03/31/2006 12:00AM

J'ray's pedigree oozes turf


Lawrence Goichman favors turf horses, and he has bred a very good one in J'ray, a 3-year-old New York-bred filly who is unbeaten in four starts on the surface.

A daughter of Distant View out of the mare Bubbling Heights, by Darshaan, J'Ray has won the Jessamine Stakes, Selima Stakes, and Tropical Park Oaks in succession, and is being readied for the Appalachian Stakes at Keeneland on April 23 by trainer Todd Pletcher.

Goichman acquired Bubbling Heights at the Tattersalls December sale in England, where he has been buying since 1997. J'ray was foaled at Keane Stud in Amenia, N.Y.

"Darshaan mares are wonderful, and it's a great family that includes Kotashaan," Goichman said. "And prior to my acquiring her, Millennium Dragon popped up. There's a lot of horsepower there."

Bubbling Heights is a half-sister to Feather Bride, the dam of Millennium Dragon, winner of the Grade 3 Appleton Handicap. Bubbling Heights is out of Bubbling Danseuse, who is a half-sister to Haute Autorite, the dam of Horse of the Year Kotashaan.

"There are several crosses for Darshaan mares, and you really try to reinforce Never Bend," said Goichman. "Whenever you do that you are helping yourself."

Never Bend, the brilliant Cain Hoy champion juvenile of 1964, became an outstanding sire of European runners.

He sired the great Mill Reef, winner of the Epsom Derby and Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe in 1971, and Riverman, sire of nearly 130 stakes winners.

Mill Reef is the grandsire of Darshaan, while Riverman's son Irish River is the broodmare sire of Distant View, representing a cross that Goichman likes.

Distant View, winner of the Group 1 Sussex Stakes and champion 3-year-old in England in 1994, is also the sire of multiple Grade 1 winner Sightseek and Decarchy, winner of the Grade 1 Kilroe Mile.

Goichman said he likes turf racing because he believes it is easier on horses and helps them to last longer.

"You can get away with conformation issues that you could not otherwise on dirt," he said.

J'ray, named after Goichman's wife, Jennifer Ray, could also run in the Edgewood Stakes at Churchill Downs on May 5.

Goichman said she could return to New York for the Grade 3 Sands Point at Belmont Park on June 3.

Goichman is also the breeder of New York sire Read the Footnotes, winner of the Remsen Stakes and Fountain of Youth, plus stakes winners Technolass, Beebe Lake, Montreal Marty, and Willard Straight.

Fleet Indian on another streak

Fleet Indian, a New York-bred daughter of Indian Charlie who began her career as a 3-year-old in 2004 with four consecutive victories, won her third straight last weekend at Aqueduct in the Grade 3 Next Move Handicap.

Bred by Becky Thomas and Lewis Lakin, Fleet Indian sent her career earnings to $294,513 with a record of 8-0-1 in 13 starts.

Purchased for $230,000 at the Ocala Breeders' Sales Company March 2-year-olds auction in 2003, Fleet Indian is out of the Afleet mare Hustleeta.

Hustleeta is a half-sister to multiple stakes winner Cherokee Wonder, who placed in the Next Move Handicap in 1995.

Fleet Indian is the sixth New York-bred open stakes winner of 2006, and joins Behaving Badly, winner of the Grade 1 Santa Monica, and Sharp Humor, winner of the Grade 2 Swale Stakes, as New York-bred graded stakes winners this year.

Finger Lakes stakes highlights

The New York Breeders Futurity and New York Derby highlight the 2006 season at Finger Lakes Gaming and Racetrack, which opens for its 45th season on April 14.

The Futurity's estimated purse is $200,000, which would make it the richest race of the season.

Last year, the Futurity grossed $248,400, the largest purse in Finger Lakes history.

It is scheduled to be run on Labor Day, Sept. 4, this year.

The New York Derby is scheduled for July 15, and has a purse of $150,000.

The event is the middle leg of the Big Apple Triple for New York-bred 3-year-olds, which opens with the Mike Lee Stakes at Belmont on June 25 and concludes with the Albany Stakes at Saratoga on Aug. 23.

A bonus of $250,000 goes to any Thoroughbred that sweeps the series.