01/28/2003 1:00AM

Juddmonte makes it two straight


LEXINGTON, Ky. - Khaled Abdullah's Juddmonte Farms capped a prestigious double with its second consecutive Eclipse Award as North America's leading breeder. It served as another reminder of how dominant Abdullah's international homebreeding program is at the highest level of international racing.

The 2002 Eclipse Award is the fourth for Juddmonte, which also won as champion breeder in 1995 and as champion owner in 1992.

For any other organization, taking home the leading breeder title would be a lifetime high point, but for Juddmonte's phenomenally successful program it's more like gilding the lily.

In 2002, Juddmonte fielded 35 stakes winners in North America, France, and England, easily surpassing Sheikh Mohammed al Maktoum's Darley Stud, which had 23 stakes winners last year. Juddmonte runners earned $5,245,041 in North American last season, ranking it eighth by winnings - remarkable considering Juddmonte ran just 59 horses last season.

Juddmonte's international stakes winners last year included United States Grade 1 winners Beat Hollow and Chiselling; Grade 2 victors Decarchy, Mizzen Mast, and Tates Creek; and Grade 3 winners Shibboleth and Sightseek. Juddmonte also bred and campaigned 11 graded stakes winners overseas.

Abdullah, 65, bought his first four yearlings in 1977 and won his first classic race just three years later when Known Fact captured the English 2000 Guineas. From that early success, Abdullah has built a bloodstock empire whose mares and stallions are the equine equivalents of royalty.

Abdullah has studs at Juddmonte, Banstead Manor, and Eagle Lane in Great Britain; at the Ferrans and New Abbey Studs in Ireland; and at Juddmonte in Lexington, Ky.

Abdullah - a member of the Saudi royal family - rarely surfaces at North American racing events, even to pick up his Eclipse Awards. But his American manager, Dr. John Chandler, assures that the leading-breeder award is one that holds a great deal of meaning for the quiet prince because it honors a deep and lasting contribution not just to the sport, but to the Thoroughbred breed.

"The breeder award is the ultimate achievement in our business," Chandler said in accepting on Abdullah's behalf. "It reflects our whole breeding business, our stock, and the dedication of our personnel. We are very pleased and honored to win it."