07/11/2001 11:00PM

Last scions of mighty Mr. Pro


LEXINGTON, Ky. - Keeneland's July selected yearling sale, which will be held in Lexington on Monday and Tuesday nights, will be the beginning of the end of Mr. Prospector's reign in the auction ring.

The stallion, who rose from a workmanlike race record to become one of the era's most fashionable and profitable sires, died in June 1999 at 29. One man who expects to be on hand to witness this landmark moment in Mr. Prospector's successful Keeneland July story is Gus Koch. An assistant manager at Claiborne Farm in Paris, Ky., where the great sire stood and now is buried, Koch understandably will be interested to see how the last yearlings sell, starting with the seven offered at Keeneland July.

But he doesn't expect to be emotional.

"It is the end of an era," Koch said recently. "Mr. Prospector had a long, successful career here, and he had a long life. Losing him was very sad. The last crop going through the ring is a little anticlimactic."

But it will stoke memories for Koch and others who have seen generations of the stallion's progeny bring dramatic sums of money at the July auction after heated bidding.

The high-water mark, at least for the July sale, came last year, just a month after Mr. Prospector's death, when Padua Stables paid $3.6 million for his daughter out of Molly Girl. Later that year, at Keeneland's September auction, a Mr. Prospector colt out of Voodoo Lily did even better, bringing $4.4 million from Demi O'Byrne.

Overall, Mr. Prospector was Keeneland July's leading sire by sale average (three or more sold) six times: from 1992 to 1995, when his average ranged from $536,875 to $601,429, again in 1998 with an average price of $1.6 million, and finally last year with a $1,477,143 average.

"They seemed to win everywhere," Koch said of Mr. Prospector's foals. "Every time you'd pick up the Form, there was a Mr. Prospector winning somewhere in the world.

"They were not fancy," he added. "He wasn't fancy and his foals weren't fancy. But, my gosh, he must have put a lot of heart in them."

Anne Campbell dead

Anne Campbell, Kentucky's broodmare of the year in 1999, died May 10 at Arthur Hancock III's Stone Farm in Paris. She was 28.

"We assume it was heart failure," said Hancock. "She died in her sleep and was in her paddock. She had a good life."

Anne Campbell (Never Bend - Repercussion, by *Tatan) was the dam of Grade 1 winners Menifee and Desert Wine; stakes-winner Arsaan; and stakes-placed Excavate and Dupree. Her stakes-producing daughters include Mr. P's Princess, dam of English, Irish, and French champion Fasliyev; and Dame Sybil, dam of Alannan, Never Speaking, and Princess Sybil.

Plenty of Light retired

Plenty of Light, winner of last year's Grade 1 Spinster Stakes, has been retired by owners Aaron and Marie Jones. A 4-year-old Colony Light filly, she had not run since her Spinster win last October and has been retired because of a recurrent suspensory problem in her left front leg.

She will bred to Forestry, who is owned by the Joneses and Taylor Made Farm.

Plenty of Light, a daughter of Iceycindy (Northrop), also won the fillies division of the restricted OBS Championship Stakes last year in Ocala. She also placed in two other stakes in 2000: the Grade 1 Gazelle Handicap, where she finished second, and the Grade 3 Duchess Stakes, where she ran third. She retires with a career record of 7-5-1-1 and total earnings of $510,420.

Plenty of Light is a half-sister to stakes-winner Cold Snap and stakes-placed Rule Brittania.

In the news

* Breeders Robert and Beverly Lewis have reversed plans to sell the second yearling out of their champion 3-year-old filly Serena's Song. Denali Stud would have consigned the colt, by Deputy Minister, to the Keeneland July sale's opening session Monday night. Craig Bandoroff of Denali said the Lewises also have withdrawn their Gone West-Storm Beauty (Storm Cat) filly from Keeneland July and plan to race both horses.

* The Kentucky Thoroughbred Association/Kentucky Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders have announced new officers: Alex Rankin, president; John T. Ward Jr., vice-president (KTA); Bill Landes, vice-president (KTOB); Robert Clay, secretary; Charles Nuckols III, treasurer; Bill Thomason, assistant treasurer. Also elected to serve three-year terms as directors were Jim Bell; Robert Courtney Jr.; Dr. William Fishback Jr.; John T. L. Jones Jr.; Bill Landes; Don Robinson; Tom Thornbury; Jeff Thornbury; and Anthony Reinstedler.

* Fasig-Tipton, which will conduct its two-day July selected yearling sale at Newtown Paddocks in Lexington on Wednesday and Thursday, has announced that it will add a New Sire Showcase to its Nov. 4 mixed sale. The showcase, already a standard part of Fasig-Tipton's July sale, will feature foals by stallions with first crops in 2000 and 2001. Breeding stock sales director Dennis Lynch said the sale catalog will be limited to 100 lots, and weanlings will be subject to pedigree evaluation and physical inspection.