10/12/2004 11:00PM

Proud Accolade passes test

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LAS VEGAS - Last weekend, Proud Accolade won the Champagne Stakes and Consolidator won the Lane's End Breeders' Futurity Stakes, the two final major prep races for the Breeders' Cup Juvenile, now only two weeks from Saturday.

Undefeated in three starts, Proud Accolade will be one of the favorites for the Juvenile.

Proud Accolade was the most impressive 2-year-old debut winner at Saratoga, showing high speed and pulling away to a 7 1/2-length victory at 6 1/2 furlongs on July 31. His second race, an allowance victory at Saratoga on Sept. 1 at the same distance, was nearly a carbon copy of his debut, and the Champagne was his first test beyond 6 1/2 furlongs.

Proud Accolade is by Yes It's True, one of this year's most successful freshman sires. Yes It's True won 5 of 9 starts at 2, including the Sapling, Hollywood Juvenile Championship, Kentucky Breeders' Cup and WHAS-11 Stakes. From a sire line renowned for precocious speed (Is It True-Raja Baba-Bold Ruler), Yes It's True was expected to get fast, win-early 2-year-olds who would have an advantage in early season sprints, and his offspring have been just that. Even though the Champagne is around one turn, Proud Accolade's victory at 1 1/16 miles in only his third start is significant, and his pedigree suggests he should at least be able to win at 1 1/16 miles, even around two turns at Lone Star. His dam is by European sprinter-miler Septieme Ciel, and his second dam is a full sister to Proud Clarioness, the dam of stakes horses Big E E and Hesabull.

The previously unbeaten Afleet Alex finished well to be second in the Champagne, and the full brother to the stakes-placed sprinter Unforgettable Max should be able to get the Juvenile distance with no problem. Afleet Alex's sire, Northern Afleet, was a sprinter-miler who eventually was able to win at middle distances as a 4-year-old, and while Unforgettable Max takes after his sire, it appears his younger brother, who also has speed, gets more stamina from his damsire, Hawkster.

Nick Zito has another nice prospect in Sun King, who finished third in the Champagne after making a premature move. Like Proud Accolade, Sun King was making just his third start, and the Champagne should move him forward for the Juvenile. Sun King is bred to get better with age and distance. He is from the second crop of 1999 Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Charismatic, who now stands in Japan. Sun King gets his tactical speed from his damsire, Clever Trick, and his female family is exceptional.

Sun King is out of 19-year-old Clever But Costly, the dam of three stakes winners, Traitor (by Cryptoclearance), Ocean Drive (Belong to Me) and Beavers Nose (Demons Begone).

Traitor won the Grade 1 Futurity Stakes and OBS Championship Stakes, and finished second in the Champagne Stakes behind Ordway. Ocean Drive has won four handicaps in 2004, the Noble Damsel, Ballston Spa Breeders' Cup, Gallorette, and Eatontown. A gelding who raced for seven years, Beavers Nose won the Risen Star Stakes, Bossier City Handicap (on turf) and Grady Madden Memorial Stakes.

Clever But Costly is also the dam of stakes-placed Artful Pleasure (Nasty and Bold), the dam of Peeping Tom, as well as the unraced Clever Bertie (Timeless Native), the dam of stakes winners Hurricane Bertie and Allamerican Bertie, and stakes-placed My Poppy Bert.

Lane's End Breeders' Futurity

Consolidator justified his $1.25 million purchase as a yearling in winning the Lane's End Breeders' Futurity for D. Wayne Lukas. Bred to win early, the Storm Cat colt had a troubled debut in a 4 1/2-furlong baby race on April 29, and just missed catching Lunarpal in the Kentucky Breeders' Cup as a maiden in his second start. After winning a six-furlong maiden race, Consolidator was third to Afleet Alex in the Sanford, and then finished fourth in the Hopeful over a sloppy track after hitting the gate at the start.

Consolidator is out of Group 3 winner Good Example (Crystal Glitters), and is a full sister to stakes winner Mycatcandance. His second dam, Divona (Nodouble), placed in France and is a half-sister to four stakes winners, Grey Beret, Rapide Pied, Joli Vert and Alleged Jr. Consolidator's third dam, Nancy Jr. (Tim Tam), won the 1967 Kentucky Oaks, defeating Gay Sailorette and champion Furl Sail. Clearly, this is a colt whose best is yet to come.

Patriot Act, who finished second to Sun King in a key maiden race at Belmont on Sept. 17, was nine lengths behind the leader after a half-mile in the Breeders' Futurity and put in a big rally to finish second. Still a maiden, Patriot Act is by A.P. Indy and out of stakes winner Classic Value (Copelan), who comes from a very active Fred W. Hooper female family.

Patriot Act is a half-brother to Class Kris, a winner of six stakes and the dam of Risen Star Stakes winner Gradepoint, and is also a half-brother to stakes-placed Class on Class (dam of Bornwithit) and stakes-placed Classic Approval (the dam of stakes winner Gulch Approval, who was third in last weekend's Kelso Breeders' Cup Handicap).

Declan's Moon (Malibu Moon) is skipping the Juvenile. Even though Declan's Moon defeated Roman Ruler (Fusaichi Pegasus) in the Del Mar Futurity, Roman Ruler will be crowned 2-year-old champion with a win in the Juvenile. But Roman Ruler must first defeat Proud Accolade, Afleet Alex, Sun King, Consolidator and Patriot Act, who have each shown plenty of talent.