12/23/2005 12:00AM

Newcomer Ministers Wild Cat brings pedigree

Superbly bred, Ministers Wild Cat is out of champion Hollywood Wildcat, the dam of Breeders' Cup Mile winner War Chant and Group 2 winner Ivan Denisovich.

Last winter, Tom Stull was in the market for a new stallion for his breeding farm, Tommy Town Thoroughbreds in Santa Ynez, Calif. Stull came close to purchasing one stallion, but when the financial aspects could not be finalized, he decided to wait a year.

What Stull found for Tommy Town for the 2006 breeding season has more than satisfied his goals.

Ministers Wild Cat, a stakes winner in California and Canada, enters stud in February for a stud fee of $7,500, live foal.

Ministers Wild Cat, 6, will be one of the best-bred stallions standing in California. He is by Deputy Minister and is out of Hollywood Wildcat, the 1993 champion 3-year-old filly.

"I can't believe I got a stallion with his kind of pedigree," Stull said last week.

In a sense, the pedigree might even get better.

Hollywood Wildcat is also the dam of War Chant, the 2000 Breeders' Cup Mile winner and a promising stallion in Kentucky whose first crop hit the racetrack in 2004, and Ivan Denisovich, the winner of the Group 2 July Stakes at Newmarket, England, last July. Ivan Denisovich is trained by Aidan O'Brien in Ireland and is considered one of his promising 3-year-old prospects for 2006.

Ministers Wild Cat already has arrived at Tommy Town Thoroughbreds. Stull said that the death of the stallion Lord Carson, who stood at Tommy Town last year, prompted him to seriously pursue a new stallion.

"With Lord Carson passing, it forced us to find something," he said.

Stull spent most of 2006 following Ministers Wild Cat, who finished his career with 6 wins in 22 starts and earnings of $368,729.

Ministers Wild Cat was campaigned by his breeders, Irv and Majorie Cowan, until he was acquired by Stull late this year. Aside from the pedigree, a three-race winning streak by Ministers Wild Cat at Woodbine during the summer also caught Stull's eye. Ministers Wild Cat won the Jacques Cartier Stakes over six furlongs and two allowance races.

"He started running back again at Woodbine, and I race a few horses up there," Stull said. "I saw him running and it caught my eye.

"I was convinced that he was a stud I wanted."

Stull declined to say what he paid for Ministers Wild Cat, but said that he wanted to set the first-year stud fee at $10,000. The stud fee was eventually set at $7,500 as a way to attract more California breeders.

Stull and Tommy Town ranch manager Mike Allen are hoping that Ministers Wild Cat will attract 100 mares.

"I think we'll try to stop at that," Stull said. "We're on track to do somewhere near there."

"We've had a lot of people out to look at him," Allen said.

Ministers Wild Cat began his career with trainer Neil Drysdale in Southern California. After finishing second to Southern Image - the winner of the 2004 Santa Anita Handicap - in his career debut at Santa Anita in December 2002, Ministers Wild Cat won his first two starts of 2003 - a maiden race at Santa Anita and the Golden State Mile at Golden Gate Fields.

He later finished second to Ocean Terrace in the El Camino Real Derby and fifth behind Scrimshaw in the Lexington Stakes before being taken off the Triple Crown trail.

At the time, Stull was not following Ministers Wild Cat as a stallion prospect.

"There was no way I'd think I'd get a horse like that," Stull said.

After winning once in nine starts in California and Kentucky in 2004, Ministers Wild Cat was sent to trainer Scott Fairlie in Canada late that year. Ministers Wild Cat had his best season in 2005, earning $151,657.

He was sent to Tommy Town Thoroughbreds after finishing last in the Grade 1 Frank De Francis Memorial Dash at Laurel in November. Ministers Wild Cat is joined on the Tommy Town roster by Old Topper and Valid Wager.

Stull feels that with Ministers Wild Cat's pedigree, the stallion is ideally suited to a regional market such as California. Of course, his impact will not be felt until the first foals reach the races in 2009.

"I paid a lot of money for him, but I'm a believer that if you bring the product out the buyers will respect that," Stull said.

"I look at a lot of pedigrees. For us to compete with Florida, we have to bring in quality pedigree. I don't know of any other stallion in California with this kind of pedigree. It's unbelievable."