynolds's five original broodmares.

Although he inherited some of the best qualities of his sire, Good and Tough "is not really a typical Carson City," Stuart said. "He's a big horse, standing 16.1 hands, and very strongly made, with very good bone and correct knees. His size comes from the female family, which are sturdy, good-sized mares."

His size and looks were just the thing to attract horsemen.

"As a commercial breeder, Good and Tough is the kind of solid stallion prospect I look for," said Rob Whiteley, director of operations for Carl Icahn's Foxfield. "He is well-made, a very fast and competitive type, and was a racehorse who definitely lived up to his name."

Unraced at 2 in 1997 because of his size, Good and Tough won five races at 3, including the Grade 3 Jersey Shore Breeders' Cup. Among his three stakes placings that year was a second to 1997 Horse of the Year Favorite Trick in the Grade 3 Swale Stakes at Gulfstream.

A winner of four stakes as a 4-year-old in 1999, Good and Tough was most memorable in winning the Grade 2 Commonwealth Breeders' Cup at Keeneland. Among his losses that year were seconds to the high-class sprinter Yes It's True in the Grade 1 Frank J. De Francis Memorial Dash and to champion sprinter Artax in the Grade 2 Forest Hills Handicap.

In all, Good and Tough won nine races from 23 starts, earning $809,341.