03/08/2002 12:00AM

New York: First-crop sires take a bow

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With spring looming, thoughts turn to 2-year-old racing, which in New York usually gets under way early in April.

Last year, the state's leading first-crop sires - Chequer, Ormsby, and Abaginone - ranked among the nation's top 50 such stallions.

This year, another group of New York-based freshman sires, some with very fancy pedigrees and solid racing records, are waiting to show off their first crops.

Sons of such fine stallions as Mr. Prospector, Storm Cat, Gone West, and Gulch are among the Empire State's freshman sires. The dams of these freshman sires, some of whom are multiple stakes producers, include an Eclipse Award winner. Here is a look at New York's first-crop sires of 2002, with statistics from Bloodstock Research Information Services:

Gold Token

Pedigree: Mr. Prospector-Connie's Gift by Nijinsky II.

Farm: Questroyal Stud, New Hampton. Fee: $5,000.

A stakes winner of more than $300,000, Gold Token won 7 of 26 starts during three seasons of racing. A 9-year-old son of Mr. Prospector, a noted sire of sires, Gold Token won dirt races ranging from six furlongs to 1 1/16 miles. Gold Token's dam, Connie's Gift, was a graded stakes winner on the dirt. Gold Token had 31 foals from his first crop.

Hidden Vice

Pedigree: Private Account-Dame Amour by Iron Ruler.

Farm: Highcliff Farm, Delanson. Fee: private.

Hidden Vice, a 9-year-old, didn't enjoy a distinguished career on the track, winning only a maiden race at a mile on the grass at Belmont Park from 23 starts. He was retired after one unplaced start as a 5-year-old. Hidden Vice's dam, Dame Amour, has produced several winners, including multiple stakes winner Learn by Heart. Hidden Vice's sire, Private Account, is the sire of Personal Flag, who has made a big splash as a stallion in New York.

Kazabaiyn

Pedigree: Shahrastani-Kazaviyna by Blakeney.

Farm: Chairo Farms, Geneseo. Fee: private.

Kazabaiyn, a 12-year-old with nearly $300,000 in earnings, showed his durability by racing until he was 8. As a 3-year-old he was a winner on the grass in France. In this country, Kazabaiyn was a winner on the turf, including the Grade 3 Explosive Bid at Fair Grounds as a 6-year-old and a 1 1/4-mile allowance race the following year at Hollywood Park.

King's Arrow

Pedigree: Storm Bird-Bestofbothworlds by Globe.

Farm: The Reading Farm, West Falls. Fee: private.

King's Arrow, a 9-year-old, was a winner at ages 2, 4, and 5 on the dirt at distances ranging from five furlongs to 1 1/16 miles. He was retired with three wins from 33 starts. King's Arrow's dam, Bestofbothworlds, was a stakes winner of $274,748.

Kingsboro

Pedigree: Talc-Pretty Sight by Blue Cashmere.

Farm: Bueti's Farm, Pine Bush. Fee: private.

Kingsboro, a lightly raced 8-year-old, won two sprint races at Aqueduct from eight starts. The New York-bred has 13 2-year-olds in his first crop. Kingsboro's sire, Talc, was a graded stakes winner and a leading sire in New York. Among Talc's progeny are Lottsa Talc, a millionaire New York-bred, and Zee Best, a restricted stakes winner of $720,018.

King's Grant

Pedigree: Vice Regent-Fast Tipper by Exceller.

Farm: Waldorf Farm, North Chatham. Fee: $1,000.

King's Grant, a 7-year-old, was unraced. This freshman sire is a full brother to graded winner Excellent Tipper, a New York-bred gelding with earnings of $925,498 and a track-record holder for 1 1/8 miles in 1:47.60 at Laurel Park. Fast Tipper also produced Lord Nelson, a group winner in Panama. King's Grant's sire, Vice Regent, sired Deputy Minister, a two-time leading stallion in North America.

Raffie's Majesty

Pedigree: Cormorant-Raffinierte by Surumu.

Farm: Sugar Maple Farm, Poughquag. Fee: $3,000.

Raffie's Majesty, the champion New York-bred 3-year-old colt in 1998, was retired after one season of racing, which produced $249,000 in earnings from a record of 2-1-2 in eight starts. Raffie's Majesty finished second in the Grade 3 Flamingo and was third in both the Grade 1 Travers and Grade 2 Jim Dandy. His sire, Cormorant, is pensioned after a successful career as a New York sire. Cormorant, a Grade 1 winner, is the sire of Saratoga Dew, the only New York-bred to have won an Eclipse Award.

Rage

Pedigree: Gulch-Waya by Faraway Son.

Farm: The Stallion Park, Millbrook. Fee: $2,500.

Rage, a stakes-placed sprinter, has Eclipse Award champions on both sides of his family. Rage's sire, Gulch, was the champion sprinter in 1988, and his dam, Waya, was named champion older mare in 1979 after a campaign that yielded wins in distance races on dirt and turf. Rage, a 9-year-old, was retired with $157,342 in earnings from a record of 5-2-7 from 20 starts.

Rodeo

Pedigree: Gone West-Wewarrenju by Damascus.

Farm: Contemporary Stallions, Coxsackie. Fee: $3,000.

There was no shortage of support for Rodeo during his first year at stud as indicated by his first-crop figures, which exceed 50 foals. The early interest in the 8-year-old stallion likely stemmed from the fact that Rage, like many of Gone West's progeny, was a precocious 2-year-old who won a maiden race at Belmont Park in a sizzling 1:08.90 by 15 1/2 lengths. Rodeo raced only twice more before his retirement without winning. Seventeen of Rodeo's yearlings sold at auction in 2001 for an average of $23,927. His sales-topper was a colt bought for $62,000 from Saratoga's preferred sale.

Tomorrows Cat

Pedigree: Storm Cat-Tomorrow's Child by Al Nasr.

Farm: Questroyal Stud, New Hampton. Fee: $10,000.

Tomorrows Cat, a 7-year-old who commands one of the Empire State's higher stud fees, was a busy sire during his first year in the breeding shed in 1999 with 53 foals from his initial crop. Tomorrows Cat, who is by one of the world's most influential sires, Storm Cat, retired after his 3-year-old season with $516,090 in earnings. Tomorrows Cat won the Grade 2 Pegasus Handicap and was second in the Grade 3 Pennsylvania Derby. Last year, 17 yearlings by Tomorrows Cat sold for an average of $16,271 with the sire's sales-topper, a colt, bringing $64,000 at Fasig-Tipton's July sale in Kentucky.