09/26/2002 11:00PM

New York breeding: McMahons adding 60 stalls to operation

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McMahon of Saratoga Thoroughbreds, a prominent New York breeding farm, is expanding.

Joe McMahon, who owns the farm with his wife, Anne, said three 20-stall barns are presently being built on land that is located a few miles down the road from their main property.

The farm's primary property rests on 160 acres near Saratoga Race Course and is home to several stallions, including one of New York's most popular sires, Personal Flag, as well as year-round boarders.

On the secondary property, two of the new barns will house yearlings, and another will be filled with broodmares. There already is a 20-stall barn on the 100-acre property, which was bought by the McMahons six years ago and initially was used to grow hay.

Joe McMahon said the new barns should be completed by the end of November.

"This has been a big project," he said. "It will spread us out more and give us more quality and control over larger tracts of land."

Chequer sent across Atlantic

Chequer, who stood at McMahon last year as the property of Darley Stud, has been sent to Europe, according to McMahon. Chequer's first crop of New York-breds are yearlings this year.

McMahon also reported that there has been plenty of interest in Wheelaway, a son of Unbridled, who arrived at the McMahons' farm over the summer after his retirement from racing. The 5-year-old Wheelaway, who is being syndicated, will stand the 2003 season for $6,000.

Great State Challenge entrants sought

The New York Thoroughbred Breeders Inc. is in the process of contacting the owners of leading New York-bred runners who might be interested in participating in the National Thoroughbred Racing Association's Great State Challenge at Sam Houston Race Park in Texas on Dec. 7.

The inaugural Great State Challenge is a six-race event for statebreds from around the country. Each race will carry a base purse of $175,000, plus $50,000 for Breeders' Cup-nominated horses and $50,000 from the participating state's breeding fund. A New York law prohibits the state's breeding fund from distributing money outside of New York, so the total purse money available per race to New York-breds will be $225,000, providing the runners are Breeders' Cup-eligible.

The races are by invitation only. No more than two horses from the same state will be allowed to compete in a single race.

On Friday, the NYTB will submit a preliminary list of 10 New York-breds for each race to the NTRA. Among the panel members selecting the horses are Dennis Brida, the executive director of the NYTB, and Joe Spadero, the deputy director of the New York State Thoroughbred Breeding and Development Fund.

Brida said contacting the owners of the top New York-breds before submitting a preliminary list will allow the selection committee to see who expresses interest in the Great State Challenge.

"This way we can pare down the list and delete horses if we know there is no interest," Brida said.

Stallion's first crop is all the Rage

New York freshman sire Rage is making some noise with his first crop of runners. Through Sept. 23, Rage has sired three winners from four foals to start.

His winners are Sugar Mama, Rageously, and Fresh and Sassy. Overall, Rage's progeny have made 20 starts and accounted for four wins.

The beautifully bred Rage is the product of two champions: Gulch, the champion sprinter in 1988, and Waya, the champion handicap mare in 1979.

Rage, a 9-year-old, is owned by Michael Watral and currently stands at Buckridge Farm in Old Chatham. His 2002 stud fee was $2,500.

New Yorker average up at Keeneland

Forty-one New York-bred yearlings sold for a total of $1,733,500 at the recently concluded Keeneland September sale.

The New York-bred average at the 12-day sale was $43,256, nearly 130 percent higher than the average for the 55 New York-bred yearlings sold at Keeneland last year.

Of the 20 New York-bred colts and 21 New York-bred fillies sold, 18 went for more than the sale's median price of $30,000, including 12 fillies. The New York-bred colts averaged $44,315, and the New York-bred fillies averaged $42,248.

Topping the New York-breds was a $145,000 Hennessy colt (Hip No. 1283), who sold on the fourth day of the sale. Consigned by Spendrift Farm LLC (Bruce Kline), the colt was bought by John McCormack Bloodstock for Hesmonds Stud in England. Bred by Angella Yuzary, the yearling was foaled at Tom Gallo's Blue Stone Farm in Cambridge, N.Y. The dam, Hedge Ratio, is a daughter of Unbridled.