10/31/2002 12:00AM

New farm, same old great expectations


LEXINGTON, Ky. - If someone made a movie about Siberian Summer's stallion career, it could be called "Sire, Interrupted." But two relocations have not prevented this young sire from getting four stakes winners from his first two crops at the racetrack.

One of those winners is Cal Cup Juvenile Fillies hopeful Summer Wind Dancer, who enters the race off an impressive victory in the Cover Gal Stakes at Santa Anita. When Summer Wind Dancer is loading into the gate for the Cal Cup, her sire will be preparing to settle in his third home, at Alex Trebek's Creston Farms in Creston, Calif., where he will stand for $5,000 in 2003.

Owner Mike Power, whose relationship with the stallion's previous managers ended in dispute, says he hopes Creston will be 13-year-old Siberian Summer's last stop for a long and successful career.

"I hope the third time really will be the charm," Power said. "I made a couple of mistakes in the first two farms I chose for him."

Siberian Summer's saga began at Jack Liebau's Valley Creek Farm, where he launched his stud career in 1998. But in 2001, Power accused Valley Creek of using artificial insemination to breed some of Siberian Summer's mares, a practice that is expressly forbidden by The Jockey Club. The farm vehemently denied the claims, and The Jockey Club cleared Valley Creek in 2001 after investigating Power's accusations.

Power subsequently moved the stallion to Rick and Kathy Taylor's Special T Thoroughbreds in Temecula, where Siberian Summer, a Siberian Express horse, stood the 2001 and 2002 seasons. That sojourn also was fraught with controversy. Earlier this year, Special T announced it would auction Siberian Summer and a group of Power's mares in order to recoup payments the Taylors said Power owed the farm. The sale was canceled after the Taylors and Power reached an agreement.

Siberian Summer's arrival at Creston may be a fresh start for the stallion, but mare owners who breed to the stallion in 2003 undoubtedly hope one thing doesn't change: Siberian Summer's propensity for siring the kind of winners he has gotten from his first two crops. Richard and Yvette Wira, who campaign homebred Summer Wind Dancer, are counting on that. They have sent the filly's dam, Native Wind Dancer (Incinderator), from Kentucky to California for another mating to Siberian Summer in 2003.

"We came up with Siberian Summer in the first place when we did a Werk Thoroughbred analysis of our mare," Yvette Wira said. "He was one of the choices they recommended. In Excess also was on that list in the top three, but his stud fee was quite a bit more. Siberian Express is the sire of both In Excess and Siberian Summer, and the bottom family on Siberian Summer's pedigree actually looked better to us. So, for the fee, Siberian Summer seemed to be a really good choice for us."

Power's reasoning was much the same when he bought Siberian Summer, a Buckram Oak homebred, in 1997. The son of Mia Karina, by Icecapade, was 5 at the time. A half-brother to English Group 3 winner Magnificient Style, Siberian Summer had a race record that featured six wins from 32 starts, including a Grade 1 victory in the Strub Stakes and seconds in the Volante Handicap and Bay Meadows Derby, both Grade 3's. He had more than $500,000 in earnings, and he also had a family that appealed to Power.

"When you have great mares like Delta, Shenanigans, and Pocahontas so close up in a stallion's pedigree, you have to have a good chance at success with him," Power said. "Several things attracted me to him when I bought him in the fall of '97. First, I was a big fan of his when he was racing. When he beat Bertrando to win the Strub [1993], his performance was so game. He visibly found that next gear.

"Also, In Excess was just coming into his own as a sire, and that was the trigger for me, because they're by the same sire. I knew breeders would want to get into that sire line for a fraction of the cost."

In Excess, California's leading sire, stands in 2003 for a private fee. Siberian Summer's 2003 fee will be $5,000, up from this year's $3,500 fee.

Power believes the fee raise is justified, given the performances of Summer Wind Dancer; I'm Smokin Stakes winner Siberland; San Juan County Juvenile Fillies Stakes winner Russian Olive; and Prairie Lily Sales Stakes winner Swing in Satin, among other winners. And he says he's hopeful that Creston Farms will present new opportunities for his young stallion.

"When I chose Creston, I wanted a farm with a squeaky-clean reputation that wasn't going to go under next week, and that did a good job with horsemanship and marketing," Power said. "I also wanted a farm that was in the right location. California is such a long state, and we have good mares from the top of it to the bottom of it. A number of mare owners are hesitant to ship from the northern part of the state down to San Diego, where Siberian Summer has stood before. Creston's location in central California will help us attract mare owners from the southern, central, and northern parts of the state. I felt it was in the horse's best interests to be in the middle of the state.

"Opportunity is half the battle," Power added. "I've recruited mares both in and out of California that I think will fit him well, mares who should nick well on bloodlines and conformation."

Power also plans to breed about 10 of his own mares to Siberian Summer, and he's planning to acquire one or two other candidates for the stallion's book at this year's November mixed sales.

"I've gotten about 30 mares booked to him already, and that's been almost without trying," he said. "I appreciate the support of these mare owners, and I feel confident that the best is yet to come for him. More than likely, his babies are going to get better when they go around two turns. And he's proving to be a really good sire who can move his mares up.

"His first crop wasn't as large as his second crop, and then we lost about four or five of his 2-year-olds last year to deaths," Power continued. "It broke my heart. One by one, they died. One colicked, another became a wobbler. But this year, the gods seem to be with us, and now we're seeing the things I always expected out of this horse."

Power remains confident that his intrepid stallion hasn't lost any customers by moving so frequently in the early stage of his career.

"Summer Wind Dancer may go in the Hollywood Starlet, and they're considering the Hollywood Futurity for Siberland," Power said, "so he's got some other 2-year-olds coming up that I'm over the moon about. By this time next year, we might be seeing Siberian Summer's name on every page in the Daily Racing Form."

If so, Power will be thankful, but he won't be entirely surprised.

"I fell in love with him when I saw him," Power said. "He has such presence. You never know for sure in this game, but my gut told me he was going to make it."