11/13/2001 1:00AM

A good - but not great - year for freshmen


LAS VEGAS - It's time to evaluate the freshman sires of 2001. The exceptional group of 2000 freshman stallions is the yardstick by which this year's and many future crops will be measured.

The 2000 freshman group included Unbridled's Song (sire of Unbridled Elaine), Hennessy (sire of Johannesburg), Maria's Mon (sire of a Kentucky Derby winner, Monarchos, in his first crop), and Honour and Glory (sire of champion 2-year-old filly Caressing).

Other successful 2000 freshman sires include Afternoon Deelites, A. P Jet, Cobra King, Demaloot Demashoot, Dumaani, Fastness, Forest Wildcat, Friendly Lover, Golden Gear, Gold Fever, Grindstone, Hunting Hard, Ide, Judge T C, and Lite the Fuse.

Also, Lord Carson, Mecke, Miesque's Son, Mister Jolie, Mutakddim, Northern Spur, Peaks and Valleys, Petionville, Sea Salute, Service Stripe, Signal Tap, Smart Strike, Spectrum, Storm Creek, Valid Wager, and Wild Zone.

While this year's group of freshman stallions hasn't dazzled quite like those of 2000, it nevertheless is a deep and promising collection of sires.

This year's group includes:

Adhocracy (Spend a Buck). Although he has only nine registered 2-year-olds, Adhocracy made a bold statement by siring three winners from five starters, including stakes winner Pharmstar, a half-sister to stakes winner Valid Forbes. Adhocracy's runners have speed, and his foals from mares by stamina influences will be able to stretch out to middle distances.

Boston Harbor (Capote). Boston Harbor, like his sire, was a champion at 2, and although he was recently sold to Japan, he will have three more American crops. Like other freshman sires Valid Expectations, Smoke Glacken, and Matty G, his runners will be best sprinting.

Langfuhr (Danzig). Unraced at 2, Langfuhr didn't win a stakes until age 4 when he was named champion sprinter in Canada. But he got off to a fast start as a stallion, siring Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies runner-up Imperial Gesture. His runners should be especially effective on turf.

Louis Quatorze (Sovereign Dancer). Although he was a very good juvenile, Louis Quatorze blossomed into one of the best runners of his generation at 3, winning the 1996 Preakness and finishing second by a nose in that year's Breeders' Cup Classic to Alphabet Soup. As anticipated, his juveniles didn't show much sprinting, but came to life as they matured and stretched out in distance. His runners, which include Repent, runner-up in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile, will be much better at 3. Don't be shy about playing his offspring on the turf as he is a prime example of a hidden turf sire. Although he achieved success on dirt, he was ideally bred for turf (being from the Northern Dancer sire line), and he has already sired 2-year-old winners on the turf in Ireland and Japan.

Matty G (Capote). It only takes one precocious 2-year-old to put a sire on the map, and that's exactly what Mayakovsky did for Matty G. Like those in his sire line (Seattle Slew-Capote), Matty G is a speed influence and his runners are best at up to 1 1/16 miles.

Open Forum (Deputy Minister). He has been a pleasant surprise among this year's freshman sires. Open Forum's runners appeared on the scene early in the year and showed high speed and ability on both surfaces. Mountain Forum, in his first start on turf, became Open Forum's third stakes winner when he won last Saturday's Fabulous Frolic Stakes at one mile at Calder.

Pulpit (A. P. Indy). His best runner is stakes winner Essence of Dubai, and his offspring should be more effective next year when they mature and race beyond one mile. They should also run well on turf.

Siphon (Itajara). Siphonic's runners include Breeders' Cup Juvenile third-place finisher Siphonic and Siphina. His runners have inherited his imposing speed. Siphon was able to run long as he matured, and his runners should be even better at 3.

Smoke Glacken (Two Punch). He was a champion sprinter, and his runners, as expected, came out firing as juveniles. He has had three stakes winners, including Smok'n Frolic. Based on his highly successful first crop, Smoke Glacken will undoubtedly attract better mares, but his runners will be most effective up to 1 1/16 miles.

Valid Expectations (Valid Appeal). A successful sprinter-miler, Valid Expectations is the leading freshman sire this year based on number of winners (24). His offspring should be effective at 2, and while it is unlikely any of them will win the Kentucky Derby, Valid Expectations will be a highly successful sire of sprinter-milers, in the mold of former leading freshman sires End Sweep and Cherokee Run.

More next week.