10/14/2004 11:00PM

Looks like boom time for Yes It's True

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LEXINGTON, Ky. - Victory in the Grade 1 Champagne Stakes meant a lot for the unbeaten 2-year-old colt Proud Accolade, but it means even more for his sire, the high-class sprinter and now leading freshman sire Yes It's True. Proud Accolade handled the best Eastern 2-year-olds in the Champagne Stakes, defeating the previously unbeaten Afleet Alex by a half-length and running the 1 1/16 miles in 1:42.30.

Whereas the Champagne success will send Proud Accolade to the Breeders' Cup Juvenile as one of the public choices and make him a legitimate challenger to Roman Ruler, the colt's ability to stretch out past a mile and win at the highest level is the seal of quality for his sire.

Horsemen were not really in doubt about the athletic ability of the stock by Yes It's True. They knew he had speed, and they believed his offspring would have it, too. Buyers had paid well for the yearlings by Yes It's True when the first ones came to the sales last year, with yearlings selling for up to $170,000. And Yes It's True was standing for a $10,000 stud fee during his first four seasons at stud. Yet owners and their agents paid even larger sums for the juveniles in training by the stallion earlier this year, with 23 2-year-olds sold for an average of $119,000. The high price was $525,000 for a colt that John Ferguson bought for Godolphin at the Fasig-Tipton February sale at Calder.

The faith of breeders and buyers has paid off handsomely, as Yes It's True has sired 10 winners from his first crop of racers, with earnings to date of $861,930. They have speed, they are game, and they like to win. Yes It's True's other stakes winners include graded winner Chandtrue.

Last month, Three Chimneys announced that the farm had purchased an interest in Yes It's True from Padua Stables, which stood the 8-year-old son of Is It True in Florida through his first four seasons. The stallion will stand at Three Chimneys for $25,000, and his rise in fee is the direct result of his offspring's performances on the racetrack.

Yes It's True is currently third on the North American freshman sire list. He ranks fourth overall among sires of 2-year-olds, with three of the top four being freshmen stallions.

But until Proud Accolade proved it, nobody was sure if the Yes It's Trues wanted any part of distances past seven furlongs.

Now we know.

The questions about the distance capacity of the stock by Yes It's True lie in the stallion's performance as a 2-year-old and 3-year-old. He was first-class up to seven furlongs, but after that he was running on guts and gameness.

As an individual, however, there were no doubts. Yes It's True is about as good-looking a horse as anyone could hope for. Even though he was by the little-regarded stallion Is It True, Yes It's True brought $220,000 as a yearling at the Keeneland September sale in 1997, and as a robust and cat-quick juvenile in training at Barretts the next year, Wayne Lukas selected the horse for Padua, bringing $800,000. Yes It's True was a grand young horse and has matured into a splendid stallion.

He is lengthy through the body, with a good length of neck and an intelligent, masculine head. Yes It's True has the shoulders and hindquarters of a bull, but he is also light on his feet, agile and quick.

He has all the best qualities of his sire, Breeders' Cup Juvenile winner Is It True, and his maternal grandsire, Clever Trick, along with a few others. Standing 16.1, Yes It's True shows several of the traits of his paternal grandsire, Raja Baba, including the impressive muscling across the hips and well-defined hamstrings of the Bold Rulers.

In terms of physical quality and presence, Yes It's True is quite typical of the best stallions from the Bold Ruler line.

Although the line has rusted almost into obscurity, during the 1960's and 1970's, Bold Ruler and his sons were the most important line of breeding stock in the country. Today only the branch of Bold Ruler descending through Seattle Slew holds such high regard.

Seattle Slew, who spent much of his stud career at Three Chimneys, also features in the pedigree of the Champagne winner. Proud Accolade is the second foal out of the mare Proud Ciel, by Seattle Slew's son Septieme Ciel. Showing the typical speed of the Bold Rulers, Septieme Ciel won the Group 1 Prix de la Foret at 3, along with a second in the Grade 1 Hollywood Derby and a third in the Group 1 Prix Jean Prat.

Perhaps the added infusion of Bold Ruler through Seattle Slew will enable Proud Accolade to add further classic glory to this distinguished line of racers.