05/08/2002 12:00AM

Kris S. euthanized at 25

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LEXINGTON, Ky. - Kris S., sire of champions Soaring Softly and Hollywood Wildcat and two other Breeders' Cup winners, was euthanized Tuesday because of complications from a neck injury. The stallion, who stood at WinStar Farm near Versailles, Ky., was 25.

Kris S., a son of Roberto and the Princequillo mare Sharp Queen, was pensioned from stud duty on March 26, about a month after he injured his neck while breeding a mare at WinStar.

In announcing the horse's retirement in March, WinStar president Doug Cauthen described the neck problem as "an impingement, or a pinched nerve, that is caused by multiple bony masses."

"He'd done well in the last month or two, but he re-aggravated the injury," Cauthen said Wednesday. "We felt this was the best way to let him go with dignity."

Kris S. will be buried at WinStar in a pine casket painted WinStar green with the farm logo.

Kris S. won the 1980 Bradbury Stakes at Santa Anita during his 3-year-old season. After racing at 2 and 3, he retired with a modest record of 5-3-1-0 and just $53,350 in earnings, giving little hint of the success he was to have at stud.

Kris S. sired a handful of minor stakes winners in his first crop, but his career received a substantial boost when Prized, a foal of 1986, won the 1989 Breeders' Cup Turf. In years to come, three other Kris S. foals would find their way to the Breeders' Cup winner's circle: Hollywood Wildcat in the 1993 Distaff, Brocco in the 1993 Juvenile, and Soaring Softly in the 1999 Filly and Mare Turf.

Hollywood Wildcat also went on to produce a Breeders' Cup winner, War Chant, who won the 2000 Breeders' Cup Mile.

To date, Kris S. has sired more than 60 stakes winners from 18 crops to race, for more than $48 million in total progeny earnings. His Grade and Group 1 winners include millionaire Kissin Kris, Dr Fong, Kudos, You and I, Evening Kris, Cheval Volant, Stocks Up, and Arch.

Not surprisingly, Kris S. foals became valuable commodities in the auction ring. In 1999, his son Dubai to Dubai brought $3.9 million to top the Keeneland September sale. That year was the sire's best ever at auction, as 27 of his yearlings brought a total of $10,213,000 for an average North American sale price of $378,259. He sired three more seven-figure yearlings at last year's Keeneland September sale.

In 2002, before his retirement from the breeding shed, Kris S. had covered 10 mares.

Cauthen said he believed Kris S. made his mark on the breed with toughness and longevity. "When he had horses that were good, they were good for a long time, and they were tough," he said. "And as a broodmare sire, I think he really has a legitimate shot to stamp the breed."