09/23/2004 11:00PM

Phari's talent, but not temper, has rubbed off on High Peaks


ELMONT, N.Y. - When High Peaks runs in Sunday's $100,000-added Schenectady Handicap for New York-bred 3-year-old fillies at Belmont Park, she will try to become the first stakes winner produced by her dam, Phari.

Tom Bush, High Peaks's trainer, remembers Phari well. Bush trained Phari, a daughter of Black Tie Affair, the 1991 Horse of the Year and Breeders' Cup Classic winner.

Phari, who is now 9 years old, raced only twice as a 3-year-old, with one second-place finish, and was retired. Bush said Phari's tendency to get hot under the collar led to her premature retirement.

"She really had some talent and then she got a tendon injury," Bush said. "She was so high-strung, that's how she hurt the tendon. It was difficult to gallop her."

Thankfully, Phari didn't pass on that trait to her oldest daughter, High Peaks. High Peaks isn't all that welcoming when strangers drop by her stall, but Bush said she is all business in her training and racing, even if she is a bit keen.

"She has plenty of speed and she is the kind of filly that runs away from the pole when she works," Bush said. "But if you can kind of fool her up to the pole, you can slow her down."

High Peaks, a daughter of Peaks and Valleys, is in the best form of her career. She won her last two starts, both against older horses at Saratoga, by a combined margin of 14 lengths.

"I know this year she is a much bigger and stronger filly," Bush said as he pointed out High Peaks's stoutness to a visitor. "When she was younger, she wasn't much to look at it. She is a pretty good doer. She doesn't miss an oat."

Bush trains High Peaks for Dr. Doug Koch, who bred the filly and races her in his farm's name, Berkshire Stud, which is located in Pine Plains.

High Peaks didn't meet her reserve as a yearling at Fasig-Tipton's preferred sale in Saratoga Springs and was bought back for $25,000.

Phari has produced three other horses: a 2-year-old filly by Maria's Mon, a yearling colt by More Than Ready, and a weanling colt by Lion Hearted. Two weeks after High Peaks won for the first time at this year's Saratoga meet, Koch sold the More Than Ready colt at Fasig-Tipton's preferred sale for $102,000 to Leprechaun Racing, agent. High Peaks is Phari's only winner to date.

The six-furlong Schenectady is High Peaks's second stakes start. Earlier this year, she finished second in the Ruthless at Aqueduct.

Cupecoy's Joy dies at 25

A farm official at Haras Lucy Grace Farm in Otisville confirmed the death of New York-bred Cupecoy's Joy, who ran in the 1982 Kentucky Derby as a filly, but could not provide any details concerning the 25-year-old mare's death. Bob Perez, the owner of Haras Lucy Grace and Cupecoy's Joy, did not return a phone call for comment.

Cupecoy's Joy was one of the first New York-breds to win a Grade 1. Bred and co-owned by Perez, she ran for a partnership, Ri-Ma-Ro Stables, and was trained by Alfredo Callejas.

The fleet-footed filly won the Acorn in stakes-record time and the Mother Goose at Belmont Park. Those Grade 1 wins followed her 10th-place finish in the Kentucky Derby, where she set the pace for a mile.

She retired with six wins from 22 starts and earnings of $377,960. Cupecoy's Joy, a daughter of Northerly out of the Alsina mare Lady Abla, had three winners from 11 named foals.

Flying Zee first in breeders' awards

Through Aug. 31, Carl Lizza's Flying Zee Stables had accumulated $150,404 in breeders' awards for the year. That figure places Lizza at the top of the list. Rudina Stable heads the list for open company award money earned with $36,982.

Through August, Gary Contessa led trainers in purse earnings from New York-bred starters with $1.2 million. Javier Castellano, who has won $2.1 million with his New York-bred mounts, tops all jockeys.