Updated on 09/16/2011 6:48AM

How appealing will Bienamado be?


ARCADIA, Calif. - In past years, California breeders have been slow to warm to stallions who specialized in turf racing. This year, they have a new candidate, with local credentials, to consider.

Bienamado, one of the top turf marathoners in the United States in the last few years, arrived at Cardiff Stud Farm in Creston on Thursday, just in time for the start of the breeding season next week.

A winner of 8 of 16 starts and $1,261,009, Bienamado won seven stakes on turf at distances from 1 1/8 miles to about 1 3/4 miles on turf. He retired to stud with a suspensory injury last month while attempting a comeback as a 6-year-old.

Steve Sahadi, owner of Cardiff Stud Farm, said he is in the process of syndicating Bienamado for $15,000 a share. Bienamado will stand for $5,000, live foal.

Sahadi admits that it may be difficult to sell a horse such as Bienamado to California breeders, who often prefer young stallions who specialized in dirt racing and showed ample speed.

He said Bienamado's ability to win over a mile in his career debut in England proves that he had more speed than he showed later in his career when he specialized in longer turf races for trainer Paco Gonzalez.

"I'm not so sure that he was a mile-and-a-quarter horse," Sahadi said. "He ran 1 1/4 miles because that was where the big money was, but he had plenty of tactical speed and he did win at a mile.

"When you look back at his 2-year-old form it was tremendous. I think he could have been effective at some of the shorter distances."

With the support of Bienamado's owner - Trudy McCaffery, Robert Sangster, and John Toffan - Sahadi is hopeful to breed 60 mares to the stallion this year.

"Like anything that Toffan is involved with, he will support the horse with his own mares," Sahadi said. "I'm going to try to and syndicate the horse to a handful of California breeders. Between Sangster, Toffan, McCaffery, and myself, he's got a good base of mares to start with.

"I'd like to see 60. I'll try to sell 25 shares to selected breeders. They'll get to breed to two mares on each share. If I'm successful on that, he'll get to 80 or 90 mares."

Sahadi has experience with such turf stallions. He stood Prized, the winner of the 1989 Breeders' Cup Turf, at the start of his stallion career. Prized produced horses capable of winning sprint races on dirt. Prized was later transferred to Kentucky.

"He was perceived as a mile-and-a-quarter horse," Sahadi said of Prized. "He came with six 2-year-old winners at Hollywood Park, which no one expected."

Bienamado never started in the Breeders' Cup, one of the few goals that eluded him during his racing career. His sire, Bien Bien, finished second in the 1993 Breeders' Cup Turf, while his grandsire, Manila, won the 1986 running of the same race.

Bienamado was a stakes winner as a 2-year-old (Group 3 Prix de Conde in France) and at 4 and 5. During his final two years on the track, he won three Grade 1 races - the Hollywood Turf Cup, San Juan Capistrano Invitational Handicap, and Charles Whittingham Handicap.

In his final start, he finished seventh in the Arlington Million last August.

"I'm hoping his race record will overcome his last start," Sahadi said. "I think he's a nice horse with a pretty big name."

State ranks third nationally

The California foal crop of 2000 exceeded 10 percent of the national total for the first time since 1996, according to statistics recently released by The Jockey Club.

California produced 3,418 foals in 2000, which ranked third in production by state behind Kentucky and Florida. By comparison, the state produced 5,284 foals in 1990.