11/09/2007 12:00AM

Ky. stallions Monashee Mountain, Thunderello arrive

EmailINGLEWOOD, Calif. - When Rhythm, the 1989 champion 2-year-old male, died earlier this year at Diamond F Ranch in Grass Valley, Calif., farm owner Dave Ferguson knew he needed a new stallion for the 2008 breeding season.

He has found two - Thunderello and Monashee Mountain, who both stood in Kentucky earlier this year. The stallions arrived last weekend and will stand for $5,000 in 2008.

Ferguson is hoping that the new stallions will add traffic to his 75-acre farm, which is an hour from Sacramento in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountain range.

"California is a tough stallion market, but I think we'll do okay," he said. "We'll take what we can get, but we'd like a little quality."

Ferguson said he had been in touch repeatedly with officials from Ashford Stud about the availability of Monashee Mountain. Last year, Monashee Mountain, by Danzig, stood for $7,500 at Ashford Stud.

"They were going to sell him to Turkey or Spain," Ferguson said. "I kept bugging them and they said yes. I'm managing the horse out here for them. He's a good Danzig line" stallion.

Monashee Mountain, 10, won 4 of 7 starts and $110,117 in Europe, including two Group 3 stakes in Ireland. A half-brother to 2003 Horse of the Year Mineshaft, Monashee Mountain has had four crops to race and is the sire of the Australian stakes winner La Montagna ($577,169) and Shamoan, winner of the 2005 Iowa Derby and $397,680.

Thunderello, 8, won 3 of 7 starts and $388,400 and was second to Orientate in the 2002 Breeders' Cup Sprint at Arlington Park. Thunderello stood for $5,000 at Walmac Farm in 2007. Thunderello has had two crops to race and is the sire of CJ's Lightning, a multiple winner at Woodbine who has earned $143,675.

Ferguson said he hopes to appeal to breeders that want to race.

"We're in it to make racehorses," he said. "We're not in it too much on the commercial market."

The farm also stands Del Mar Show (by Theatrical), Sir Opus (Unbridled), and Video Graphic (Mr. Prospector).P

Fran's Valentine euthanized

Fran's Valentine, who was euthanized last month because of old age infirmities in Pennsylvania, was one of history's finest California-bred females.

Racing from 1984-87, she won 13 of 34 starts and $1,375,465 in an era when purses were lower than today. Her impact was so great that only one other statebred female has surpassed her career earnings - Moscow Burning, with $1,417,800.

Fran's Valentine was the statebred champion 2-year-old filly of 1984, champion 3-year-old filly of 1985, and champion older female in 1986-87. She won the 1985 Kentucky Oaks, and finished first in the 1984 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies but was disqualified and placed 10th for causing interference.

Fran's Valentine was bred by Earl Scheib and raced for his Green Thumb Farm Stable. At the time of her death, she was owned by George Strawbridge Jr. For Strawbridge, Fran's Valentine produced With Anticipation, a multiple graded stakes winner and winner of $2,660,543.

Bertrando runners score in Cal Cup

Wins on California Cup Day by Gentle Charmer (Distaff), Sierra Sunset (Juvenile), and Bilo (Sprint) have given Bertrando a nearly insurmountable lead in the rankings of California stallions by progeny earnings for 2007.

Through Thursday, Bertrando's foals had earned $3,812,697 this year, one of five stallions in the state with earnings of $3 million or more. Deputy Commander is second with $3,195,837, followed by In Excess, Unusual Heat, and Swiss Yodeler.

Unusual Heat had two winners on California Cup Day - Unusual Suspect (Mile) and Runforthemoneybaby (Juvenile Fillies).