12/08/2006 12:00AM

Modest horse could be running for the roses


Randy Edwards and his wife, Lucy, hit a home run last week, when Birdbirdistheword, whom they bred, won the Grade 3, $1 million Delta Jackpot at Delta Downs.

"Looks like we may be going to the [Kentucky] Derby," Randy Edwards said the morning after the race.

The victory, his third in five career starts, was worth $600,000, elevating Birdbirdistheword's lifetime earnings to $702,100. The graded earnings from the Jackpot assure Birdbirdistheword of a starting position in the Kentucky Derby - if his current connections, owner Raymond Cottrell Jr. and trainer Ken McPeek, decide to run him in the race.

Birdbirdistheword is a son of Pure Prize out of Berchta. Berchta, by Rocky Mountain, a son of Alydar, was consigned to the January Ocala Breeders' Sales Co. mixed sale in 2004.

"My wife, Lucy, and I go over the catalog independent of one another," Edwards said. "When we both hit on the same horse, we calculate a price we're willing to go to, and we go for it."

Edwards said that he looks for winners and horses who are closely related to winners - stakes winners, if they fall in his price range. Berchta, in foal to the Storm Cat stallion Pure Prize, fit the criteria. The Edwardses bought Berchta for $10,000.

The resulting colt, Birdbirdistheword, was entered as a young yearling the following January at the 2005 OBS winter mixed sale. However, he failed to bring his reserve and went home for $26,000.

"Our business is selling," said Edwards. "So we entered him in the OBS August yearling sale, and we got $32,000. The market had spoken, and we were not at that time ready to take him to the 2-year-olds in training sales."

The next produce of Berchta was a colt by Drewman. He is being readied for the 2007 OBS April sale of 2-year-olds in training.

Berchta is currently in foal to Lido Palace, the Chilean champion and multiple Grade 1 winner.

Edwards moved to Florida from his native Little Rock, Ark., in 1981. He made the move at the behest of Dan Lasater, who needed Edwards's financial skills to help operate Lasater Farm in Ocala. For those who are not familiar with Lasater, his farm was one of the leading commercial farms in Florida in the 1970's. Leading sire Noholme II stood at Lasater Farm, as did his champion son Nodouble. The Lasater racing stable led the nation in money won every year from 1973 through 1976.

Lasater sold his farm to John Franks in the mid-1980's and returned to Arkansas. Edwards did not make the return trip, however, and elected to start his own accounting business in Ocala.

In 1995, Edwards joined the Ocala Breeders' Sales Co. as controller. Two years later, he and his wife bought an 11-acre farm in Williston.

When asked how he came up with the name Birdbirdistheword, Edwards grinned and said the horse is actually much less colorful than the name suggests.

"I didn't name him," said Edwards. "When he was with us we called him Alan. He was a quiet sort of a horse and easy to get along with. The name Alan sort of fit him."

* Get Away Farm, in northeast Ocala, will hold its stallion showcase on Dec. 16. The stallions to be shown are Double Honor and newcomer Imperialism. Refreshments will be served, and drawings for complimentary seasons to both stallions will be held between 1 and 4 p.m.