03/16/2009 11:00PM

Hancock proud of Menifee's success


LEXINGTON, Ky. - The stallion Menifee had a big weekend. On Sunday, two of his fillies, 3-year-old Just Jenda and 4-year-old Game Face, hit the winner's circle within an hour of each other.

Game Face scored her second victory in three meetings with rival Any Limit when she won the Grade 2 Inside Information Stakes at Gulfstream. Just Jenda was an easy three-length winner in Oaklawn's Grade 3 Honeybee on her way to the April 5 Fantasy Stakes and a possible shot at the Kentucky Oaks.

Results like that usually prompt U.S stallion managers to send out glowing ads, especially when, like Menifee, the winners have come from relatively small foal crops. But Menifee left for Korea in 2006.

The horse's breeder and former co-owner, Arthur Hancock III, still keeps an eye on "the Menifees," and he remains philosophical about the sale.

"I feel like, when we sell something, we want the buyer to do well," Hancock said.

Menifee, now 13, has had particular success with his fillies, including Grade 1-placed runners Gallant Secret, A to the Croft, and Game Face. He has 349 lifetime foals from seven racing-age crops, for an average crop size of just 50, well below the 100 or so for many highly fashionable stallions.

The pressure to cover large mare books is one of the reasons Hancock says he's all but out of the stallion game. He stands just one horse at his Stone Farm in Paris, Ky. That's the homebred Quest, a Grade 2-winning son of Seeking the Gold who stands for $2,500.

"We stood Halo here, and he was a leading stallion, and we stood Cougar, Bold Forbes, Northern Baby," Hancock said. "This year I sold the part of the farm where my stud barn was because I'm 66 and won't compromise my principles or what I was taught and believe myself. It would be easy for me to go offer so much for a stallion, then breed him to 150 mares the first year. But I'm not going to do it, and that's why I'm out of the stallion business. My philosophy is that a stallion produces good horses with fewer covers, and it's also so the people that breed to him don't go to the sale and they're one of 80 or 90 yearlings.

"We limited his book size, and if I get another one like Menifee, I'll do the same again," he said. "I feel real proud of that and proud of Menifee, and I hope he gets some more."

Eavesdropper heading from Pa. to Australia

A.P. Indy's half-brother Eavesdropper has been sold to Emirates Park Stud in New South Wales, Australia. He currently stands as the property of a syndicate at Walmac Pennsylvania in Grantville, Pa. His 2009 advertised fee is $5,000.

Eavesdropper is a 9-year-old Kingmambo horse out of Weekend Surprise. He is the sire of stakes performer Hear No Angel.

Walmac representative George Hills said Monday that Eavesdropper will finish out the 2009 breeding season in Pennsylvania, where he's expected to cover between 60 and 70 mares.

In another stallion move, South African Triple Crown winner and Horse of the Year Horse Chestnut will return to his native country on March 21, according to the Racing Post. The 14-year-old Horse Chestnut, a son of Fort Wood, stands at Claiborne Farm for a $5,000 fee. He debuted in the U.S. in 2000 with a 5 1/2-length victory in the Broward Handicap, but an injury forced his retirement.

In South Africa, Horse Chestnut will stand at Johan and Gaynor Rupert's Drakenheim Stud. His most notable runner in the U.S. is Grade 1 winner Lucifer's Stone, but he also is the sire of a promising South African juvenile filly in Cashew Nut.

* Even the Score, sire of the 3-year-old graded performers Four Gifts and Take the Points, has gotten a fee raise. Ro Parra's Millennium Farms has doubled the Unbridled's Song horse's fee from $7,500 to $15,000. Parra said the 11-year-old stallion's book is "essentially full" but that the farm "will accept a few more quality mares at the $15,000 fee."