05/31/2005 12:00AM

Ghostzapper part-interest sold

Adam Coglianese/NYRA
Met Mile winner Ghostzapper is now one-third owned by Jess Jackson.

LEXINGTON, Ky. - Kendall-Jackson Winery owner Jess Jackson has purchased a one-third interest in reigning Horse of the Year Ghostzapper, the 6 1/4-length winner of Monday's at Belmont.

Jackson purchased the interest from Ghostzapper's owner and breeder, Frank Stronach. Jackson and Dan Hall, manager for Stronach's Adena Springs farm, confirmed the sale Monday, but both declined to disclose the price. Hall said Adena finalized the deal with Jackson last week, before Ghostzapper's Met Mile score. The interest in Ghostzapper was part of a package that also included a one-sixteenth interest in Ghostzapper's sire, Awesome Again, who also stands at Adena.

Although Jackson recently purchased the former Buckram Oak Farm - now named Stonestreet Farm - north of Lexington, the 5-year-old Ghostzapper will stand as originally planned at Stronach's Adena Springs Kentucky division near Versailles, beginning in 2006.

In recent years, stallion prices have climbed sharply as Thoroughbred auction prices have risen. In 2000, Fusao Sekiguchi sold Fusaichi Pegasus, winner of that year's Kentucky Derby, to Coolmore Stud for a reported record $60 million. The Derby was the sole Grade 1 victory for Fusaichi Pegasus. Smarty Jones, winner of the 2004 Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes, went to Three Chimneys in a deal worth $39 million, based on a 60-share syndicate that was thought to be the first of its size.

Ghostzapper has won nine of his 11 starts, with four Grade 1 victories: the 2004 Breeders' Cup Classic, in which he set a Lone Star Park track record of 1:59.02 for 1 1/4 miles; the 2005 Metropolitan; the 2004 Woodward; and the 2003 Vosburgh. He also won the Grade 2 Tom Fool and Grade 3 Philip H. Iselin Breeders' Cup Handicap last year, and finished third in the Grade 1 King's Bishop in 2003. He has earnings of more than $3.4 million.

Stronach bred Ghostzapper from the stakes-winning Relaunch mare Baby Zip, who also is the dam of Grade 1 winner City Zip.

Stronach, who has won two Eclipse Awards as outstanding breeder, already is one of the world's leading homebreeders, and the agreement with Jackson will likely bring more well-bred mares into Ghostzapper's book. Jackson has spent aggressively at auctions in the last year. He bought more than 80 horses at the Keeneland November auction, most notably the $1.5 million Grade 1 winner Got Koko. He also is general manager of Saarland, who stands at Hill 'n' Dale in Lexington. Jackson said he has "well over 120 mares," a figure that could rise to 150 by the time Ghostzapper retires, he said.

"I think this is a win-win for both parties," Hall said. "It's nice to be associated with a horse like this. He's just at a different level, and I think he proved that in the Metropolitan. He's very special."