06/22/2006 11:00PM

Paseana's run one Craig won't soon forget


LEXINGTON, Ky. - Owner Sidney Craig has a lot of fond memories of Paseana, the Hall of Fame mare who died at age 18 on June 21 at Haras San Ignacio de Loyola in Argentina.

Craig bought Paseana privately in 1991 from her native Argentina, where she was already a Grade 1 winner.

It was trainer Ron McAnally who convinced Craig to explore the Argentine market, and Paseana's success in the States strengthened McAnally's contention that there were good horses to be found there. Craig has been a repeat shopper in South America ever since. His recent acquisitions there include Candy Ride, who won the 2003 Pacific Classic and finished his career unbeaten in six starts.

"After what Paseana did, of course I loved Argentine horses," Craig said. "McAnally had a contact there, Dr. Ignacio Pavlovsky. He would find the horses, and McAnally would make recommendations. We've had very good luck with them.

"I think they train them tougher there. Farms race them against each other there."

Paseana made her first start in California as a 4-year-old in the Manta Handicap and immediately looked like a nice acquisition when she finished second. "Nice" became "superior" shortly thereafter, when Paseana launched a seven-race win streak. All seven wins came in graded stakes, and five were Grade 1 events: the Santa Maria, Santa Margarita, Apple Blossom, Milady, and Vanity handicaps.

A fifth-place finish against males in the Pacific Classic ended that streak and gave Craig a rare bad result with Paseana. He particularly wanted to win the Pacific Classic, and Paseana's loss was his "biggest disappointment" in her career, he said.

"She was odds-on favorite in the Pacific Classic against the guys," he said. "A rider [Edgar Prado on Jolie's Halo] fell right in front of her, and then she got between two stallions, and she got beaten by a longshot. That was one of my biggest disappointments, because I really thought she was going to win that race."

Paseana went on to win the 1992 Breeders' Cup Distaff and was named champion older mare in 1992 and 1993. She was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2001, a moment Craig recalls as one of his best days in the sport.

"I gave the speech for her, since she couldn't speak," he said. "I said it as she would have, how she enjoyed [jockey] Chris McCarron and McAnally, and what a great racing career she had."

Craig's only other disappointment with Paseana was that she only produced one foal, a Lode filly named Paseana's Girl.

"She conceived in Argentina, but we could never get her to conceive here," Craig said. "She liked the Argentine guys, I guess. We tried everything. We did fertility drugs and everything, and she just didn't seem to ovulate. We did everything we could, naturally, but it never worked out.

"She was a very nice, well-mannered horse, and everybody loved her. She did everything we ever asked her to do."

Hurley's operation starting to thrive

Bobby Hurley, a former Duke University basketball star who is now a Thoroughbred owner, is developing a farm in Ocala, Fla. Hurley's new interest in breeding has led him to purchase about 100 acres near Ocala that will eventually house mares and yearlings owned by Hurley and his partners. The land is being cleared, Hurley said, and could have horses on it in a couple of months. Hurley said he plans to name the property Devil Eleven Farm, after Hurley's alma mater and jersey number.

Hurley's juveniles will stay at David Scanlon's training center near Ocala.

"Everything else will be on my property," Hurley said.

Hurley was the starting point guard at Duke and helped the Blue Devils win two NCAA national basketball championships, but since retiring from basketball in 2001, he has increased his activities in Thoroughbred racing. Hurley and partners Leonard and Jonathan Green of D. J. Stable hit it big with Grade 1 winner Songandaprayer, now one of North America's hot young sires.

"It's really fun," Hurley said. "Racing him was one of the biggest thrills. I still remember winning the Fountain of Youth with him. I was recovering from a knee injury, but I probably still jumped as high as I've ever jumped after he won that race. It's even more rewarding now to get a chance to see all his babies and the similarities they have to him. Watching them at the track, it's like I own a part of every one of them."

More recently, he has partnered with Fab Oak Stable and Jack Goldthorpe to campaign graded-stakes winner Stream Cat.

Hurley owns about a dozen broodmares himself and another 20 or so in partnership.

"It multiplies," he said. "The numbers keep growing and growing. It's fun. Now I'll be able to consolidate the operation on my farm."

Songandaprayer's trainer, John Dowd, has left his position overseeing the yearling breaking operation at Adena Springs South and will run Hurley's new farm.

"He's doing most of the stuff," Hurley said. "It was raw land, and we're clearing the land, building some barns, and getting it up and running."

* The Barretts auction house has added 21 horses, including 10 juveniles and 11 older horses, to its June 27 summer sale catalog. The auction of 2-year-olds and racing-age horses will take place at Fairplex in Pomona, Calif., with a single session starting at 1 p.m. The under-tack preview is set for June 26 at 10 a.m., also at Fairplex. Catalog pages for the supplemented horses are online at www.barretts.com.