02/23/2007 12:00AM

It's time to choose best of state


Topped by Eclipse Award champion mare Fleet Indian, a total of 58 horses are nominated for the 2006 New York Thoroughbred Breeders Inc. championships.

Fleet Indian, who scored back-to-back victories in the Personal Ensign and Beldame handicaps, both Grade 1's, won 6oof 7 starts and earned $1,473,720 on the year.

She has five rivals in the older female category, a group that has another Grade 1 winner in Behaving Badly.

Behaving Badly's Grade 1 score came when she opened her season in the Santa Monica Handicap. Also nominated as female sprinter, she won 5 of 7 starts and earned $552,024, the top figure among the six members of the division.

The most contentious division could be the older males, in which five of the 10 nominees are graded stakes winners: Big Apple Daddy, Friendly Island, Funny Cide, Naughty New Yorker, and West Virginia.

The leading money winner in the group is Friendly Island with $614,500 in 2006, a figure boosted by his second-place finish in the Breeders' Cup Sprint. He is also among six male sprint nominees and is the leading money earner among that group.

There are five nominees for champion 2-year-old male, with Chief's Lake the leading money earner at $115,735 for 2006. He concluded his season with three straight wins, topped by the Sleepy Hollow Stakes.

Chief Officer led the five 2-year-old filly nominees with earnings of $262,076. After placing in the Grade 3 Schuylerville Stakes at Saratoga, she won the Lady Finger and New York Breeders' Futurity.

The leading earner among 3-year-old males is Sharp Humor at $490,410, most of which came from his victory in the Grade 2 Swale Stakes and his second to Barbaro in the Grade 1 Florida Derby.

A well-matched quintet of 3-year-old fillies is led in the earnings category by No Reason at $254,641. She won the New York Oaks, Iroquois, and New York Stallion Stakes during her campaign.

Certifiably Crazy, winner of the Draw Shot, West Point, and Mohawk handicaps, tops the eight male turf nominees with earnings of $234,261.

Sabellina, winner of the Grade 3 Cardinal Handicap at Churchill Downs, leads the seven female turf nominees with earnings of $274,159.

Twenty-nine of the 58 nominees won or placed in an open stakes race in 2006.

The Thomas/Lakin partnership is represented by the most nominees with six: One Way Flight, No Reason, Big Apple Daddy, Behaving Badly, Capeside Lady, and Fleet Indian.

The other New York breeders with more than one nominee are Eaton and Thorne; Berkshire Stud and Oak Cliff Breeders, Inc.; Chester and Mary Broman; Sanford Goldfarb; Sez Who Thoroughbreds; and Gallagher's Stud.

The New York Thoroughbred Breeders annual awards dinner is scheduled for May 14 at the Desmond Hotel in Albany, N.Y.

Oprah Winney earns graded credentials

New York-bred Oprah Winney became a graded stakes winner with her authoritative victory in the Grade 2 Barbara Fritchie last weekend at Laurel Park. A 4-year-old daughter of Royal Academy, Oprah Winney posted her third consecutive stakes win, adding the Fritchie to earlier wins in the Bouwerie Stakes and Interborough Handicap.

Oprah Winney sent her career earnings to $407,930 with a record of 5-2-2 in 10 starts, defeating graded stakes winners Silmaril, Great Intentions, and Carmandia in the $300,000 Fritchie. Bred by Gatsas Stable, she is owned by Michael Dubb, Sanford Goldfarb, and Bunch of Characters Stable.

Oprah Winney is the first foal of the Woodman mare Mere Presence, whose maternal granddam is Flyingtrip, by Vaguely Noble. Flyingtrip is the dam of Icona, a Group 1 winner in South Africa, and of Cock Robin, who placed in the Group 1 William Hill Futurity in England.

Initial dozen on Triple Crown list

Twelve New York-breds are among the early nominees to the Triple Crown this year, and three of them are on the ballot for state champion juvenile male.

That trio is made up of Lawrence the Roman, winner of the Damon Runyon Stakes; I'm a Numbers Guy, winner of the Bertram F. Bongard Stakes; and Keeneland maiden winner What a Tale, who also finished second in the Grade 3 Iroquois Stakes at Churchill Downs.

Admiral Bird, a winner at Saratoga and Keeneland last year and placed in stakes at both tracks, is also nominated to the Triple Crown.

Completing this list of New York-breds are Gansevoort, Phone Home, Monster Drive, Dr. V's Magic, French Transition, Indian Camp, Time Squared and Victory Assured.