11/08/2002 1:00AM

Local buyers are bullish on yearlings

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The Ontario Thoroughbred season is winding down, but you wouldn't know it by the way the local horse people have been buying up young horses and breeding stock at recent American auctions.

That is good news for future Woodbine meetings, after a 2002 season that was badly lacking in standout performers in most divisions.

More than 70 yearlings, or about 12 percent of the catalog, from the Oct. 21-22 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky fall yearling sale in Lexington were purchased by Ontario-based owners or trainers.

The busiest of the locals was Sovereign Award-winning trainer Robert Tiller, who picked up 15 yearlings. Dave Cotey, owner of Dominion Bloodstock, purchased 12 yearlings, and the partnership of Rocco D'Alimonte and Frank Annecchin took home 12 yearlings.

Tiller, who purchased stakes winner Dream Launcher from the same sale three years ago for $6,200, collected offspring of Valid Wager, Bianconi, El Amante, and Devil's Bag among others.

Other buyers included trainers Ross Armata, Tony Mattine, Nick Gonzalez, and Audre Cappuccitti, plus agent Richard Hogan, Huntington Stud Farm, Brian Cullen, and Majestic Thoroughbreds.

The largest purchase made this fall by a local farm was the $1.95 million that Robert and Mark Krembil bid for the mare Rose of Tara during the second session of the Keeneland November sale.

Robert Krembil, a former chairman of TriMark Financial Corporation, is building two divisions of his Chiefswood Farm in King, Ontario, and is on track to be one of the leading Thoroughbred breeders in the province.

Rose of Tara, a winning daughter of Epsom Derby winner Generous and a half-sister to Budweiser Irish Derby winner Salsabil, is in foal to top sire Storm Cat.

Chiefswood had purchased a Storm Cat yearling filly in July at Keeneland for $950,000.

David Willmot's Kinghaven Farms was buying and selling at the November sale. The farm owns shares in Canadian champion Talkin Man, now 10 years old, who was scheduled to sell on Saturday.

* Champion A Fleets Dancer will be retired at the completion of this season and will enter stud at Anson Stud Farm in Caledon East for a private fee. The son of Afleet has earned over $1 million for owner Cam Allard. Another new stallion is the impeccably bred Kinshasa, a son of Mr. Prospector out of Daijin, the dam of top 2-year-old filly Handpainted. Kinshasa will stand at Jim Sabiston's Longview Farm in Stouffville for a fee of $2,500.

* The Canadian Thoroughbred Horse Society's mixed sale will take place Nov. 30. There are 164 mares, yearlings, weanlings and one stallion share cataloged.

* Simon Cassidy, former farm manager for Sam-Son Farms in Milton, Ontario, has been named director of farm operations for Windfields Farm in Oshawa and will begin duties on Dec. 1. Bernard McCormack, previously the farm manager for Windfields, assumes the title of sales and marketing director.