01/07/2005 1:00AM

Roar's $4.4M leads California

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Taking advantage of his past career as a two-hemisphere stallion, Roar earned the title as the leading stallion standing in California in 2004 even though his impact has yet to be felt in this state.

Roar's progeny earned $4,394,808, nearly all of which was generated by non-California-breds. He finished slightly in front of two-time defending champion In Excess, whose progeny, nearly all of whom are California-breds, earned $4,013,762. Lit de Justice ($3,117,396), General Meeting ($3,061,344) and Souvenir Copy ($3,032,922) rounded out the top five.

Roar has stood in California since 2003 at Rancho San Miguel in San Miguel. His oldest full crop of California-breds are now yearlings.

In the past, Roar stood in Kentucky and Argentina in the same year, which greatly helped his progeny earnings. In 2004, his leading earner was Little Jim ($393,510), who won the UAE 2000 Guineas and was third in the $2 million UAE Derby. In the U.S., Roar has been represented by the multiple stakes winner Roar Emotion.

On the national stallion list in 2004, Roar finished 24th. In 2003, In Excess was the top-ranked California stallion on the same list in 21st place.

Roar, who is by Forty Niner, may have difficulty leading the California stallions in coming years.

He has experienced fertility problems in recent years that have greatly limited the number of mares that are bred to him. Where most top stallions are bred to 100 or more mares a years, Roar will be bred to approximately 50 this year, according to Clay Murdock, the farm manager at Rancho San Miguel.

"We have to be careful," he said. "He can't handle big books anymore as far as we can tell. He doesn't recover quickly enough. He can't handle books like 100."

A winner of 4 of 12 starts and $487,507 in a two-year racing career, Roar, 12, will stand for $15,000 this year. His fee was $6,000 in 2004.

"When you look at his national ranking and compare him to other stallions in the state, we felt he was too good of a deal last year," Murdock said. "He has proven himself to get this kind of stud fee."

Old Topper first-year leader

The leading freshman stallion in California in 2004 was Old Topper, who was a standout in an otherwise weak crop of first-year stallions.

Old Topper had 19 runners who won 15 races and $498,815. Shout to the North, the winner of the Glorious Song Stakes at Woodbine in November, was Old Topper's leading earner with $132,292.

The freshman stallion title was a personal victory for Tom Stull, who stands Old Topper at his Tommy Town Thoroughbreds in Santa Ynez. Stull guaranteed that Old Topper would lead the rankings, or he would refund the $3,500 stud fee to each breeder.

On the national freshman sire list in 2004, Old Topper finished 13th. In 2003, leading California freshman sire Free House finished 20th on the same list. Neither had the success of Swiss Yodeler, who finished seventh nationally in 2002.

Old Topper will stand for $5,000 this year to a book of 90 to 100 mares, according to Mike Allen, the farm manager at Tommy Town.

"Interest is starting to pick up," he said. "In the last week, people are starting to call every day."

Allen expects even bigger things from Old Topper's progeny in 2005. "The ones that just turned 2, I think they are a nicer group than last year's," he said.

Score Early's first winner

Score Early was represented by his first winner when Scoresearlygale won a maiden claimer for 3-year-old fillies in the eighth race at Santa Anita on Wednesday.

Score Early, who was winless in three career starts, in 1997 and 1998, entered stud in 2000 and stands at BMT Ranch in San Miguel for $2,000, live foal.

Both Score Early and Scoresearlygale are owned by Bill Thomas.