12/22/2010 6:05PM

The Pamplemousse tops list of new California sires

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Benoit & Associates
The Pamplemousse had his racing career cut short by injury as a 3-year-old in 2009 and will stand stud next year in California.

The Pamplemousse never reached the most important part of his racing career.

Weeks after winning his third consecutive race in the Grade 3 Sham Stakes by an electrifying six lengths in February 2009, he was favored for the Santa Anita Derby when a tendon injury left him sidelined.

A comeback earlier this year did not succeed, leaving The Pamplemousse bound for stud at Rancho San Miguel in San Miguel, Calif., for 2011. Once again, The Pamplemousse faces an important part of his career, this time his launch as a stallion.

A stallion’s first year can be vital, with the farm trying to promote potential to the breeders, arranging a solid book of mares, and hoping the stallion has the potency to get mares in foal. To reach those goals, farm owner Tom Clark and Alex Solis II, who was part of the partnership that campaigned The Pamplemousse, have been busy completing a syndication and organizing the stallion’s first season.

For Clark, the initial reaction has been favorable, with the start of breeding season in February still weeks away.

CALIFORNIA LEADERS: Chart of leading California sires (through Dec. 19)

“He was a heavy favorite for the Santa Anita Derby and an early favorite for the Kentucky Derby,” Clark said. “There was an awful lot of excitement about the horse when he was racing.”

The Pamplemousse won 3 of 5 starts and $209,280. By Kafwain, The Pamplemousse, named for a popular restaurant in Del Mar, was a budding star for trainer Julio Canani. After finishing fourth and third in his first two starts, he began a dramatic improvement when tried around two turns, beating maidens in a race over 1 1/16 miles at Hollywood Park in December 2008.

Racing for David Bienstock, Tom Lenner, Jeff Strauss, Chuck Winner, Skyline Stables, and Solis, The Pamplemousse won his stakes debut in the Grade 3 San Rafael Stakes over a mile at Santa Anita in January, easily beating Square Eddie, who had been second in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile the preceding fall.

After that, the Derby build-up began in earnest, fueled by a six-length win in the Grade 3 Sham Stakes over 1 1/8 miles on Feb. 28. It turned out to be The Pamplemousse’s last start. Solis, for one, is convinced that The Pamplemousse never displayed his top ability.

“We were really saving everything for the Kentucky Derby,” he said. “We didn’t think the tendon would flare up.”

Earlier this year, The Pamplemousse was put back in training, but an ankle problem ended a potential comeback.

Clark and Solis, the son of the prominent jockey, agree that a 50-mare book would be a good start, particularly in a state such as California that has seen the number of active broodmares take an alarming drop in recent years.

The current syndication offer is valued at $10,000 for 40 shares, entitling a shareholder to two free breedings for the first two years, Clark said. The Pamplemousse has an advertised fee of $3,500.

“We’re trying to spread the ownership and we’re getting interest in that as well,” Clark said. “If we got 50 that would be a good first year. I think it’s doable based on the initial response.”

Solis said the racing partnership will send 10 mares to the stallion.

“As long as he can produce that frame he has, and given that engine, he should sell well and be commercial enough for California,” Solis said. “Everyone says the best stallions are milers, and he was quite a good miler.”

The Pamplemousse is among six stallions in the state who are going to stand their first season at stud. They are joined by three other stallions new to California who stood in other states or in Canada last season. Here is a glance at the new stallions.

First-year stallions

Elusive Warning (Elusive Quality-Valid Warning, by Valid Appeal)
Farm: Madera Thoroughbreds
Fee: $4,000

This 6-year-old was purchased at the Keeneland November breeding stock sale for $45,000 by Ross McLeod last month after a racing career that featured 5 wins in 13 starts, earnings of $487,332, and stakes wins in Dubai and Delaware.
Campaigned by Darley Stable and purchased as a weanling for $450,000 at Keeneland, he won a Group 3 stakes in Dubai and was second in the Group 2 Godolphin Mile on the undercard of the 2008 Dubai World Cup.
In the United States, he won the Vincent Moscarelli Memorial Stakes over six furlongs at Delaware Park in May. His dam, Valid Warning, won eight races, including two stakes.

Forest Command (Monarchos-Forest Secrets, by Forest Wildcat)
Farm: Oak Hill Farm
Fee: $2,500

Forest Command was in his best form in fall 2008, finishing third in the Grade 2 Super Derby at Louisiana Downs and third in the Grade 3 Ack Ack Handicap at Churchill Downs. A 5-year-old, he ended his career with a victory by 6 1/2 lengths in a one-mile optional claimer at Gulfstream Park in January 2009.

Forest Command won 3 of 6 starts and $158,558, and his dam, Forest Secrets, won 4 of 17 starts and $604,453 in a career highlighted by a win in the Grade 1 Acorn Stakes at Belmont Park in 2001. Monarchos won the 2001 Kentucky Derby and stands at stud in Kentucky.

Grace Upon Grace (Rio Verde-Chasing Wind, by Mining)
Farm: Lovacres Ranch
Fee: $2,000

This 3-year-old enters stud after a career featuring 3 wins in 12 starts and earnings of $162,646. As a 2-year-old, he placed in two stakes – the Willard Proctor Stakes against open company at Hollywood Park and the Graduation Stakes against statebreds at Del Mar.
This year, he had two wins, in an optional claimer over 5 1/2 furlongs at Hollywood Park in May and a $40,000 claimer over six furlongs, in which he led throughout, at Del Mar in July.
Bred by Lovacres Ranch owner Terry Lovingier, the colt is out of the stakes winner Chasing Wind, who has produced three stakes winners.

Global Hunter (Jade Hunter-Griffe de Paris, by Telescopico)
Farm: Magali Farm
Fee: $2,500

Global Hunter, 7, won major turf stakes in Southern California the last two years – the Grade 1 Eddie Read Stakes at Del Mar in 2009 and the Grade 2 American Handicap at Hollywood Park in July.

After the American Handicap, Global Hunter was pulled up after the wire with a severe ankle injury, underwent surgery to stabilize the leg a few days later, and was hospitalized until mid-November, when he was relocated to Magali. After the forthcoming breeding season, the Argentine-bred is scheduled to be sent to South America for that continent’s breeding season.

A winner of 8 of 30 starts and $611,365, Global Hunter began his racing career in Argentina, where he was a three-time stakes winner.

Many Rivers (Storm Cat-Christmas in Aiken, by Affirmed)
Farm: Victory Rose Thoroughbreds
Fee: $3,000

Many Rivers raced throughout California in a three-year career highlighted by a third in the 2007 Gold Rush Stakes over a mile at Golden Gate Fields, losing to the multiple stakes winner El Gato Malo. A winner of 2 of 18 starts and $72,506, he won at Bay Meadows and Golden Gate Fields at 2 and 3, going 5 1/2 and six furlongs. Unraced at 4 last year, the 5-year-old Many Rivers was unplaced in two starts in $20,000 claiming races earlier this year.

He is a half-brother to the Kentucky-based stallion Harlan’s Holiday, who earned $3.6 million, won eight stakes, and stands for $25,000.

Relocated to state

Ex Marks the Cop (In Excess-Crystal Cop, by Crystal Water)
Farm: Krystal Creek Ranch
Fee: $1,000

This 15-year-old was the California champion 2-year-old male of 1997, the highlight of a career that included 3 wins in 13 starts and earnings of $218,273. In recent years, he stood in Oregon where he was frequently bred to Quarter Horse mares.
Among Thoroughbreds, his leading progeny has been Ex Mountain Cop, a winner of eight stakes in the Pacific Northwest who had earnings of $131,252.

Ex Marks the Cop is by In Excess, one of California’s leading stallions over the last 15 years.

Olmodavor (A.P. Indy-Corrazona, by El Gran Senor
Farm: Magali Farm
Fee: $5,000

This 11-year-old is part of a partnership between Magali Farms and Adena Springs. Last year, the stallion stood at Adena Springs/Gardiner Farms in Ontario and was reported to be bred to 38 mares, according to Jockey Club statistics.

The move to California returns the stallion to the state where he thrived as a racehorse, winning the Grade 3 Native Diver Handicap at Hollywood Park in 2003. He was second in the Grade 2 Strub Stakes in 2003 and second in the Hollywood Gold Cup in 2004.

At stud, Olmodavor has sired eight stakes winners, including High Mist, winner of the 2008 Fanfreluche Stakes at Woodbine who has earned $215,585. Olmodavor’s dam, Corrazona, won the Grade 1 Beverly Hills Handicap at Hollywood Park in 1994.

Pure Thrill (Belong to Me-Thrill, Shadeed)
Farm: Victory Rose Thoroughbreds
Fee: $1,500

This 3-year-old unraced stallion stood in Idaho last year, where he was bred to three mares, according to Jockey Club statistics. His sire, Belong to Me, has produced the champion turf female Forever Together as well as numerous other stakes winners, including the Grade 1 winner Jersey Girl, the millionaire Ebony Breeze, and Capitano, a stakes winner at Turf Paradise who was stakes-placed in Southern California.

His dam, Swill, has produced two stakes winners – Pheiffer ($232,270), a three-time stakes winner; and Thrill After Dark ($180,992), a six-time stakes winner including several stakes in Idaho.