02/01/2002 12:00AM

Next stop Victory Rose for Comet Shine


ARCADIA, Calif. - If this is February, then the young stallion Comet Shine must be at a new farm.

Later this month, for the third time in the last four years, the Canadian champion will launch the breeding season at a new location. This year's stop on what has become a world tour is Victory Rose Thoroughbreds in Vacavilla, Calif.

Previously, Comet Shine stood at Madera Thoroughbreds in Fresno for the 2000 and 2001 seasons. From 1995 to 1999, he stood at Contemporary Stallions in Coxsackie, N.Y. He also stood two seasons in Australia in the late 1990's.

Comet Shine arrived at Victory Rose in late January after failing to sell at the Barretts January Mixed Sale as part of the Bella Thoroughbreds dispersal. After the bidding stopped at $68,000, Victory Rose's owner, Ellen Jackson, reached an agreement with the receiver of the Bella dispersal for Comet Shine to stand at her farm.

Jackson admits that Comet Shine's unsettled past has made it difficult to attract clients to the 11-year-old stallion.

"The poor guy - I hope he will be here for a while," Jackson said. "I'm doing a lot of calls and advertising. A few of the mares that are here are going to him."

Over the long term, Comet Shine's future is in the hands of the courts. The two principals of Bella Thoroughbreds - Michele Serrao and Bryan Rosenquist - have been charged with embezzling $12.7 million from Bank of America. They are accused of fraud and conspiracy for vault theft. A trial is set for March.

According to Steve Anderson, a court-appointed receiver, Comet Shine would be returned to Rosenquist and Serrao if they are found innocent. If they are deemed guilty and exhaust their appeals, Comet Shine would be sold, Anderson said.

While that issue remains unsolved, Jackson knows she has the stallion for this season.

"He came here right after the sale," Jackson said. "They had a fairly large reserve on him, but they needed that much in cash. A lot of people didn't know about it. He wasn't in the normal sales catalog."

Despite the traveling, Comet Shine has recently attracted attention as a stallion. Last year, he was the sire of two stakes winners in New York - Eye of the Comet (Damon Runyon Stakes) and Seeyouinmydreams (East View Stakes). He also had a stakes winner in Australia.

Jackson said he was bred to 30 mares last year at Madera and said that some of the mares represented decent families. Many were offered at the Barretts sale.

"They went out and spent some decent money to get some good Kentucky mares for him," Jackson said of Rosenquist and Serrao. "Who knows who owns them now? Quite a few were sold."

Comet Shine was the Canadian champion 2-year-old male of 1993, the year he won the Summer Stakes and Cup and Saucer Stakes. Overall, he won three of 14 starts and $204,612. He is by Fappiano out of the Vice Regent mare Hangin on a Star.

"We have no Fappiano blood out here on the West Coast," Jackson said.

Comet Shine, he noted, "is not a real heavy horse. He's a substantial-boned horse, not a Storm Cat-looking horse at all. He got the feminine side of the Fappiano."

Jackson said she may make an offer for Comet Shine if he becomes available for sale.

"I've got four or five people that would go with a partnership with me," she said.

Until then, Comet Shine has a new home in northern California.

New arrivals for new season

Two other farms in Southern California have recently added stallions for the start of the breeding season next month.

Sharan, who finished third in the Grade 1 Shoemaker Breeders' Cup Mile at Hollywood Park in 2000, will stand at Lov Acres Ranch in Murrietta.

A winner of three of 12 starts and $168,111, Sharan will stand for a private fee. A 7-year-old, Sharan was bred in Great Britain and is by Shirley Heights.

Fantastic Robber has joined the stallion roster at Flying Hope Thoroughbreds in Riverside. By No Robbery, he will stand for $1,500. Fantastic Robber previously stood in Ohio.