09/26/2006 12:00AM

Grand Merger makes a stunning turnaround



When I spoke with John Kimmel before the Saratoga meet to see what 2-year-olds he had, he mentioned Grand Merger, a full sister to stakes winner and emerging sire Stephen Got Even. Seventh in her debut, which was on the turf at 1 1/16 miles at Saratoga on Aug. 25, Grand Merger won a one-mile maiden race on dirt by 11 3/4 lengths on Sept. 15. By A.P. Indy, Grand Merger is out of the Cox's Ridge mare Immerse, who was third in the Grade 1 Gazelle Handicap in 1991 behind Versailles Treaty and Grand Girlfriend. Immerse is also the dam of stakes winner Indy Glory (by A.P. Indy), who was second in the Black-Eyed Susan Stakes and third in the Monmouth Oaks, and Immersed in Gold (Seeking the Gold), who finished third in the With Anticipation Stakes on the turf.

* Whistlin' won a six-furlong maiden race on Sept. 16, and the 3-year-old colt is bred for speed. By Five Star Day (Carson City), he is out of the Tejano mare Apostle Island, and his second dam, My Grey Phantom, is a half-sister to 2-year-old filly champion Meadow Star.

* Indian Camp, a 2-year-old colt by Forest Camp, won a six-furlong maiden event three races later than Whistlin', running faster than that 3-year-old. Whistlin' won in 1:11.63, whereas Indian Camp stopped the timer in 1:11.03. Indian Camp is out of the A.P. Indy mare Gatherindy, and her second dam, stakes winner Gather the Clan, is out of champion sprinter What a Summer.

* Incriminate may have failed to follow up his maiden victory, finishing fourth in the Futurity Stakes, but trainer Eoin Harty has another good-looking 2-year-old colt in his barn named My Golden Opinion, who won a six-furlong maiden race by 2 1/4 lengths over the Todd Pletcher entry of Pleasant Strike and Southmeetswest on Sept. 16. My Golden Opinion is by High Yield out of the Distant View mare Distant Breeze, a half-sister to War Plan, who was third in the 2005 Withers Stakes. My Golden Opinion's second dam, Li Law (Known Fact), is a full sister to Banshee Winds, the dam of champion Banshee Breeze.


Yes It's True continues to get winner after winner, and his juveniles are particularly precocious, often winning either their first or second starts. On Sept. 16, Illuminique, a first-time starter by Yes It's True, won a five-furlong maiden race by 2 1/2 lengths. Her dam is the Hennessy (high speed) mare Prestigious Prize, and her second dam, Thunder Maid, is a full sister to stakes winner and sire Turkoman.


Yes It's True has been so successful as a stallion that it is rare when one of his first-time starters is sent off at big odds. But on Sept. 12, Rolling True won her maiden debut by 6 1/4 lengths at 38-1, paying $79.20. Rolling True is out of the Wavering Monarch mare Monaroll, who descends from the stakes-winning racemare Breaux's Tiger, who won 27 races from 139 starts.

* Debbie Got Even won a one-mile allowance, overpowering pacesetter Akronism to win going away by three-quarters of a length on Sept. 11. As her name implies, Debbie Got Even is by Stephen Got Even and is out of the Seeking the Gold mare Lady Esther, a daughter of turf stakes winner Via Borghese.

* Ticket to Seattle followed a victory on Aug. 29 with an allowance score at six furlongs on Sept. 17. By speed influence Capote, the 2-year-old filly is out of the Dayjur mare Bethamane, a half-sister to Will's Way and Willa on the Move. She is sure to see stakes action in the near future.


E Dubai is one of this year's promising freshman sires, and like his sire, Mr. Prospector, his forte was speed, which he is transmitting to his offspring. On Sept. 13, Spark of Dubai won his third race from four starts when he captured the Beau Brummel Stakes at 6 1/2 furlongs. Spark of Dubai rallied from sixth in the seven-horse field to win by 1 1/4 lengths. Spark of Dubai is out of the Timeless Moment mare Eternally, and his second dam is Grade 1 Ladies Handicap winner Spark of Life. Spark of Life was one of many top-class runners produced by Sparkalark. Sparkalark also produced group winner Hartebeest, and Grade 1 Matron Stakes winner Musical Lark.

E Dubai is also the sire of Barilko, the 1-2 favorite who captured the Swynford Stakes at Woodbine on Sept. 16. Barilko, winner of the Colin Stakes and Silver Deputy Stakes, is now undefeated in four starts and a leading candidate for juvenile championship honors in Canada. Barilko, out of the Greinton mare Hausman, is a half-brother to Meter Maid and Haus of Dehere.


Slew Peg found the Polytrack surface to her liking when she won a one-mile allowance going gate to wire on Sept. 13. Slew Peg is by Fusaichi Pegasus out of the Seattle Slew mare Slew Princess, making her a half-sister to stakes winners Igotrhythm and Slew Gin Fizz. Slew Peg's second dam, Lillian Russell, is a half-sister to Mr. Prospector, and since Fusaichi Pegasus is by Mr. Prospector, Slew Peg has the Rasmussen Factor, as she is inbred 3x3 to the influential producer Gold Digger.