07/13/2006 11:00PM

Hook and Ladder's sale debut


Hook and Ladder is represented by his first crop of yearlings in the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky yearling sale Monday and Tuesday at the Newtown Paddocks in Lexington.

A 9-year-old son of Dixieland Band, Hook and Ladder is owned by Becky Thomas and Chester Broman, and stands at the Thomas's Lakland North LLC farm in Hudson, N.Y.

"I probably don't think I've ever had a better shot than with this guy, because of Chester and because he has had our in-house mare support," said Thomas. "Right off the bat he starts with a half-sister to graded winner Ready to Please and Chief Officer."

Thomas was referring to Hip No. 75, a filly named Gullible Gal by Hook and Ladder out of Guilty Pleasure, by Pine Bluff.

Ready to Please captured the Grade 2 Fantasy Stakes at Oaklawn Park on April 14 and finished third in the recent Grade 1 Mother Goose Stakes, while New York-bred Chief Officer won at first asking by 10 lengths in a restricted maiden special weight on June 30 at Belmont Park.

Gullible Gal was consigned by Burleson Farm as agent. Gullible Gal's second dam is Beaumont Stakes winner Exquisite Gal, the dam of multiple graded-stakes winner Ready's Gal and stakes winner Go Scotty.

Hook and Ladder is also the sire of a filly consigned by Eaton Sales, agent, as Hip No. 22 at Fasig-Tipton Kentucky.

She is out of Celeste Cielo, a daughter of Conquistador Cielo who placed in the Grade 2 Astarita Stakes and whose dam, Russian Legend, is a half-sister to stakes winner Winds of Winter. This family also includes Elloluv, winner of the Hollywood Starlet, Ashland Stakes, and Santa Anita Oaks, all Grade 1.

There are 23 New York-breds cataloged to the sale.

Hook and Ladder earned $388,120 during five seasons of racing, with a record of 6-2-3 in 19 starts.

He won the Grade 2 Gulfstream Park Breeders' Cup Sprint over the classy Trippi, and took the Grade 3 Mr. Prospector Handicap, as well as placing in the Grade 1 Carter Handicap.

Hook and Ladder is out of stakes-placed Taianna, by Cox's Ridge, whose granddam is Fairway Fable, winner of the Pocahontas Stakes. Taianna's family includes numerous graded winners, such as former New York stallion Abaginone, the sire of Grade 1 winner Acey Deucey.

Hook and Ladder stands for a fee of $5,000.

Commentator sets sights on Saratoga

New York champion and Whitney Handicap winner Commentator returned to the races after a 10-month layoff to capture the restricted Mugatea Stakes at Belmont Park on July 12.

The 5-year-old gelded son of Distorted Humor was clocked in 1:15.76 for 6 1/2 furlongs, earned a 109 Beyer Figure, and sent his career earnings to $750,412 with a record of 8-0-1 from 10 starts.

Bred by Michael Martinez and foaled at Mia and Tom Gallo's Blue Stone Farm in Cambridge, 21 miles east of Saratoga Springs, Commentator is owned by Tracy Farmer and trained by Hall of Famer Nick Zito.

In last year's Whitney, he defeated eventual Horse of the Year Saint Liam.

Commentator is out of Storm Bird's unraced daughter Outsource, who is a half-sister to stakes winner Cogburn.

Third dam Quite Honestly, by Believe It, is the mother of multiple graded-stakes winner Hot Novel, the dam of multiple Grade 1 winner Behrens, an earner of $3,243,500.

Commentator may next run in either the Forego or Woodward, both Grade 1 events at Saratoga on Sept. 2.

Bestowed another turf standout

Gallagher's Stud's fine turf runner Bestowed won the $60,000 Da Hoss Stakes at Colonial Downs last Saturday with a last-to-first rally at one mile on turf.

A 4-year-old gelded son of Gallagher's Stud's late homebred New York stallion Repeal, Bestowed is out of Blond Lady, by Rubiano.

Blond Lady is a half-sister to the outstanding New York-bred Allez Milord, winner of the Grade 1 Oak Tree Invitational and a top performer in several graded international stakes events. And Blond Lady traces to Gleam, a half-sister to Flaming Page, the dam of champion and top sire Nijinsky II.

Bestowed was the 16th New York-bred winner of an open stakes race in 2006, and belongs to a strong division of statebred male turf runners that also includes Foreverness, winner of the Grade 3 Fort Marcy Handicap earlier this year.