07/11/2007 11:00PM

Redoute's Choice going global


LEXINGTON, Ky. - Anamato's third-place finish as Australia's first runner in the American Oaks did some advertising for her sire, Redoute's Choice. A 9-year-old son of the famed stallion Danehill, Redoute's Choice has become a dominant young sire himself in Australia, and Arrowfield Stud, which stands him, now hopes to boost Northern Hemisphere interest in him.

This year, for the first time, Arrowfield bred about 34 mares to Redoute's Choice on Northern Hemisphere time. Those mares, said Arrowfield principal John Messara, came from such prestigious international breeding operations as Sheikh Mohammed al-Maktoum's Darley, Sheikh Hamdan al-Maktoum's Shadwell, and the Yoshida family's highly respected Japanese breeding program.

"It's got to be a pretty good reflection on the stallion himself," Messara said of Anamato's finish behind Panty Raid in the American Oaks, which came after a week in which she had trouble settling in at Hollywood Park, then endured a wide trip and a late bump in the race. "I'd be as bold as to say that, at her best, she probably would just about have won the race."

Messara said that a number of leading stud farms in the Northern Hemisphere, including entities in Kentucky that he declined to name, recently have expressed an interest in shuttling Redoute's Choice. One reason undoubtedly is the sire's outstanding commercial appeal at major Australian sales frequented by overseas buyers. In 2006, a Redoute's Choice colt set an Australian yearling record at the Inglis yearling sale when he brought $3 million Australian, about $2.5 million in U.S. currency.

"Regrettably, I had to say no, because of insurance aspects," Messara said of shuttling. But Arrowfield is committed to encouraging more Northern Hemisphere breeders to ship south for the stallion's services.

Redoute's Choice covered 190 mares in Australia this year, Messara said, at a fee of $300,000 Australian, or about $260,000 U.S. That fee probably will be discounted to about $173,000 for Northern Hemisphere breeders in 2008, Messara said, to offset the costs of shipping mares to and from Australia.

"We know that our horses are competitive," Messara said. "Unfortunately, not enough of them have left our shores to prove it. But now that they are doing so, it's becoming patently obvious that both the bloodlines down here, together with the way we rear them in open paddocks, and the fact that we have such competitive racing, all this goes towards producing a product that's competitive on the world scene."

Sales panel meets

The Sales Integrity Task Force met again at Keeneland in Lexington on Thursday to hear progress reports from its three committees on licensing, medications, and ownership disclosure. Participants are keeping mum, but chairman Alex Waldrop promises that the larger breeding public will have their say sometime after the task force meets again in late September.

"We received reports from the three committee chairmen," Waldrop said Thursday. "Progress has been made by all three committees, but each committee has more work to do. We agreed to meet again in late September to finalize the proposals from all the committees, then conduct a public forum, at which those proposals will be discussed in detail with the press and public."

Waldrop said at least one public forum will take place. The task force has not yet set a date for the September meeting or the proposed public forum.

Kevin McGee, head of the Horse Owners' Protective Association, a group launched by Jess Jackson in an effort to encourage increased transparency at horse auctions, said the task force is making progress.

"In particular, Keeneland and Fasig-Tipton have shown a certain amount of leadership they should be commended for," he said.

The two auction houses announced in May that they were developing a steroid-testing protocol for sale horses.

"It's premature to discuss specifics of any proposals, because they're still works in progress," said McGee.

Jackson refiles suit locally

Jess Jackson's legal team, meanwhile, has re-filed a lawsuit in Lexington alleging that Jackson's advisers and others defrauded him in his $17.5 million purchase of Buckram Oak Farm in Lexington. The suit was dismissed this week from federal court after Jackson declined to provide information the court required to determine whether it had jurisdiction, prompting the Stonestreet Stable owner to file it again in state court.

The July 11 filing in Fayette Circuit Court includes new information that French bloodstock agent Frederic Sauque, whom Jackson alleges helped falsely inflate Buckram Oak's price, is under indictment in a French court for alleged "money laundering with an organized gang," according to a translation of a French legal document attached to Jackson's complaint as Exhibit 16.

Sauque was indicted as part of a 2005 investigation into the racing stable of Alain Szwarc and his son, whom authorities suspected of establishing a racing stable and purchasing horses with money allegedly collected through fraud, according to accounts in Le Monde.

In the excerpted deposition, Sauque denied knowingly aiding the Szwarcs.

"I guess the credibility of Mr. Sauque's earlier bold statements will have to be judged, at least in part, in light of what's now been divulged in the record concerning his other horse-related activities," said Richard Getty, a Jackson attorney.

But Sauque's attorney, Thomas Bullock, said he fully expects the French charges to be dismissed.

"In fact, the court has refunded a substantial portion of the funds that were being held" from Sauque, Bullock said.

New Florida stallion operation

The former manager of CloverLeaf Farms II, Brent Fernung, and his wife, Crystal have launched their own stallion operation on the former Sez Who Thoroughbreds property in Ocala, Fla., and the roster will include popular young Florida stallions Congrats and Alke.

Both are owned by John Sykes of CloverLeaf Farms II, which Brent Fernung managed until Sykes closed it and relocated from Florida to Kentucky. Congrats, Grade 1-placed A. P. Indy horse, and Alke, a Grade 3 winner by Grand Slam, will join three other former CloverLeaf stallions at Journeyman: Repent, Mass Media, and Mongoose.

"Part of his rationale for leaving Congrats and Alke here was that he wanted to support the Florida industry," Fernung said of Sykes. "He said we'd done a good job with them, so why change?"

Fernung said the new operation, to be known as Journeyman Stud will, be a full-service Thoroughbred operation, including a sales agency and a training center in addition to the stallion and breeding program. The Fernungs have leased the property currently known as Lucky Warrior Farm, which previously had housed Sez Who and other operations.

Ken Breitenbecker, a former CloverLeaf manager, will serve as general manager, and Deb Henley, also a CloverLeaf employee, will be Journeyman's sales coordinator.

The mailing address for Journeyman Stud will remain the same as Journeyman Bloodstock, the Fernungs' bloodstock agency. The new telephone number is (352) 245-7500.

Big weekend at Old Friends retirement home

Old Friends, the equine retirement facility near Georgetown, Ky., will host a homecoming weekend and fund-raiser for the 1993 Super Derby winner, Wallenda, who arrived at Old Friends from Japan in the spring.

Activities from July 13-15 will include a comedy night with comedian Frank Santorelli of "The Sopranos" on Friday night, tours of Old Friends on Saturday, and a Sunday performance by the Flying Wallendas high-wire troupe. More information is available at or (502) 863-1775.