10/11/2007 11:00PM

Nineteenth-century line going strong

EmailPlaudit won the 1898 Kentucky Derby. The relevance to the present time is that this genuinely good racehorse has accomplished what few good racehorses have, and that is establish a sire line that has stood the test of time.

Plaudit established the family that put Florida breeding on the map via the success of the 1951 Santa Anita Derby winner, Rough 'n Tumble. Rough 'n Tumble, in turn, sired Dr. Fager, who in 1968 won four national titles: champion sprinter, turf horse, handicap horse, and Horse of the Year.

Dr. Fager is a foal of 1964, and that same year Tartan Farms had another scion of Rough 'n Tumble who would make his mark, albeit a much smaller one. His name was Minnesota Mac, named after Bill McKnight, the chairman of 3M Corp. and founder of Tartan Farms.

Minnesota Mac was an unusual son of Rough 'n Tumble in that his forte was running long on the turf. Minnesota Mac's zenith came when he won the 1967 Chicagoan Handicap as a 3-year-old.

Both horses eventually retired to stud. Dr. Fager was unquestionably the better sire of the two. He was a leading sire in 1977 and sired the co-champion sprinter Dr. Patches and the filly 2-year-old champion Dearly Precious. If any stallion appeared to be the chosen one to carry on the line of Plaudit, that role appeared to belong to Dr. Fager. But it did not happen, as today there are few, if any, stallions who trace to this champion.

Minnesota Mac appeared to be headed in the same direction but for one son, a onetime claimer named Great Above, who, unlike his sire, abhorred the turf. Great Above was a sprinter pure and true.

Great Above was a useful sire but not one who would impart dreams of grandeur to those who patronized him. That is, until a mare named Sharon Brown went to his barn in 1990 and produced Holy Bull, the 1994 Eclipse champion 3-year-old male and Horse of the Year.

Holy Bull begat Macho Uno in 1998. This Eclipse champion 2-year-old male of 2000 not only carried his sire's gray or roan coat color, his size, and his class - he, unlike his grandsire, was also best at a mile or longer.

Macho Uno stands at Adena Springs South for a fee of $12,500, which undoubtedly will be raised for the 2008 breeding season. The stallion is off to a heady start, with 11 winners from 22 starters - there are 45 registered foals from his first crop - including the unbeaten Wicked Style.

A chestnut colt, Wicked Style was bred by Adena Springs South and sent as a yearling to the 2006 Ocala Breeders' Sales Co.'s winter mixed sale. He was pinhooked out of that sale for $55,000. His next sales appearance was at the OBS August yearling sale, where he was again pinhooked for $43,000. Eight months later he was again in a sale - this time the OBS spring sale of 2-year-olds in training, where he sold to Glen Bromagen for $75,000. He had worked a furlong in 10.60 seconds for that April under-tack show.

A look at Wicked Style's OBS report card, a document that cites the physical positives and negatives of a 2-year-old with selected sale ambitions, states in so many words that Wicked Style is a nice-bodied horse who toes out. So much for the perfect horse, as Wicked Style has earned $445,000 in three starts, including the Grade 3 Arlington-Washington Futurity and the Grade 1 Breeders' Futurity at Keeneland.

Wicked Style is not the only get of Macho Uno to show graded-stakes class. Cool Gator, an Ontario-bred, won his maiden going long at Woodbine and came back in the Grade 3 Grey Breeders' Cup Stakes this past Monday to close stoutly and miss the victory by a diminishing head.

The future stud fee and residency of Macho Uno is uncertain. Said Mark Roberts, the farm manager of Adena Springs South, "It has been decided to wait until after the Breeders' Cup to determine the 2008 status of Macho Uno."