05/29/2002 11:00PM

Our Emblem price was $10 million+

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LEXINGTON, Ky. - The WinStar Farm-Taylor Made partnership paid between $10 million and $12 million for Our Emblem, sire of Derby and Preakness winner War Emblem, according to WinStar president Doug Cauthen.

That meant a big profit for Allen and Audrey Murray of Murmur Farm in Maryland. About eight months ago, the Murrays bought 11-year-old Our Emblem from Kentucky's Claiborne Farm for $200,000. Soon after the Murrays moved Our Emblem to Maryland, three graded stakes winners emerged from the sire's first two crops. War Emblem went on to win the Kentucky Derby and Preakness, and Private Emblem won the Grade 2 Arkansas Derby. A daughter, September Secret, won the Grade 3 Railbird Stakes.

The Murrays will retain two breeding rights a year in the stallion, whose fee will probably be announced in the autumn.

Cauthen said Thursday that War Emblem's win in his final Derby prep, the Grade 2 Illinois Derby, boosted requests from mare owners to breed to Our Emblem. War Emblem was given an eye-popping 112 Beyer Figure in the Illinois Derby.

When the book closes this summer on his 2002 breeding season, Our Emblem will have bred between 95 and 100 mares in Maryland, Cauthen estimated.

"I think most of those mares came on the books after the Illinois Derby," Cauthen said.

The big book of mares, comparable to the number of matings for a popular central Kentucky stallion, should help WinStar and Taylor Made in the long run. A big book that includes some quality mares will increase Our Emblem's chances of siring stakes performers that can continue his current momentum.

Our Emblem is the second stallion that the WinStar-Taylor Made partnership will stand; the first was Tiznow, who stands at WinStar under a joint agreement. But Cauthen said that WinStar also is interested in partnering with other farms. Such partnerships can give farms more buying power to acquire stallions while spreading some of the stallion-management duties like booking and marketing.

"We're shareholders in several Lane's End stallions and with other farms such as Airdrie and Overbrook," Cauthen said, "and we're always open to creating relationships with others to combine their expertise with ours."

After the breeding season, Our Emblem, a son of Mr. Prospector and undefeated champion Personal Ensign, will ship to Taylor Made Farm in Nicholasville, Ky., where he is expected to arrive in the first week of July.

King's Best sidelined

King's Best, who stands at Sheikh Mohammed al-Maktoum's Kildangan Stud in County Kildare, Ireland, is off stud duty for the rest of the season.

The sheikh's Darley organization, which owns the Kingmambo horse, announced this week that he is lame in his right foreleg. King's Best fractured that leg during the running of the Irish Derby in 2000.

"He won't cover again until the reason for the lameness has been diagnosed and he's back in full health," Kildangan managing director Joe Osborne said in a release issued by Darley.

The release described the lameness as "intermittent."

King's Best, winner of the English 2000 Guineas in 2000, stands for $32,900. His first foals were born this spring.

Red carpet rolled out

When young stallion Mula Gula arrives later this month at Old Frankfort Stud near Lexington, he will be housed across from his sire, Lil E. Tee, in a new stallion complex that replaced one damaged by fire several years ago.

There's already a brass nameplate on the door of what will be Mula Gula's stall, according Old Frankfort Stud's owner Jim Plemmons, who purchased the stallion and will ship him from El Dorado Farms in Enumclaw, Wash.

In addition to the new stallion complex, Old Frankfort also has training facilities that include a one-mile turf gallop and a dirt track with a chute. That will help Plemmons keep an eye on the dozen or so Mula Gula progeny he plans to keep to race.

"We get a chance to peek at them before sending them on to the racetrack," Plemmons said. "Our facilities allow us to get these young horses to the races at a cost of about 50 cents on the dollar, and we have an idea of what kind of horses we've got."