Updated on 09/16/2011 8:31AM

Riskaverse raises bar at Fox Ridge


LEXINGTON, Ky. - For owner and breeder Peter Schiff, Riskaverse's planned start in the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf represents a new level of success based on old family traditions.

Schiff, a 48-year-old son of the late breeder and Jockey Club member John Schiff, has about only 10 broodmares. But several of them, including Riskaverse's dam, The Bink, are from families that have been successful for both father and son. The Bink (by Seeking the Gold) descends directly from Toll Booth, whose stakes-winning foals helped make her Broodmare of the Year in 1991. Toll Booth produced 1980 champion sprinter Plugged Nickle for John Schiff in her second mating. Her other notable foals include Grade 1 winner Christiecat; graded winner Key to the Bridge; stakes winners Toll Fee (The Bink's dam), Toll Key, Idle Gossip, and Tokens Only; and stakes-placed Banker's Favorite.

The Bink, stakes-placed herself, carried on her granddam's tradition of producing graded winners early when her first foal, Cozzy Corner, captured the Grade 3 Valley View Stakes at Keeneland. Riskaverse is only The Bink's second runner, and she has already given Peter Schiff a chance at the Breeders' Cup.

"It's always great when you win," Schiff said. "This is my first time in the Breeders' Cup. We won the Cardinal Handicap once at Churchill on Breeders' Cup Day in 1991, after all the Breeders' Cup races were over, so this is kind of deja vu. But this time the stakes are higher. Maybe this time we have a shot to go further."

Schiff's glimpse of the Breeders' Cup, via the Cardinal Handicap victory, came with Christiecat. Until now, Christiecat was Schiff's best homebred, and it's easy to understand why he links that filly with Riskaverse. Not only are they from Toll Booth's family, but Riskaverse also vindicated Christiecat's tough loss in the 1990 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup.

"Christiecat lost that race by a nose," Schiff said. "It's probably the premier race for 3-year-old fillies on the turf, and it was actually the race we had been pointing Riskaverse for. When [trainer] Pat Kelly and I laid out our plan, it was our ultimate destination."

Riskaverse's narrow victory over Zenda in the QEII convinced Schiff to change her campaign.

"We were looking at the Mrs. Revere at Churchill as a possible next race," Schiff said, "but our feeling was that you only get a Breeders' Cup opportunity very rarely."

That's especially true if you only breed a handful of foals a year. But Schiff has Toll Booth bloodlines in his arsenal.

Schiff bought his own piece of the Toll Booth magic when his father's stable was dispersed in the late 1980's. "I decided to sell his mares and buy the foals, because I wanted to race, and, practically speaking, it was also less expensive to buy the foals. But I still got the same bloodlines."

Consigning agent John Stuart later became an adviser and mating coordinator for Fox Ridge Farm, Schiff's nom de course.

"We don't actually have a farm," said Schiff, a venture capitalist who lives on Long Island with his wife, Lisa. "We keep our mares in Kentucky at Claiborne, Valkyre Stud, and Three Chimneys."

The small program clearly has paid off, and, like most experienced breeders, Schiff is enjoying the good times with an appreciation of how rare they can be.

"This success has been a while coming," Schiff said. "We had a bit of a dry spell for a while, but now we're having some success, and it's terrific to bask in the sun. But there are always lean years in this game."

Gainsborough, Walmac announce stud fees

Two central Kentucky farms, Gainsborough and Walmac, announced 2003 stud fees this week.

Gainsborough has boosted Elusive Quality's fee from $10,000 to $30,000 on the strength of his first crop's performance. The Gone West horse is the sire of Group 1 winner Elusive City and five other black-type winners. Other Gainsborough stallions and their 2003 fees are: Quiet American ($35,000), Labeeb ($7,500), and Shadeed ($2,500). All fees are live foal, due Oct. 1.

Walmac has made some changes to its fees for 2003, including dropping Favorite Trick from $15,000 to $10,000 and Mighty from $4,500 to $2,000. Miswaki, who stood for $30,000 last year, has a private listing for 2003. Other Walmac stallions and fees are Confide ($4,000), Evansville Slew ($3,500), Gentlemen ($15,000), Irgun ($3,000), Lasting Approval ($3,500), Leelanau ($2,500), Minardi ($10,000), Romanov ($3,500), Salt Lake ($15,000), Saratoga Six ($3,500), Scatmandu ($7,500), Sea of Secrets ($5,000). Fees are live foal, and most are due Sept. 1. Lasting Approval's fee is due Nov. 1.


* Dogwood Stable has sold Grade 2 Illinois Derby winner Distilled privately to the Korean Racing Association. Trained by Todd Pletcher, the 4-year-old Hennessy-Wood of Binn colt retires with a career record of 12-3-3-1 and $378,410 in earnings. He is a three-quarter brother to Grade 3 winner Three Wonders.

* A memorial service for Karri Casner, the 23-year-old daughter of WinStar Farm co-owner Bill Casner who was killed in the Oct. 12 terrorist bombing in Bali, was to be held Friday at White's Chapel United Methodist Church in Southlake, Tex. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to the Karri Casner Memorial Scholarship Fund at P.O. Box 2093, Lexington, KY 40588 (859-269-3125) or the Buckhorn Children's Foundation Animal Therapy Program at 116 Buckhorn Lane, Buckhorn KY 41721 (800-472-3678).