03/05/2004 12:00AM

Private Emblem's dam a blue hen in the making


New York-bred Private Emblem is well on his way to becoming the first millionaire produced by Merion Miss, a 13-year-old broodmare owned by Dr. Doug Koch and Tom Tatham.

Private Emblem, who won the Grade 3 Essex Handicap at Oaklawn Park on Feb. 21, has earnings of $769,103 and will go over $1 million if he wins his next start, expected to come in the $500,000 Oaklawn Handicap on April 3.

Private Emblem, a son of Our Emblem, isn't the only runner out of Merion Miss who will see stakes action in the next month. Taghkanic, a 4-year-old daughter of Indian Charlie, is scheduled to make her stakes debut in next Saturday's $75,000 Broadway Handicap for New York-breds at Aqueduct.

To date, the second-best foal produced by Merion Miss is New York-bred Rhum, a stakes-winning daughter of Go for Gin. Rhum, Merion Miss's second foal, has $306,234 in earnings.

Private Emblem and Taghkanic were both bred by Tatham's Oak Cliff Stable and Koch, the owner of Berkshire Stud in Pine Plains, N.Y. In 2000, Private Emblem was sold by his breeders as a yearling at Keeneland for $35,000. The horse was bought by his current owners, Bob Zollars and James Cassels.

Koch and Tatham own Taghkanic, who began her racing career in France with trainer John Hammond. Since coming into trainer Tom Bush's barn at Belmont Park last fall, Taghkanic has won two of four starts and is undefeated over Aqueduct's main track.

At last year's Fasig-Tipton's select sale of yearlings in August at Saratoga Springs, N.Y., Koch sold a Chester House filly out of Merion Miss to Tatham and Al Hill for $150,000. Koch plans on consigning Merion Miss's Thunder Gulch yearling to the same sale this year.

Koch said the Thunder Gulch colt is atypical of Merion Miss's other foals.

"He is the best-looking yearling she has had," Koch said. "A lot of her yearlings were really lanky, like Private Emblem. Thunder Gulches are smaller-typey horses, so that refined down [Merion Miss's influence] a bit."

This month, Merion Miss, a daughter of Halo, is due to give birth at Berkshire Stud to a Distant View foal and will be bred back to El Prado.

"Another great thing about her is that she has produced a foal every year," Koch said.

Sales-topper seller sells expensive statebred, too

Eight New York-bred 2-year-olds brought a total of $976,000 at Fasig-Tipton's select sale at Calder on Feb. 24.

Four New York-bred fillies sold for six figures, ranging in price from $350,000 to $120,000.

The top-priced New York-bred was Hip No. 177, an Anees filly who sold for $350,000. The buyer was John Ferguson, the racing manager for Sheikh Mohammed's Godolphin Racing. The Anees filly, who is out of the Housebuster mare Dither, was consigned to the sale by Becky Thomas's Sequel Bloodstock. Anees, who is represented by his first crop of runners this year, died last year from complications from a broken pastern.

Thomas purchased the filly last August at the Ocala Breeders' Sales Company's selected sale of yearlings in Ocala, Fla. for $90,000. The filly, who is Dither's second foal, was bred by and foaled at Richard Simon's Sez Who Thoroughbreds North in Stillwater, N.Y.

Thomas also sold a Gilded Time filly to Fusao Sekiguchi - who bought the $4.5 million sales-topper - for $120,000. Thomas bought the filly, who is the first offspring out of stakes winner Long Distance, last August at Saratoga from Fasig-Tipton's preferred sale for $40,000. The filly, who is named Lady Operator, was foaled at Barbara and Robert Sullivan's B & B Farm in Nassau, N.Y.

A Good and Tough filly co-bred and consigned by Thomas sold for $135,000 to New York-based trainer John Kimmel. Good and Tough stands at Thomas and Lewis Lakin's Lakland North, where the filly was born, in Hudson, N.Y.