02/16/2010 12:00AM

Jayaramans use versatile approach

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Few breeders are as diversified as K.K. and Vilasini Jayaraman. The couple, which bred and owns champion Summer Bird, has broodmares in Arkansas, Florida, and Kentucky. And, in the last month, they have moved two stallions into Arkansas: Explosive Truth and Stark Ridge.

The Jayaramans have had a lot of success in Arkansas. Not only did Summer Bird get his start at Oaklawn Park a year ago, but the Jayaramans were the leading breeders in the state in 1997 and 1998. They also stood Lyphard's Ridge in Arkansas, and he was the state's stallion of the year from 1995-1997.

Stark Ridge, who is a son of Lyphard's Ridge, and Explosive Truth, a son of Proudest Romeo, will both stand at McDowell Farm in Sparkman, the home of Storm and a Half, the leading general sire last year in Arkansas. The Jayaramans thought their stallions would be a good fit in Arkansas, and are bringing them in at a time when there is more money in the state's breeding program because of expanded gaming at Oaklawn.

"There's more money to go around," said K.K. Jayaraman. "I don't know all the details, but the purses at Oaklawn Park are very good compared with so many other places."

The stallions will both stand for a fee of $1,000, but if their foals are dropped in Arkansas the stud fee will be waived, said K.K. Jayaraman.

The Jayaramans have about five mares in Arkansas, with a handful of others in Kentucky and Florida. About three years ago, the couple had 65 mares between the states. But they now keep the number at 20 head, said K.K. Jayaraman.

"We're not in broodmare management anymore," he said. "We sold our big farm in Florida. We rent a [smaller] farm in Florida. Just as soon as the babies are weaned, we take them all there. The weather is good. We outsource the broodmares now."

Hong Kong Squall is the queen of the broodmare band, having produced Summer Bird, a Kentucky-bred son of Birdstone. Summer Bird was named the champion 3-year-old of 2009 for his wins in the Belmont Stakes, Travers, and Jockey Club Gold Cup. K.K. Jayaraman said Hong Kong Squall, who is based in Kentucky, is due to have a Birdstone foal in early May. She will then be bred back to the sire, he said. Hong Kong Squall currently has a 3-year-old colt by Jump Start, a 2-year-old colt by Johar, and a yearling filly by Friends Lake.

Lukas to be keynote speaker

Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas will be the keynote speaker during the Arkansas Thoroughbred Breeders' and Horsemen's Association's annual awards banquet on March 27. It will be held at the Austin Hotel and Convention Center in Hot Springs. Lukas is based at Oaklawn.

During the banquet there will be six new divisional awards given out, said Deana Echols, executive secretary of the association. They will recognize the program's leading 2-year-old colt and filly, 3-year-old colt and filly, and older male and female. In addition, the association will give out its traditional horse of the year award at the banquet, among other honors.

* Arkansas stallions who died in the last year include Canyon Run, Harlan Traveler, Humble Eleven, Proudest Romeo and Trust No Lawyer, according to the breeders' and horsemen's group.

* Grade 1 winner Proper Reality has been pensioned and is at Old Friends in Kentucky.

Texas: Valid Expectations still No. 1

Valid Expectations was once again the leading general sire in Texas for 2009, with progeny earnings of more than $2.7 million. The state's second-leading sire, Pine Bluff, had progeny earnings of $1.2 million.

Valid Expectations had 82 winners from 120 runners last year. Oak Motte, a stakes winner of $208,390, was the chief earner for the stallion in 2009. Valid Expectations stands for $10,000 at Lane's End Texas near Houston.

Wimbledon was the leading freshman sire in Texas. A winner of the Louisiana Derby, he stands for $2,500 at Valor Farm in Pilot Point.

* The Texas Thoroughbred Association will hold its annual awards banquet at Sam Houston Race Park on Feb. 20.