01/09/2004 12:00AM

Legacy Farm showcases its star, Bop

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Forget the winter blues. January is a busy month in Virginia, with three events on this month's calendar.

Kicking things off are stallion showings next Sunday, Jan. 18, at the state's two premier stud farms, Legacy Farm in Bluemont and Blue Ridge Farm in Upperville.

Located within a 15-minute drive of each other, Legacy and Blue Ridge will showcase new arrivals as well as leading sires.

Legacy Farm's first-year stallion Bop is the star of the show, which begins at 11 a.m. A Virginia-bred 7-year-old son of Rahy, Bop was a well-known presence in Virginia during his racing career, capturing three consecutive runnings of the five-furlong Punch Line Stakes at Colonial Downs, including one in course-record time.

Bop equaled the world record for five furlongs on the turf when he won the Pennsylvania Governor's Cup Handicap at Penn National and set a course record at Gulfstream at the same distance when he won the Yankee Affair Stakes.

"Reaction to Bop has been very encouraging and should be even better when people get to see him," said Legacy Farm owner Larry Johnson.

Also standing at Legacy Farm is Prospect Bay, a graded-stakes-winning sprinter by Crafty Prospector. Prospect Bay was Virginia's leading sire in 2003 based on North American progeny earnings. Legacy is also home to Hurricane State, a half-brother (by Miswaki) to 2003 Breeders' Cup Classic winner Pleasantly Perfect.

Blue Ridge Farm hosts showings at 1 p.m. Its newest arrival is Breeders' Cup Classic winner Black Tie Affair, the 1991 Horse of the Year and champion older horse, who returns to the U.S. after standing in Japan since 1998.

Black Tie Affair is one of two Eclipse Award winners standing at Blue Ridge, joining two-time champion sprinter Housebuster, who returned from Japan two years ago to stand at Blue Ridge. Visitors will also get to see another Eclipse Award-winning resident - pensioned champion and top sire Lord Avie, who is living in retirement at the farm.

Black Tie Affair and Housebuster each had worldwide progeny earnings that topped $4 million in 2003, exceeded among Mid-Atlantic sires only by Maryland-based Not for Love.

VTA stallion season auction

The Virginia Thoroughbred Association will offer breeders the opportunity to select from more than 200 stallions standing at farms throughout the country during its 25th annual stallion season auction on Jan. 27 and 28. Bids may be made from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.

"Stud fees for the stallions offered range from $500 to $50,000," said Mark Deane, field director of the VTA.

The list of stallions offered, which is updated daily through the start of the auction, may be accessed at the VTA's web site (www.vabred.org) or by calling the VTA offices at (540) 347-4313.

Proceeds from the auction are used to promote racing in Virginia.

"Over the years we've used the revenue to get the message out across the state about the importance of racing in Virginia," says Deane. "In fact, without it, we wouldn't have gotten racing."

Leading trainer seminar

Barclay Tagg and Scott Lake offer insight on their successful operations during a VTA seminar to be held Jan. 21 at Charles Town Races, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Leading Charles Town trainer Ronney Brown will join Tagg and Lake in the panel discussion and will answer questions from the audience.

The seminar is $50 per person and includes a buffet dinner. Reservations are required by 5 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 19, by calling the VTA at (540) 347-4313. Information may also be found on the VTA web site.