08/03/2006 11:00PM

Graeme Hall juvenile leader


Winding Oaks Farm's Graeme Hall, a 9-year-old chestnut stallion by Dehere-Win Crafty Lady, by Crafty Prospector, has moved well to the fore as Florida's leading juvenile sire. Not only does he lead his Florida first-crop peers in number of winners, he has also moved by rival first-crop sire Gibson County in progeny earnings with a little under $200,000.

Twelve from Graeme Hall's first crop of 60 have started and seven have won, including two this past weekend - one at Calder Race Course and the other at Saratoga.

Bovell Road, the first winner for Graeme Hall, made it two in a row when she won the $60,000 Colleen Stakes at Monmouth Park last Sunday.

"We've been getting phone calls about contracts for the '07 breeding season," said Allan Briggs of the Briggs and Cromartie Bloodstock Agency, which markets Graeme Hall for owners Eugene and Laura Melnyck.

Breeders' wait-and-see attitude during this past season - an attitude that often accompanies a stallion who has his initial crop on the verge of racing - resulted in a book of fewer than 100 mates for Graeme Hall, the first time since the Grade 2 Arkansas Derby winner entered stud in 2003 that his book of mates dipped below that mark. Graeme Hall was one of 18 Florida stallions to cover more than 100 mares in 2005.

Phil Hronec is the farm manager at Winding Oaks Farm, and a good number of Graeme Hall's first crop got their basic training there. Hronec is not shy in saying that he thinks the best of the stallion's crop has yet to be seen, and that he is particularly high on several that he broke who have yet to race.

This was not the only stallion news coming from Briggs and Cromartie.

"We've got a new stallion prospect for '07," Briggs said. "His name is Pomeroy and he really fits the Florida market. As he is still racing, no fee has been set, and his future residence is still to be determined."

Pomeroy's pedigree has the familiar Northern Dancer-Mr. Prospector mix. His sire is Boundary and he is out of Questress, by Seeking the Gold. Among his many stakes victories is the Grade 1 King's Bishop at Saratoga. In his last start, Pomeroy finished second in the Grade 2 Smile Sprint on Calder's Summit of Speed Day, well ahead of Eclipse champion sprinter Lost in the Fog.

Florida-bred veteran still going strong

Captain Squire, a 7-year-old millionaire gelding, added a ninth victory to his portfolio this past Monday when he won an allowance sprint at Del Mar. He is a Florida-bred who was bred and sold for $13,500 at the Ocala yearling sales in August of 2000 and was consigned by Jim and Sheila DiMare's Rising Hill Farm. He is one of six winners from seven foals of racing age out of the At the Threshold broodmare Dolly's Back. Captain Squire has earned $1,278,065 in his career.

"Dolly's Back produced three stakes winners for us," said Jim DiMare. "We sold her to a breeder from the Ohio-Kentucky area and last I heard she was bred to Cherokee Run. We sold another stakes winner from Dolly's Back, Dansetta Light, in foal to Afleet Alex at Keeneland last year, but we kept her stakes-winning full sister Dakota Light and she foaled a Songandaprayer filly for us earlier this year."

* Fasig-Tipton's Saratoga selected yearling sale begins on Tuesday. In bygone times, when this sale cataloged twice as many yearlings and the auction was spread out over four evenings, there was a substantial Florida-bred contingent. This year there are only eight Florida-bred yearlings cataloged, three less than a year ago. And none is by a resident Florida stallion.