02/22/2008 12:00AM

Kline rewarded for risk

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"It's exciting to be right," said Maryland breeder Alan Kline.

At last year's Keeneland September yearling sale, Kline took a chance by buying back his homebred Speightstown colt (out of stakes-winning Unbridled Lady) for $145,000.

The gamble paid off when the big, long-striding chestnut brought $475,000 - the highest price among colts and the third-highest overall - at the Ocala Breeders' Sales Company's sale of selected 2-year-olds in training on Feb. 12 in Ocala, Fla.

"He developed into what we hoped he would be," said Kline of the Maryland-bred colt, who was consigned in the name of G.W. Parrish's Parrish Farms, agent.

Kline said the colt had been sent to Parrish in Ocala immediately after the Kentucky sale, "and he really did a good job of training the colt and getting him ready."

"You never know about these youngsters," Kline said. "They can look awkward as yearlings, and then change completely."

The colt is from the first crop of Eclipse Award-winning sprinter Speightstown (by Gone West), who stands at WinStar Farm in Kentucky. Speightstown's stud fee, since 2005, has been $40,000. Kline, who favors first-year stallions for their upside potential, believes he made a good choice in that regard also.

Bloodstock agent John McCormack signed the sales ticket for Kline's colt, reportedly on behalf of a Middle Eastern client.

"I've been trying to find out who that is," says Kline. "All I've heard is that he'll probably go to England."

It was the biggest score to date at a juvenile auction for Kline, who has long ranked among Maryland's most successful commercial breeders.

Kline may never top the $800,000 sales price of his Unbridled's Song filly Nicky's Intuition (out of multiple stakes winner and graded stakes producer D'Youville Nurse) at the 1999 Keeneland September yearling sale.

But then again, he keeps trying.

Kline, from his 120-acre Honey Acres Farm in Boyds, Md., has bred and raced numerous stakes winners, with the families of D'Youville Nurse and Unbridled Lady accounting for much of his success.

Unbridled Lady, like her current 2-year-old, took time to develop her potential. Racing for Kline, and brought along patiently by trainer Robin Graham, she won or placed in six stakes, including a victory in the 2000 Geisha Handicap against Maryland-breds, earning $196,400.

A daughter of Unbridled, Unbridled Lady was in utero when Kline purchased her dam, Assert Lady (a 1988 daughter of Assert), for $57,000 at the 1996 Keeneland January sale.

Kline says he was attracted to Assert Lady because of the European influence of her sire. Assert (by Northern Dancer's son Be My Guest) was a top runner in his native Ireland and a 3-year-old champion in France.

"Foreign breeding helps to counterbalance the speed that's built into horses in this country," Kline believes.

Unfortunately, Assert Lady produced only two foals for Kline before dying of foaling-related colic in 1998.

Kline sold her 1997 filly, Pushy Broad (by Brocco), for $3,000 at the Keeneland September yearling sale. Although she never raced, Pushy Broad has contributed black type to the family as the dam of stakes-placed King Rizzi.

From four named foals, Assert Lady produced only one of real consequence: Unbridled Lady.

As a broodmare, Unbridled Lady has been a commercial breeder's dream come true. She has produced a foal each year since 2003. Her three older offspring, all fillies, sold at Keeneland September yearling sales for a combined total of $555,000. The top seller among them was her 2004 Awesome Again daughter, Lady's Game, who went for $200,000.

Kline has a yearling full sister to Unbridled Lady's top-selling 2-year-old. The mare delivered a Bluegrass Cat filly on Feb. 10, and her mating for 2008 is still undecided.