09/16/2003 11:00PM

Fusaichi Pegasus filly sells for $260K

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LEXINGTON, Ky. - Keeneland's September yearling sale continued its near-record pace as it entered its ninth of 12 days on Wednesday, with a $260,000 Fusaichi Pegasus filly the early session leader.

Lake View Farm bought the filly from Taylor Made, agent. The filly is out of Bet Twice Princess, a stakes-winning daughter of Bet Twice.

Through the Tuesday session, the last for which final figures were available, the 2003 auction had grossed $257,281,000 for 2,004 lots, making it Keeneland's second richest September sale ever. The record for gross sales at this auction was set in 2000, when Keeneland sold 3,313 September yearlings for $291,827,100. This year's sale, which doesn't end until Sept. 20, is likely to end close to that record.

At the eighth session on Tuesday, a $230,000 Silver Charm colt led the day's selling. Bob and Beverly Lewis bought the colt from James Keogh's Grovendale agency.

Tuesday's session topper was the latest in a string of six-figure prices for yearlings by Silver Charm selling in later sessions. The highest price for a Silver Charm yearling was the $675,000 that Stan Fulton paid for a colt out of Proud Run on Day 3. On Sunday, a pair of Silver Charm colts, one out of Silver Spool and the other out of Belle Du Bois, brought $380,000 and $360,000, respectively. And on Monday a colt out of Pub Crawler topped the seventh session at $270,000.

Champion and 1997 Kentucky Derby winner Silver Charm, whose first foals are 2-year-olds this year, stands at Three Chimneys Farm for $25,000.

The Tuesday session grossed $9,510,500 for 314 yearlings, up 21 percent from last year's eighth session, which sold 314 lots. The Day 8 average price was $30,288, up 12 percent, and the $21,500 median represented an 8 percent increase.

2002 breeding statistics report

Fewer stallions are covering more mares in North America, according to breeding statistics The Jockey Club issued Wednesday. The statistics for the 2002 covering season reveal a 3 percent decline in the stallion population since the 2001 covering season. In 2002, there were 4,282 active Thoroughbred stallions, down from 4,445 reported for 2001. Meanwhile, the number of mares reported bred in 2002 rose slightly, from 63,793 two years ago to 63,825 last year.

The 2002 coverings have produced 35,588 foals of 2003, according to live-foal reports The Jockey Club had received as of Sept. 8.

The Jockey Club noted that the reporting for these statistics is about 90 percent complete.

Once again, Kentucky leads Thoroughbred breeding states with 12,582 live foals reported so far in 2003. That's a gain of almost 8 percent from last year's 11,697, and indicates that the foal crop is rebounding after losses last year due to mare reproductive loss syndrome, which causes abortion in pregnant mares.

Ashford stallions quite active

Ashford Stud, which has pushed the Thoroughbred breeding business envelope on stallion book sizes, once again has North America's busiest stallions, according to the breeding statistics. Nine of North America's top 10 stallions by number of foals in 2003 stand at Ashford, the American branch of Coolmore Stud located near Versailles, Ky.

Ashford sire Grand Slam led all stallions by number of mares covered with a book of 215 mares, while Giant's Causeway bred the second-largest book of 213 mares and led the list of live foals with a reported 2003 crop of 154.

The sole non-Ashford horse on the top 10 list is California stallion Bertrando, who ranked fifth by number of 2003 foals with 119.

For commercial breeders, the most relevant figure is a stallion's foal-crop size, because it indicates the number of foals by a stallion that potentially will sell at auction - in other words, how many foals by the same stallion will be competing for buyers' dollars. The top 10 North American stallions by number of 2003 foals, in order and with 2003 stud fees noted parenthetically: Giant's Causeway, 154 ($125,000); Grand Slam, 149 ($30,000); Louis Quatorze, 121 ($10,000); High Yield, 120 ($30,000); Bertrando, 119 ($25,000); Tale of the Cat, 115 ($25,000); Thunder Gulch, 110 ($65,000); Fusaichi Pegasus, 107 ($125,000); Stravinsky, 105 ($17,500); and Black Minnaloushe, 102 ($12,500).