10/12/2004 12:00AM

Lear Fan relieved of stud duty at age 23

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LEXINGTON, Ky. - Longtime Gainesway stallion Lear Fan, sire of such champions as Windsharp and Ryafan, has been pensioned from stud duty at age 23. The Roberto horse's fertility had declined, prompting his retirement.

"Lear Fan has been a source of pride for Gainesway," farm president Antony Beck said. "He had an outstanding career as both a racehorse and sire, and we have been honored to have him at the farm."

C.P. Karpidas bred Lear Fan from the Lt. Stevens mare Wac, a full sister to 1987 Kentucky Derby winner and 1988 Horse of the Year Alysheba. Racing for Ahmed Salman, Lear Fan developed into a leading runner at 2 and 3. As a juvenile in 1983, he captured England's Group 2 Champagne Stakes, then followed up the next season with victories in the Group 1 Prix Jacques le Marois and the Group 3 Craven Stakes. He also finished second in the Prix du Moulin de Longchamp and the English 2000 Guineas, both Group 1's. He retired from racing with a lifetime record of 8-5-1-1 and $175,901 in earnings.

Lear Fan has sired five millionaires: Ryafan, Windsharp, Sikeston, Sarafan, and Labeeb. Ryafan was North America's champion grass mare and Europe's champion 3-year-old filly in 1997, while Windsharp was a two-time champion in Canada.

Lear Fan's other outstanding runners include Chopinina, Canadian grass champion in 2002; Grade 1 winner Dublino; French Group 1 winners Loup Solitaire and Tiraaz; Grade 2 winner Fanmore; Group 2 winner Verveine; and Grade 3 winners Casual Lies and Fantastic Fellow. More recently, Lear Fan sired Art Fan, winner of the 2004 Virginia Oaks.

Lear Fan also has become an influential broodmare sire. Windsharp is the dam of 2003 Breeders' Cup Turf winner Johar and Grade 1 winner Dessert. Lear Fan also is the broodmare sire of Kitten's Joy, recent winner of the Grade 1 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Invitational.

Lear Fan has sired 55 stakes winners and has $41,302,921 in progeny earnings. He will live out his days at Gainesway in Lexington.

Ocala sale closes way up

Coming less than two weeks after Fasig-Tipton's Midlantic yearling market rang up increases and a sale-record $500,000 top price for a Silver Deputy colt, the Ocala Breeders' Sales Co.'s fall mixed sale saw sharp rises in income at the first of its two consignor-preferred sessions on Monday.

The session sold 202 lots for $4,401,000, far above its total of $2,687,300 for 169 horses last year. The 2004 opening-session average price was $21,787, an increase of 37 percent from last year's equivalent session average of $15,901. Median fared even better, climbing 43 percent from last year's $10,500. But the buyback rate barely wavered, dipping from 30 percent to 29 percent, suggesting that the market for stock remained highly selective, even though buyers paid more generously for horses they liked best.

At Monday's opener, a weanling Tale of the Cat colt offered by Summerfield, agent, brought the day's highest price of $120,000 from buyer Sabine Stable. The colt is a son of the Go for Gin mare Delirium, a half-sister to stakes winner Move.

The day's top broodmare price was $90,000 for Wild Mistress, a 3-year-old Forest Wildcat mare in foal to Trippi. Kelli Mitchell, agent for the estate of E. P. Robsham, sold the mare to Kiki Courtelis.

The Tale of the Cat colt and Wild Mistress were among 23 horses to bring bids of $50,000 or more. Only eight lots reached that level at last year's fall mixed sale.

On Tuesday, the final consignor-preferred session, the second session's early leader at 5 p.m. was an $85,000 Yes It's True weanling colt out of Our Resurgence; Sunmist Farm bought the colt from Wesfield Sales, agent.

The OBS fall mixed sale also was to hold three open sessions ending Friday.

* Tuesday's second session of the Tattersalls October Part 2 yearling sale in Newmarket, England, produced a session-topping $197,348 Marju-Shimna colt that Gill Richardson bought from New England Stud.

* Dr. George Mundy, resident veterinarian and general manager of Hill 'n' Dale Farms, has resigned to pursue other endeavors in the horse industry.