07/06/2006 11:00PM

Officer's offspring have been quick winners

Adam Coglianese / NYRA
Out of Gwedda, a son of the Claiborne stallion Out of Place, won the Tremont Stakes at Belmont on July 4.

LEXINGTON, Ky. - With the first stakes for juveniles at Belmont having been run in the last week, the early results from the quick and the precocious are now coming in steadily.

One of the big early winners among the freshman sires of 2006 is Officer, who has 6 winners from 12 starters to date (5 debut winners) and is the country's leading freshman sire.

Officer himself was a precocious and immensely talented juvenile who won his first five races in a row at 2, including the Grade 1 Champagne Stakes, and started as the heavy favorite in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile.

A sizable horse cast in the mold of his maternal great-grandsire, Seattle Slew, Officer is passing on speed to his offspring. Among the stallion's more impressive runners is Chief Officer, who won a maiden race at Belmont by 10 lengths on June 30. Sold at the Ocala Breeders' Sales Co.'s March auction of 2-year-olds in training for $230,000, the New York-bred filly is trained by Bill Mott for Zayat Stable.

This weekend, the Officer colt Run Alex Run will be among the favored entries in the Grade 3 Bashford Manor Stakes at Churchill Downs, and a victory there would make Run Alex Run the first stakes winner for his young sire.

The freshman sires are not the only ones making noise in the early-season races, and juveniles by a pair of veteran stallions claimed impressive victories in the stakes for 2-year-olds at Belmont over the past week.

Out of Gwedda, by the solid Claiborne stallion Out of Place, won the Tremont on the Fourth of July by 2 1/4 lengths. He had earned a 97 Beyer Speed Figure in his maiden victory and raced the 5 1/2 furlongs of the Tremont in 1:06.66 for a Beyer of 72 on a day when the race times were erratic.

Out of Gwedda was bred in Kentucky by James Heyward. The chestnut colt is the fifth foal out of the Gone West mare Gwedda and is the mare's first stakes winner.

Out of Gwedda brought $52,000 at the Keeneland September yearling sale last fall. That sum was the fifth-highest for a yearling by Out of Place. In company with Sultry Song and champion Vanlandingham, the tall, rangy chestnut Out of Place is one of the best stallion sons of Metropolitan Handicap winner Cox's Ridge, who also stood at Claiborne.

Out of Place was best going a distance, and his offspring tend to mature well and run even better when going two turns.

Gwedda was a useful racemare herself, placing in stakes, and she is a half-sister to Grade 1 winner Zoonaqua (by Silver Hawk) and to stakes winner Diablo Amigo (Woodman).

Gwedda has a Boundary yearling in the Keeneland September sale, was barren in 2006, but is back in foal to Stormin Fever for next year.

Meg Buckley, farm manager at her family's Threave Main Stud, said that the mare is boarded at Threave Main, where Heyward keeps all his mares. Buckley said that Heyward "is such a good and conscientious owner that he tries to keep a broodmare band of medium size and good quality." Even though Gwedda hadn't won a stakes, Heyward "thought she deserved a chance as a producer," Buckley said.

Heyward bred Gwedda, and Brereton Jones consigned her as a yearling to the Keeneland July sale in 1993, where she was bought back for $110,000. Heyward sent her into training with Mike Bell, who said, "She had a lot of heart and was good on dirt or grass."

Gwedda won $98,615 from 11 starts and placed in the A.B. Leggio Memorial.

Bell said that Heyward "named the mare for his six children. Each letter in the mare's name is the initial of one of Heyward's children."

The Tremont Stakes winner carries the Heywards' acronym forward another generation.

In Belmont's companion stakes for fillies, the Astoria, the Mt. Livermore filly Desire to Excel romped home over her opponents to win by five lengths in 1:04.33 for the 5 1/2 furlongs. The unbeaten Desire to Excel earned a Beyer of 91.

Desire to Excel races for Officer's owner, Dennis Narlinger, who purchased the filly at the 2005 Keeneland September yearling sale from the Gainesway consignment for $52,000.

Desire to Excel was bred in Kentucky by Mary Leigh Patrick and Gainesway Management, and the filly is the third live foal out of stakes winner Ayrial Delight.

Ayrial Delight was a very sound racemare who won 18 of 63 starts, won five stakes, and earned $458,990.

Although her extensive racing career kept Ayrial Delight from producing a foal until she was 9, she has made up for quantity with quality. Along with Desire to Excel, the mare also has produced the promising 3-year-old Sky Diving. A son of Aptitude, Sky Diving is owned by Wayne Hughes and has run second in the WinStar Derby and Turf Paradise Derby this year.

Ayrial Delight has not produced a foal since Desire to Excel but is in foal to Tapit on a March 11 cover.

Desire to Excel is a daughter of the significant stallion Mt. Livermore, a son of the great international sire Blushing Groom. Both stood their entire stud careers at Gainesway Farm.

Desire to Excel is the 71st stakes winner by Mt. Livermore, whose other top offspring include champions Eliza and Housebuster. Mt. Livermore was pensioned last year at age 24, and his champion son Orientate now stands at Gainesway.