03/19/2009 11:00PM

At new barn, Singletary also at crossroads


Five years after the biggest win of his career, the Breeders' Cup Mile, Singletary faces a pivotal year as a stallion in 2009.

His first 2-year-olds, a crop of 46, will reach the racetrack this year, and the success of those horses will determine how much enthusiasm breeders show for the stallion next year.

Singletary also has switched farms. He is standing his first season at Harris Farms, near Coalinga, Calif., having previously stood at Cardiff Stud Farm in Atascadero, Calif.

Singletary stands for $2,500, and has been bred to a small book of mares.

"It's been slow," said Dave McGlothlin, manager of Harris Farms. "He's in the bubble year of his stallion career with his first crop of 2-year-olds. We're hopeful that a few of them are able to hit the board and show some of the talent that he had.

"If they do well at Del Mar, I'll be very happy."

A 9-year-old by Sultry Song, Singletary won 8 of 22 starts and $1,754,312. Aside from the BC Mile at Lone Star Park in 2004, Singletary won six other stakes, including the Oak Tree Breeders' Cup Mile and Arcadia Handicap at Santa Anita.

With his success concentrated on turf, Singletary may not be the first choice for some main-track-oriented California breeders, but Billy Koch, the founder and managing partner of the Little Red Feather syndicate which campaigned Singletary, is hopeful the stallion's foals will run well on the state's synthetic tracks.

"Hopefully, they'll be able to run on any surface," he said.

Koch, an avid promoter of Thoroughbred racing in California, is forming a partnership of three 2-year-olds by Singletary who will race later this year under the Little Red Feather banner. Koch said that some of the owners involved with Singletary's campaign earlier this decade will be partners on the 2-year-olds, who will be trained by Bob Baffert, Marty Jones, and Mike Puype.

The ownership group includes Steve Sahadi, who operates Cardiff. The 2-year-olds are bound for San Luis Rey Downs in San Diego County in coming weeks to continue preparation for their careers, Koch said.

"They're nice-looking California-bred babies," Koch said. "Hopefully, they'll be ready by late summer or early fall."

Koch said that Little Red Feather has retained an ownership share in Singletary during his stallion career.

Singletary was one of seven stallions who entered stud in California in 2006 whose first foals will reach the racetrack this year. The group includes Excessive Barb, Emeritus, Ministers Wild Cat, Our New Recruit, Race for Glory, and Strive.

Big-money victory

By trainer Steve Knapp's estimation, Christiana's Heat's victory in the $125,000 Irish O'Brien Stakes last Sunday was worth much more than the first-place purse of $75,000.

The turf sprint for California-bred fillies and mares was Christiana's Heat's first stakes win, and greatly enhanced her value.

"She's worth a couple hundred thousand and maybe $300,000 as a broodmare," Knapp said. "She loves the sprints."

Christiana's Heat, 5, races for Albert and Kathleen Mattivi and has won 5 of 24 starts and $332,332. Christiana's Heat is by leading California sire Unusual Heat out of the Tiffany Ice mare Silverstrike.

In the Irish O'Brien, Christiana's Heat stalked the pace on the hillside turf course and outgamed Waveline to win by a nose. Christiana's Heat finished third in three turf sprint stakes from early October until January.

Knapp said the Fran's Valentine Stakes over 1 1/16 miles on turf at Hollywood Park April 25 may be Christiana's Heat's next start.