10/23/2003 11:00PM

Precocity hushing his doubters


Precocity, a millionaire graded stakes winner, is in the running to become Florida's leading freshman sire in several categories. And this comes as no surprise to owner John Franks.

"I always thought he'd make a sire," said Franks while attending the recent Ocala Breeders' Sale fall mixed sale. "Lots of people thought otherwise. They didn't think he had the right kind of pedigree. I have a different opinion."

Precocity is a 9-year-old son of the unraced Aferd out of Super Starlz, by Super Concorde. Aferd, who is deceased, last stood in North Dakota and is by Hoist the Flag out of a family that was prominent in breeding and racing some 50 years ago. Precocity's family includes grandsires Super Concorde, champion 2-year-old in France, and Mr. Prospector. And there is no shortage of black type in his family through three generations.

To date Precocity has 15 juveniles starters from a freshman crop of 29. From these, eight are winners and six others have placed. He is the sire of stakes winner Zak's Precocious.

Franks has been supporting Precocity with at least 15 of his own mares annually. There are 25 yearlings and 25 weanlings coming up. Thirty mares were bred to him during the '03 breeding season.

Jules is missed

Jules, who would have been 10 this coming breeding season, died in Brazil this past summer, where he was serving as a shuttle stallion. The son of Forty Niner had stood at Bridlewood Farm, and is currently Florida's leading sire for 2003. Last weekend's Hawthorne Derby was won by False Promises, a Bridlewood Farm-bred son of Jules.

This year, 12 stakes-winning get of Jules have won 22 stakes, and this does not include Match Box, winner of a Group 2 race in Brazil on Oct. 19.

"Bridlewood Farm is having a solid year all around," said George Isaacs, general manager for Art Appleton's showplace. "The future would be even brighter if we could have gotten Jules back to stand next year."

When asked to speculate on what fee Jules might have stood for in 2004, Isacs said: "We stood him at Bridlewood for $6,000 in 2002, so I think, based on what he has done, we'd have put him between $15,000 and $20,000 live foal."

Needed: Video lottery

All is not well in the Sunshine State's parimutuel industry, according to a published audit issued this past week by Florida's Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability. According to the audit, the industry - which comprises dogs, jai-alai, and horses - is no longer able to generate the revenue needed to pay for industry regulation and obligations that are mandated by law. These obligations include nearly $30 million that is distributed annually to the treasuries of Florida's counties.

The report goes on to note that attendance at parimutuel facilities has dropped by 80 percent since 1990. The amount of taxes, fees, and fines paid by parimutuel sources into the system has declined from $110.5 million to in 1990-91 to $34.9 million in 2002-03.

Among the recommendations promulgated by the office in its audit is the introduction of video lotteries in existing parimutuel facilities.

"If we get a fair shake of the proposed video lottery revenue, the estimate is that purses and breeders awards in Florida will go up between 200 and 300 percent," said Dick Hancock, executive vice president of the Florida Thoroughbred Breeders' and Owners' Association.

The 2003 Florida Legislature split on the matter of video lotteries at parimutuels. The Florida Senate passed a parimutuels video lottery bill, but the more conservative Florida House did not consider it.

A consortium of parimutuel operators is backing a state constitutional amendment - in lieu of legislative initiatives - to permit voters to determine the issue via a November 2004 ballot.