10/24/2003 12:00AM

A promise not to sell Calumet


LEXINGTON, Ky. - There have been some management changes at Calumet Farm, the legendary Lexington showplace owned by the estate of Henryk de Kwiatkowski. But, addressing a continual concern of Lexington's racing fans and history buffs, the estate's legal representative said Friday that the farm is not being sold.

De Kwiatkowski bought the historic farm at a bankruptcy auction in 1992, earning substantial goodwill from the Thoroughbred industry and Lexington residents with his pledge to continue it as a working Thoroughbred farm. After de Kwiatkowski's death in March, his family was quick to issue word that they wished to continue de Kwiatkowski's pledge.

Fears of a potential sell-off surfaced again Monday with word that the estate had "terminated" the farm's general manager, Tony Cissell, and farm trainer Joe Schlich. The estate has named Richard Cross, a representative of Emmanuel

de Seroux's California-based Narvick International bloodstock agency, to be Calumet's interim general manager. The family has not commented on whether it will continue to operate the farm as a commercial breeding and stallion operation.

But Lexington attorney Mike Meuser, legal counsel for the farm and estate, said Friday, "I have been authorized to say that the farm is not being sold and the horses are not being dispersed."

In recent years, on Cissell's watch, the farm enjoyed success as a commercial breeder, selling, among other horses, a $1.5 million Kingmambo colt and a $1.4 million A. P. Indy filly at Keeneland's July sale in 2000. The Kingmambo colt is now better known as Dubai Destination, a Group 1 winner for Sheikh Mohammed al Maktoum.

"We were trying to keep things going, but with the passing of Mr. de Kwiatkowski and his passion for the farm - his children shared that somewhat - but he was the real driving force behind the farm," Cissell said from California, where he was attending the Breeders' Cup. "His death certainly is part of what has affected the farm. I wish the new management the best of luck and great success."

Americans shopping Newmarket

The Thoroughbred auction world keeps getting smaller. Europeans are a common presence at American sales, and the traffic goes both ways. When the Tattersalls autumn horses- in-training sale starts Monday in Newmarket, England, it's a safe bet some North Americans will be on hand.

The auction, which runs through Oct. 30, has cataloged 1,238 horses this year. Last year, its average price was just 13,023 guineas, or about $23,246. Despite its seemingly mundane average price - or very likely because of it - the sale has attracted increasing attention from some notable North American buyers.

Trainer James Cassidy has had a great deal of success mining the English sale for winners. Last year he bought Katdogawn, winner of this year's Grade 2 San Clemente, for 10,000 guineas, or about $17,850. At the same sale, he paid 100,000 guineas ($303,450) for Steelaninch and 36,000 guineas ($64,260) for Star Vega, both stakes winners this year at Santa Anita.

Cassidy isn't alone. Other North American trainers who have shopped at the overseas auction include Wally Dollase, Darrell Vienna, and Roger Attfield.

This year, the sale includes 97 group or listed winners. This year's Irish St. Leger runner-up, Gamut, is in the catalog, as is German and Italian highweighted 3-year-old Dupont.

More top fees on rise

Add Taylor Made, WinStar Farm, and Airdrie Stud to the stallion operations that have raised the fees for their flagship horses in 2004.

WinStar Farm in Versailles, Ky., has boosted Distorted Humor's fee from $20,000 to $50,000. A Forty Niner stallion and sire of 2003 Kentucky Derby winner Funny Cide and Grade 1 winner Awesome Humor, Distorted Humor was last year's leading freshman sire and is the leading second-crop sire.

Taylor Made Farm in Nicholasville, Ky., has announced a $125,000 fee for Unbridled's Song, up from his 2003 fee of $100,000. Unbridled's Song ranks among the top five sires of juveniles this year.

Other stallions whose fees will be changing include Our Emblem, who drops from $35,000 to $15,000; Artax, who dips from $15,000 to $10,000; and Exploit, reduced from $25,000 to $15,000.

Forestry will remain the same at $50,000, and Real Quiet will keep his $10,000 fee.

At Airdrie Stud in Midway, Ky., Deputy Commander will stand for $30,000 in the coming season. That's up from $15,000 last year. Deputy Commander is the sire of 2003 Travers Stakes winner Ten Most Wanted. He is ranked fourth among the year's second-crop sires.