02/22/2002 1:00AM

Mid-level buyers coveted by Fasig-Tipton

Email

Fasig-Tipton's annual Florida selected sale of 2 year-olds in training begins 11 a.m. Tuesday at Calder Race Course.

Last year the sales company changed its format from a Monday evening and a Tuesday afternoon to a one-time Tuesday session, a change that proved eminently successful.

"I think with the pressure that everyone has these days, that to be able to come down a week in advance to view the under-tack show, possibly go home, and come back again for the one session sale, it works out far better this way," said Terence Collier, Fasig-Tipton's director of marketing.

Is confidence high? "The sire power for our sale is very strong this year," Collier said. "We had a super under-tack show, all the sales horses came back without incident. Calder's track was in great shape.

"The big challenge these days is for the market to have some depth to it - support across the board. So we need to bring the middle-level buyers back into the market," he said. "Our sales graduates had a super year, especially those horses who went to Japan. Japan's economy is hurting, but I think they will be well represented at this sale. We have already seen several delegations here looking over the prospects."

There are 32 Florida-breds cataloged among the 327. Of these, only seven are by resident Florida sires. They are Notebook (Hip Nos. 132, 194, and 299), Sword Dance (Hip Nos. 5 and 256), Tactical Advantage (Hip No. 142), and Eltish (Hip No. 168).

Florida-breds on Derby trail

Two Florida-bred Kentucky Derby candidates tried to employ the same tactic this past weekend in graded preps for the classics. At Gulfstream, Booklet led all the way to win the Grade 1 Fountain of Youth Stakes for his sixth win in seven tries. He is a son of Notebook and was bred by Florida breeders Ginger Parker and Charles Baldree Jr.

At Fair Grounds in New Orleans, Bob's Image tried to go all the way in the Grade 3 Risen Star Stakes but was overhauled in deep in the stretch by the favored Repent. Bob's Image is from the first crop of the Bridlewood Farm resident Halo's Image. He was bred in Florida by Four Horsemen's Ranch.

"I always thought Bob's Image was going to be a nice horse," said Jeff Schwietert, the farm manager of Four Horsemen's Ranch. "I think with a little more seasoning he will be. Look at the Risen Star race. It took one of the best 3 year-olds in the country to beat him, and our colt did not have anywhere near the winner's experience."

When asked if there were any more promising progeny of the mare Gray Flannel P J's, Schwietert's voice lost some of its enthusiasm. "The mare has had a tough time since losing her foal the year after Bob's Image foaled. But she is clean and sound for breeding this year. I am not sure yet where or to whom she is going. Saint Ballado is a possibility."

Bold World solid sprinter

Amy Tarrant was among the busiest shoppers at the 2-year-old sales last year, buying close to a million dollars' worth from the winter-spring auctions. Among those purchased was Bold World, bred by Mike Sherman's Farnsworth Farms. She sold for $475,000 at OBS April.

A daughter of Fortunate Prospect, Bold World won her maiden in the Susan's Girl division of the Florida Stallion Stakes series. After failing twice around two turns, she returned last Monday to gallop in Gulfstream's five-furlong, $71,000 Dame Mysterieuse Stakes.

"I am getting hold of last year's game plan for Xtra Heat," said trainer Ron Taylor, "and that's the way we'll be going."