06/16/2004 11:00PM

Same age, non-twin siblings just miss meeting in futurity


A leg injury to the promising 2-year-old Creedence has prevented a landmark occurrence in Saturday's $334,000 Governor's Cup Futurity at Los Alamitos - full siblings of the same age, which are not twins, competing against one another.

The concept, which cannot occur in Thoroughbred racing, is a result of a rule change by the American Quarter Horse Association to allow more than one foal to be registered annually from the same mare. The rule change is part of a court settlement between the AQHA and cutting horse breeders, who wanted to register multiple foals from the same mare.

It is possible for a mare to produce more than one foal in a year because of embryo transfers, which are common in Quarter Horse breeding. Embryos are taken from mares and placed in surrogate mares, who carry the resulting foal to term. The procedure allows valuable mares to avoid possible injury while foaling.

Thoroughbred breeding practices do not allow embryo transfers or artificial insemination, which is also common with Quarter Horses.

The full siblings, Creedence, a colt, and A Sisstar, a filly, were among the 10 qualifiers for the 350-yard futurity from the June 5 trials. Both are by First Down Dash out of Chicks Got Pazazz, are bred and owned by John and Kathie Bobenrieth of Costa Mesa, Calif. and are trained by Connie Hall.

Creedence will not start because of a bone chip in a leg, according to John Bobenrieth.

The new AQHA policy was enacted in January 2003, but was made retroactive for foals whose parentage could be proven through blood testing.

Chicks Got Pazazz produced two eggs when impregnated in 2001, John Bobenrieth said. Instead of selecting one egg and aborting the other, the two eggs were placed in separate surrogate mares. A Sisstar was foaled in March 2002, Creedence a few weeks later.

The mating of First Down Dash and Chicks Got Pazazz is a proven success. The 2-year-olds are full siblings to A Ransom, the 2000 Quarter Horse of the Year.

"I wasn't going into this blindfolded," Bobenreith said. "She's a great mare."

The foals were born at Burns Ranch in Menifee, Calif.

Ranch owner Steve Burns said the practice of multiple foals is being conducted mostly on proven mares. He said it is possible to have as many as eight pregnancies in one breeding season, but emphasized that a "pretty decent number of mares have had two or three."

"A mare will limit you," he said.

Creedence may return for the Los Alamitos Million Futurity trials in November, Bobenrieth said. If so, he and his sister could be racing at the top level of 2-year-old division.

"We transferred two embryos and hoped one would go to the distance," Burns said. "Both resulted in live foals and pretty fast ones."