01/15/2008 12:00AM

Much expected of Eavesdropper


LAS VEGAS - The following is the third installment of an eight-part alphabetical series on what to expect from the new group of first-crop sires:

Eavesdropper (Kingmambo-Weekend Surprise, by Secretariat). Although he won just one stakes in a 16-race career, his bloodlines make him an automatic hot stallion prospect. He is a half-brother to champion A.P. Indy, Preakness Stakes winner Summer Squall, Dogwood Stakes winner Welcome Surprise, and stakes-placed Honor Grades. While Eavesdropper raced primarily on dirt, his close ties to Kingmambo suggest he might have had a better career on turf, and his late-maturing offspring will be most effective at 3 and older, especially on grass.

Even the Score (Unbridled's Song-Ashtabula, by Rahy). Unraced at 2, Even the Score showed ability at 3 and 4, but blossomed at the advanced age of 5 and 6. For most of his career, Even the Score successfully raced on turf, but he proved equally talented on dirt, winning the Californian Stakes and Mervyn LeRoy Handicap and running third in the Hollywood Gold Cup at age 6. A miler who could stretch his speed to middle distances, his babies should have speed and be versatile.

Fast Decision (Gulch-Demi Souer, by Storm Bird). Winner of the Withers Stakes on dirt, Fast Decision is a hidden turf (HT) sire whose offspring will certainly win on dirt but should explode at double-digit prices on grass because he is known only for his dirt success. But the HT truly comes into play here because of Gulch and Storm Bird up close in his pedigree. His dam, Demi Souer, is a half-sister to Dehere.

Friends Lake (A.P. Indy-Antespend, by Spend a Buck). A New York-bred with a Kentucky pedigree, Friends Lake won the restricted Sleepy Hollow Stakes at 2, but his biggest victory came in the 2004 Florida Derby. A.P. Indy is quickly becoming a sire of sires as his sons Pulpit, Old Trieste, Stephen Got Even, Aptitude, and Golden Missile have had success at stud. Antespend was a Grade 1 winner on dirt and turf and Friends Lake's runners should be best at 3 and older.

Gimmeawink (Elusive Quality-Miss Alethia, by T.V. Commercial). Elusive Quality had high speed on dirt and turf. His runners are characterized by speed, and Gimmeawink was best as a sprinter-miler. His female family has produced stakes winners over many generations. Gimmeawink is a half-brother to turf star Showing Up (by Strategic Mission). Expect Gimmeawink's babies to come out running at 2, showing the requisite high speed of this sire line, and then possibly transferring this speed to turf down the road as well.

Great Notion (Elusive Quality-Evening Primrose, by Dayjur). Like Gimmeawink, Great Notion was from Elusive Quality's first crop. He won his only two starts at 2, won the one-mile Southwest Stakes at 3, and was second in four other stakes, including the King's Bishop. Because Great Notion's babies should be precocious, he should make a statement among Maryland's first-crop stallions.

Hero's Tribute (Sea Hero-Eastern Dawn, by Damascus). A striking dark bay, Hero's Tribute is one of only a few sons of Sea Hero at stud, and his brilliance (speed) and stamina are big commodities as a sire. He scored a dazzling 3 1/2-length victory over E Dubai in the Peter Pan Stakes, won the 1 1/4-mile Gulfstream Park Handicap, and was second to Harlan's Holiday in the Donn. With Sea Hero on top and Nijinsky II as his second damsire, Hero's Tribute's runners will not only be successful on dirt, they will also offer great value on turf.

Jackpot (Seeking the Gold-Frolic, by Cox's Ridge). Having an all-Phipps family pedigree top and bottom, Jackpot never lived up to his bloodlines, but managed to win one stakes at 6, the Gulfstream Park Handicap, defeating Newfoundland at 1 1/4 miles. His stakes-placed dam is a full sister to Out of Place and half-sister to Lead Kindly Light, the dam of Gold Fever. This female family produced General Assembly, Versailles Treaty, Chief Honcho, and American Chance. Based in California, his 2-year-olds should get off to a good start in Cal-bred races.

Johar (Gone West-Windsharp, by Lear Fan). A solid stakes winner on turf at nine furlongs, he showed unusual stamina for a son of Gone West (undoubtedly due to the presence of Lear Fan as his damsire) to dead heat at age 4 with High Chaparral in the 2003 Breeders' Cup Turf at 1 1/2 miles. He is strongly bred top and bottom for grass, and his offspring should likewise be most effective on turf, including his juveniles.