09/07/2007 12:00AM

Lawyer Ron's earnings potential still growing


LEXINGTON, Ky. - Following his impressive victories in the Grade 1 Whitney and Woodward stakes, Lawyer Ron has become the leading older horse in the country, and as part and parcel of that status, he has made himself a much more valuable stallion when he retires to stud.

When he retires, Lawyer Ron will stand at Stonewall Stallions in Kentucky. Stonewall bought a majority interest in the chestnut son of the Danzig stallion Langfuhr in 2006 before Lawyer Ron started in the Kentucky Derby.

"We saw this type of performance in the horse when we bought into him," Stonewall's Bert Welker said. "We're excited about him."

At present, Lawyer Ron races in the name of Hines Racing and is owned by Stonewall (80 percent) and the estate of James T. Hines (20 percent). Lawyer Ron Bamberger said that Lawyer Ron "is the only horse now owned by the estate."

While both Bamberger, the colt's namesake and executor of the Hines estate, and Stonewall representatives agree that the probable goal for Lawyer Ron is the Breeders' Cup Classic on Oct. 27, there is no certainty when the colt will retire to stud.

"I don't want to forecast anything now about when he'll go to stud," Bamberger said.

Bamberger states his goal succinctly, which is to make as much money as possible for the Hines estate, and that goal might include racing Lawyer Ron past the 2007 season.

"But nothing is set in stone," Bamberger said. "I take my responsibility to the estate very seriously. Any decisions I make are not off the cuff but are the product of careful thought. I consult with industry professionals, including trainer Todd Pletcher, and then make a decision about what would make the most money for the estate, because that is my role. Once he goes to stud, Stonewall will be managing his career."

With Lawyer Ron's pair of powerful victories at Saratoga, Stonewall's job has just gotten a lot easier. The colt has improved on the form he showed at 3, when he won 5 of 8 starts, and is now a potential champion. Both of those factors will make Lawyer Ron more attractive to commercial breeders, whose goal is to breed good horses and to sell them for profitable prices.

Not only will breeders be more interested in Lawyer Ron after his racing season in 2007, but the horse will undoubtedly stand for a significantly higher stud fee than he could have revceived if he had retired to stand at stud this year rather than race.

One stallion manager in the Lexington area offered the opinion that Lawyer Ron now could stand for two to three times what he would have stood for prior to winning the Whitney and Woodward.

Bamberger should be well satisfied with this state of affairs. The horse's valuation and earning potential are improving, as he had hoped they would with a 4-year-old campaign. Bamberger's reasoning was that "a horse like this, who doesn't have a major pedigree, has to earn his way."

"From what I can understand of the business," Bamberger said, "he can do that in two ways: by winning important races and earning a lot of money, and, after the first couple of years, by getting some runners on the racetrack that are successful and improve his value."

Bamberger has given Lawyer Ron the opportunity to show his best as a 4-year-old, and the colt has obliged in spades.

He is the biggest money earner for his sire Langfuhr and is one of two Grade 1 stakes winners this year for the stallion, who stands at Lane's End Farm. Langfuhr's other Grade 1 winner in 2007 is Arlington Million winner Jambalaya.

Lawyer Ron is the third foal out of the Lord Avie mare Donation, who was sold before Lawyer Ron raced. She "was sold privately for $500 to a fellow who came by the farm," Bamberger said.

Lawyer Ron has done plenty since, both in terms of earning money for the estate and in making his relatives more valuable. At the 2006 Keeneland November sale, Donation sold to Bobby Trussell for $250,000 in foal to Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Smarty Jones. The mare produced a colt for Trussell on April 1 and is back in foal to Distorted Humor.