04/01/2005 12:00AM

If Flower Alley wears roses, sire stands alone

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LEXINGTON, Ky. - The victory of Flower Alley in the Lane's End Stakes, Turfway Park's Kentucky Derby prep, has prompted comparisons between him and 2003 Kentucky Derby winner Funny Cide, as both are by the same sire.

Should Flower Alley win at Churchill Downs this year, he will propel his sire, the Forty Niner stallion Distorted Humor, into the most elite ranking of sires, alongside A.P. Indy and Storm Cat, among proven American stallions.

Although Distorted Humor has sired 23 stakes winners and stands for $60,000 at WinStar Farm, those credentials are not quite enough for him to rank as one of the super-elite sires in the country.

Only a supreme distinction will grant such a ranking. And siring two winners of a Triple Crown event would be the ticket.

Consider, for instance, the number of active stallions with whom Distorted Humor would have to share such a distinction.

There is not a one. Zero.

Considering stallions from the past three decades of racing, only Alydar, Bold Bidder, Danzig, Exclusive Native, Halo, Mr. Prospector, Seattle Slew, Sovereign Dancer, and Unbridled have sired more than one winner of an American Triple Crown race.

From the DRF listing of the top Derby candidates, other stallions with a live chance to sire a second Triple Crown race winner this year include Storm Cat (Consolidator, Storm Surge, and Sweet Catomine), Quiet American (Naughty New Yorker), and Maria's Mon (High Limit).

Membership in such a club has extraordinary advantages to both the farm that stands one of the elite classic stallions and to the horse, in the form of better mares to produce his foals.

Distorted Humor has gotten better mares due to the successes of his first crop of racers, which included classic winner Funny Cide and Grade 1 winner Awesome Humor. But the foals resulting from those more prestigious pairings are now only yearlings.

Flower Alley is from his sire's third crop, and was purchased by Eugene Melnyk for $165,000 at the 2003 Keeneland September yearling sale from the consignment of Walnut Green, agent.

The colt had been pinhooked to the yearling sales from the 2002 Keeneland November mixed sale by Bruce Smart, who purchased the colt for $50,000 from breeder Bona Terra Farms, with Paramount Sales as agent.

George Brunacini owns Bona Terra Farms near Georgetown, Ky., and bred Flower Alley in Kentucky from the Lycius mare Princess Olivia. Brunacini purchased the mare, in foal to Alphabet Soup, for $32,000 at the 2000 Adena Springs broodmare sale at Fasig-Tipton Kentucky in November.

The mare had sold twice in 2000. The first time was when Hopewell Farm, agent, consigned the mare to the 2000 Keeneland January mixed sale and sold her for $32,000 to Adena Springs. Rick Trontz, owner of Hopewell Farm, said: "I bought the mare off the track with a partner, and we put her through the sale without breeding her. She was a nice, attractive mare, and she brought just enough to let her go."

Brunacini said he was attracted to Princess Olivia because of her bloodlines and conformation.

"She has Sadler's Wells [as her broodmare sire] and the more classic type breeding we're fond of," he said. "I believe everyone wants to breed the classic horse. And also, this mare is average sized, well balanced, fairly correct, and looks like her father," the Mr. Prospector stallion Lycius.

Following the colt by Alphabet Soup in 2001, Flower Alley is the second foal from Princess Olivia.

But after the good luck with Flower Alley, misfortune followed. The mare's third foal, a colt of 2003, "got hurt as a baby and hasn't been registered," Brunacini said. From the first crop of the Storm Cat stallion Black Minnaloushe, the 2-year-old has been gelded and given away to a farm employee.

In 2004, Brunacini said, "We have a very nice Victory Gallop yearling filly out of Princess Olivia."

Brunacini both sells and races his horses, and could do either with the filly.

"Since the Victory Gallop was a very late foal, we left the mare open to get an early start in 2005," he said, "and Princess Olivia was just pronounced in foal to Monashee Mountain on a March 9 cover."

A group stakes winner by Danzig, Monashee Mountain is a half-brother to Horse of the Year Mineshaft and three other stakes winners. A leading freshman sire in Ireland last year, Monashee Mountain is standing his first season in the States at Ashford Stud in 2005.

With "about 50 broodmares" at Bona Terra, Brunacini will have a rooting interest in two Kentucky Derby prospects. In addition to breeding Flower Alley, the farm is also home to the granddam of High Fly, Verbality.