09/23/2005 12:00AM

Matron winner the product of a nice mix


LEXINGTON, Ky. - Folklore left little doubt about who was in charge of the Grade 1 Matron Stakes at Belmont last weekend. Cruising home by 14 lengths, Folklore, a daughter of freshman sire Tiznow, proved herself one of the leading candidates for the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies next month and among the prime contenders for the Eclipse Award as leading 2-year-old filly.

A winner of three Eclipse Awards, Tiznow is a tall, very scopey horse by the Relaunch stallion Cee's Tizzy. After winning the Breeders' Cup Classic in 2000 and 2001, he was retired to stand at WinStar Farm in Kentucky. With the stallion's first crop racing in 2005, WinStar's Doug Cauthen said, "We've definitely been blessed to have him get off to such an early start."

As a big horse who required some time to come to his best form at 3, Tiznow wasn't a certainty to produce precocious juveniles, which are essential to the commercial viability of most stallions. But the stallion's owners - Michael Cooper, Cee's Stable, WinStar, and Taylor Made Farm - developed a plan.

Cauthen said that the partners allowed WinStar to set Tiznow's price at $30,000 live foal, "so that getting mares wasn't a problem. Because of his price, we were fortunate enough to have a lot of mares to pick from. And in developing his books, we did give some preference to selecting mares with speed and some early maturity in their pedigree and race record."

Tiznow's racing record was certainly distinguished enough, with 8 victories from 15 starts and earnings of more than $6.4 million. But each of his four successes at the Grade 1 level was at 10 furlongs, and the breeding pragmatists from Taylor Made and WinStar knew that without a dash of extra speed and precocity, the Tiznows could get lost in the freshman sire shuffle.

Among the mares accepted to the first-year book for Horse of the Year Tiznow was the good-looking mare Contrive, a daughter of top international sire Storm Cat. In addition to the mare's power and speed, the breeders were hoping that the combination of Tiznow's height and length would add the scope for distance so valuable to championship-level racing.

In the case of Folklore, the mix turned out just right. The filly has improved noticeably as the distances have lengthened. A good filly at sprint distances, Folklore came to the fore with a success in the Adirondack Stakes at Saratoga under testing conditions early last month, and the filly showed even better form in racing the seven furlongs of the Matron.

It is worth adding that both the Matron winner and the second-place finisher, Miss Norman, are out of Storm Cat mares. The most popular male-line influence in international breeding is poised to become an important broodmare sire. With more and more of Storm Cat's premium daughters coming into production each year, his significance in this sphere will only increase in the coming decade.

To produce the Matron winner, owners Bob and Beverly Lewis bred Folklore from the unraced Storm Cat mare Contrive. The breeders had purchased the mare for $825,000 as a yearling at the 1999 Keeneland July sale from the consignment of Three Chimneys Farm, agent.

Edward Kelly Jr. and Michael Kelly bred Contrive in Kentucky, and the mare is out of graded stakes winner Jeano, a daughter of Fappiano and the Grade 1 stakes winner Basie, by In Reality.

Last fall, the Lewises sold Contrive, in foal to Kentucky Derby winner Silver Charm, at the 2004 Keeneland November sale. Sam and Jo Pollock, owners of Pollock Farms in Kentucky, purchased the mare for $140,000 from the consignment of Taylor Made Sales Agency, agent for the Lewises.

Folklore is the first foal of her dam, and the 7-year-old Contrive has a yearling colt by Orientate, whom Mike Ryan purchased on Sept. 12 for $185,000 at the Keeneland September yearling sale out of the consignment of Taylor Made Sales Agency. A dark brown yearling colt, he possessed the powerful body typical of his grandsire, Storm Cat, allied with the scope of champion sprinter Orientate.

Since Contrive is passing on the most notable physical qualities of her sire - the powerful hindquarters of a super miler allied with a lengthy and robust torso - she appears to be a top-quality broodmare with an exceptional future. In addition, Contrive and her mates are passing along that highly important essence of the racehorse - the desire to win.

Contrive produced a Silver Charm filly on March 4 and is back in foal to Breeders' Cup Classic winner Pleasantly Perfect.