06/05/2006 12:00AM

Gainsborough stallions are moving to Darley


LEXINGTON, Ky. - The stallions Elusive Quality and Quiet American, who stood this year at Gainsborough Farm near Versailles, Ky., will relocate to Darley at Jonabell in time for the 2007 breeding season.

Jonabell is owned by Sheikh Mohammed al-Maktoum, brother of Gainsborough's late owner, Sheikh Maktoum al-Maktoum, who died in January. Sheikh Mohammed also owns Elusive Quality and Quiet American. The horses have not moved yet, according to Darley USA president Jimmy Bell, and when they do they will bring the Jonabell stallion roster to 11. Elusive Quality will shuttle to Darley's Australian stud farm for the 2006 Southern Hemisphere season and will enter quarantine soon.

Bell would not disclose any specific plans for Gainsborough but said "it's business as usual" at the 1,987-acre, state-of-the-art nursery the late Sheikh Maktoum founded in 1984.

Bell noted that after Sheikh Maktoum's death at age 62, the Gainsborough operation is now "the responsibility of Sheikh Mohammed."

Sheikh Maktoum built Gainsborough on a former cattle and tobacco farm, turning it into a Thoroughbred showplace. According to the farm's website, its equine population averages 200 horses, with a foal crop averaging 75 per year.

Jonabell, operated by Sheikh Mohammed's global Darley organization, has managed the careers of Elusive Quality and Quiet American.

"The only difference is that now the stallions will all be under one roof," Bell said.

Countess Diana dead at 11

Former champion juvenile filly Countess Diana has died at age 11. The Deerhound mare, named champion in 1997 after winning the Grade 1 Spinaway and Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies, was euthanized at Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital in late May.

Countess Diana suffered from wobbler syndrome, in which a horse loses its coordination. Her previous owner, Bill Casner and Ken Troutt's WinStar Farm, filed an insurance claim on her, transferring ownership to insurer Lloyd's of London.

"She was a farm favorite and a wonderful mare," said WinStar president Doug Cauthen. "She had a great physical and a lot of class, and she instilled that in her foals. They all thought they were racehorses."

Bred in Kentucky by Richard Kaster, Countess Diana raced for a partnership that included Kaster and his wife, as well as his sister Nancy Propson and her husband. Mary Jo Lohmeier trained her. A daughter of T.V. Countess, Countess Diana won in her first start, setting a track record of 51.50 seconds for 4 1/2 furlongs at Pimlico.

Countess Diana went on to win 7 of 14 starts, including the 1997 BC Juvenile Fillies and Spinaway and the Grade 2 Alcibiades and Schuylerville. She also finished second in the Grade 3 Debutante that year and came back in 1998 to finish second in the Grade 3 Nassau County. After winning her last race, an allowance, in 1999, she retired with a 14-7-2-0 record and $1,117,185 in earnings.

WinStar purchased Countess Diana for $1.8 million at the 2000 Keeneland January mixed sale. She has produced one stakes winner to date, the A.P. Indy filly Mama Nadine. Her last foal, born on Countess Diana's 11th birthday on March 22, is an Elusive Quality colt. She also leaves behind a yearling Gone West colt that WinStar has entered in the Keeneland September yearling sale.

Cloned mules both win trials

Idaho Gem and Idaho Star, a pair of cloned racing mules, made their racetrack debuts winning ones last weekend in Winnemucca, Nev. The clones from the University of Idaho each won their qualifying 350-yard heats on Saturday at the 20th annual Winnemucca Mule Races, Show, and Draft Horse Challenge. But, matched against each other and five naturally bred mules on Sunday, Idaho Gem finished third and Idaho Star finished seventh. Sunday's race was also at 350 yards, and the winner, Bar JF Hot Ticket, won by 2 1/2 lengths in 20.866 seconds.

"I think both animals, especially Idaho Gem, showed they have a lot of upside," Don Jacklin of the American Mule Racing Association told The Associated Press. Jacklin also leases Idaho Gem from the University of Idaho. "They both proved they could compete."