10/20/2006 12:00AM

New farm scores with Scat Daddy and his dam

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LEXINGTON, Ky. - Just five years ago, the Hennessy colt Johannesburg stretched his string of victories to seven with a 1 1/4-length score in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile at Belmont. The Juvenile was the pinnacle of a dazzling season for the powerful bay Johannesburg, who had won Group 1 events in England, France, and Ireland as part of an unbeaten 2-year-old season.

Success in New York made Johannesburg the U.S. champion juvenile colt at the Eclipse Awards, and he was also the highweight and divisional leader in England, France, and Ireland for 2001.

Although Johannesburg emerged from his Breeders' Cup experience as an international champion and the toast of his crop at 2, the big loser in the race was the previously unbeaten Officer, who also was undefeated going into the BC Juvenile and went off as the odds-on favorite in the race but finished fifth after an eventful trip.

Prior to the Breeders' Cup of 2001, Officer, a son of Bertrando, had dominated his contemporaries and cemented his leadership of the American crop of juveniles with a facile victory in the Champagne Stakes at Belmont.

Both Officer and Johannesburg retired to stud in 2003, and their first offspring are racing this year. Like their sires, those offspring have shown speed and early maturity, and the two stallions have been leaders on the freshman and juvenile sire lists most of the year.

So consider the parallel situation with these two competitors in 2006. After the victory of Johannesburg's son Scat Daddy in the Champagne last weekend, that stallion has taken a convincing lead in the race for overall leading 2-year-old sire and as leading freshman sire from his old rival Officer.

Scat Daddy is now expected to be the favorite for the BC Juvenile at Churchill Downs.

Not only is Scat Daddy a major first-year success for Johannesburg, who was from the first crop by his sire, Hennessy, but Scat Daddy is also the first Breeders' Cup starter for his breeder, Axel Wend.

Bred in Kentucky, Scat Daddy is the second foal out of the Mr. Prospector mare Love Style. Out of Grade 1 winner Likeable Style, Love Style was bred by John and Betty Mabee, who sold her as a yearling for $525,000 at the Keeneland September sale.

Love Style never raced and was bred first to Hennessy and then to his son Johannesburg.

Although the Hennessy filly is a nonwinner to date, the colt by Johannesburg has fulfilled all a breeder's expectations.

Named Scat Daddy, the colt also gave a powerful boost to the newly formed Hunter Valley Farm, which began operation early last year and bought and resold Scat Daddy as a yearling in 2005.

Hunter Valley Farm is owned by the quartet of Adrian Regan, Fergus Galvin, John Wade, and Tony Heggarty. Regan and Galvin are the hands-on managers of the boarding and sales operation. Wade and Heggarty are businessmen from Chicago. They joined Regan and Galvin in buying Hunter Valley, formerly known as Golden Gate Farm.

Regan said that Hunter Valley "bought Scat Daddy privately as a yearling early in the year for a partnership that included the owners of Hunter Valley and a couple of clients. He was one of our first purchases with the farm. We were always big fans of Johannesburg, and he was the best Johannesburg we had seen. "

The partners had their goals clearly in mind, and Galvin said that "Scat Daddy was purchased as a pinhooking prospect. He appealed to us because of his athleticism and his size. He was a big, raw colt when we bought him, not at all furnished. But you could see the potential that he would fill out and mature into a very nice yearling."

That is exactly what the dark brown colt did, and Scat Daddy stood out so noticeably at the September sales that he sold to Todd Pletcher for $250,000, which was the fourth-highest price of 2005 for a yearling by Johannesburg.

Two months later, Hunter Valley consigned the colt's dam to the Keeneland November sale, where she sold to Thoroughbred Advisory Group, agent, for $350,000. Love Style was in foal to Johannesburg at the time of her sale, and she foaled a chestnut full brother to Scat Daddy this year.

Galvin noted that Love Style is "an unusually big Mr. Prospector mare," and she doubtless inherited that extra size from her dam, Likeable Style. This mare is a daughter of English Triple Crown winner Nijinsky, who was notable for both his immense talent and for passing on considerable size to his offspring.

Love Style is bred on the Mr. Prospector-Northern Dancer cross, and this is the inverse of the mating pattern that produced Johannesburg, who is by the Northern Dancer-line stallion Hennessy and out of a mare whose dam is by Mr. Prospector.