04/18/2003 12:00AM

A limited legacy for Archers Bay

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Archers Bay never got a chance to enjoy a long retirement from away the racetrack, and there will be only three crops of foals by the Canadian champion, who died following colic surgery last October.

The first group of Archers Bay foals will hit the racetrack in 2003, and a number of them will be racing for their sire's owners, Eugene and Laura Melnyk.

Josey Hill, Arch Hall, Kent Ridge, Connell Town, and Goodland Park are just some of the Archers Bay offspring who are working regularly at the Melnyks' Winding Oaks Farm in Ocala, Fla. Many are expected to join trainer Mark Casse's barn at Woodbine.

Archers Bay, a $120,000 Keeneland September yearling purchase, won the 1998 Queen's Plate and Prince of Wales Stakes. A son of Silver Deputy, Archers Bay entered stud in 2000 at Windfields Farm in Oshawa, Ontario. Last year his Canadian yearlings sold for an average of almost $30,000. He has 51 named juveniles in his first crop through April 16.

Other first-crop sires to watch out for when juvenile races get under way include a stakes winner, Stephanotis, and the stakes-placed Smoke, both of who will pass on speed to their foals. Stakes winners My Imperial Slew and Valid Trefaire, who were also quick runners, are other sires with their first crops racing this year.

The Melnyks will have their second crop of homebreds racing in 2003. They have had eight starters and two winners through

April 16, including a very promising Canadian 3-year-old, Judge Ruckus.

A son of Judge T C from the mare Reason to Ruckus, Judge Ruckus was stakes placed three times in Alberta last year and was a recent maiden winner at Stampede Park in Calgary by 4 1/2 lengths.

Reason to Ruckus was carrying Judge Ruckus when Eugene Melnyk purchased her for $27,000 in 1999. She has since been sold for $6,500 in foal to Archers Bay.

Record juvenile out of Canadian-bred mare

The dam of the world record $2.7 million 2-year-old, who sold last month at Barretts in California, was Swift Spirit, bred in Ontario by Jim Sabiston's Longview Farms.

Swift Spirit, a $15,000 auction yearling in 1993, raced for Bob Craig and trainer Heather Buchanan. She won her career debut at the maiden special weight level in July 1995 at Woodbine and showed a lot of promise early in her racing career.

After unsuccessful outings in stakes, Swift Spirit slid down the claiming ladder. She was in the barn of trainer John Charalambous in December 1996 when Andy Stronach claimed her for $8,000.

Stronach bred the mare to Friendly Lover before selling her for $8,200 to James Elliott. The resulting foal was a minor stakes winner, Friendly Spirit.

The mare was sold again at the 1999 Keeneland November breeding stock sale to John T.L. Jones of Walmac International for $9,000. Jones sold the mare's Sea of Secrets colt for $30,000 as a yearling at last summer's Fasig-Tipton July yearling sale to pinhooker Becky Thomas, who resold the colt to Canadian Charles Fipke for the record sum.

Fipke changed the colt's name from Swift Secret to Diamond Fury, and the horse is in training with Bob Baffert.