07/23/2001 11:00PM

Sanford often a starmaker


LAS VEGAS - The Sanford Stakes, run since 1913, is one of the oldest stakes for 2-year-olds run in this country, and is most famous for the shocking victory by Upset over Man o' War in the 1919 renewal. The Sanford has had a rich history and has often been a precursor of high quality.

Among those who used the Sanford as a stepping-stone toward the 2-year-old championship were Tom Fool (1951), Hail to Reason (1960), Secretariat (1972), Affirmed (1977), Copelan (1982), Forty Niner (1987), Dehere (1993), and Maria's Mon (1995). It has also been a showcase for precocious types who developed into talented sprinters. Sanford winners who had successful careers as sprinter-milers include Cornish Prince (1964), Flame Tree (1965), Exclusive Native (1967), King Emperor (1968), Copelan (1982), Caller I.D. (1991), Mountain Cat (1992), Kelly Kip (1996), Time Bandit (1998), More Than Ready (1999) and last year's winner, City Zip.

The Sanford Stakes is also notable because it was the first stakes victory for Secretariat, who also at 2 added the Hopeful, Futurity, Laurel Futurity, and Garden State Stakes. Secretariat also finished first in the Champagne Stakes, but was disqualified and placed second behind Stop the Music.

This year's race centers squarely around Proud Citizen, who won his only start by 9 1/4 lengths with devastating ease. Proud Citizen was bred for high speed on both sides of his pedigree. His sire, Gone West, was a superior miler, and is internationally known as a brilliant (speed) influence on dirt and turf. Proud Citizen's damsire, Green Forest, was a champion at 2 and 3 in France, and is also a progenitor of speed.

Outstanding female line

But it is Proud Citizen's female family that stands out above the crowd. His dam, Drums of Freedom (by Green Forest), is out of the Buckpasser mare Danseuse Etoile, the dam of four stakes winners and a full sister to champion 2-year-old filly and Canadian Horse of the Year La Prevoyante. La Prevoyante was undefeated at 2, winning all 12 of her races, on dirt, slop, sprinting, routing, and against males. She followed Numbered Account as the second consecutive 2-year-old champion filly by Buckpasser, and she was out of Arctic Dancer, a stakes-placed full sister to Northern Dancer, out of the remarkable broodmare Natalma.

Forever immortalized as the dam of Northern Dancer, Natalma had an influence that was not limited to her most famous son. In addition to Arctic Dancer, three of her daughters, Born a Lady (Tentam), Raise a Standard (Hoist the Flag), and Spring Adieu (Buckpasser), became outstanding producers in their own right.

Born a Lady produced stakes winning sprinter Arrowtown, while Raise a Standard (Hoist the Flag) produced the three-quarter sisters Bonita Francita (Devil's Bag) and Coup de Folie (Halo).

Bonita Francita is the dam of Orpen (Lure), champion 2-year-old colt in Ireland, and stakes winners Jules (Forty Niner), a freshman sire this year, and Etterby Park (Silver Hawk). Bonita Francita is also the dam of Black Penny (Private Account), the dam of Group 1 winner Bluemambo (Kingmambo).

Coup de Folie, a Group 3 winner, is the dam of two champions, Machiavellian and Coup de Genie (both by Mr. Prospector) as well as major group race winners Exit to Nowhere (Irish River), Ocean of Wisdom (Mr. Prospector), Hydro Calido (Nureyev) and the unraced Salchow (Nijinsky II), the dam of Way of Light (Woodman), champion 2-year-old in France.

Spring Adieu is the dam of the His Majesty mare Raziyana, who produced Danehill, one of the world's outstanding stallions, as well as his full stakes-winning siblings Eagle Eyed, Harpia, and Shibboleth (all by Danzig), as well as group winner Euphonic (The Minstrel).

The Sanford, however, will not be a walkover, and most of the contenders have pedigrees ideally suited to sprinting:

* Seeking the Money (Capote-Seeking Regina, by Seeking the Gold) is by a champion 2-year-old who sired champion juveniles (Boston Harbor and Basim, 2-year-old champion in Ireland) and sprinter-miler types (Acceptable, Capote Belle, The Exeter Man, La Spia, Matty G). His dam is a stakes-winning sister to stakes winner Oxford Scholar.

* Draw Play (End Sweep-Ann Margot, by Gate Dancer) is by the brilliant sire End Sweep, and his dam is a half-sister to the once-promising Saint Verre. This is the great Calumet female family of champion Two Lea, the dam of On-and-On and Tim Tam.

* Buster's Daydream (Housebuster-Daydream, by Believe It) is by a two-time champion sprinter out of a mare by another speed influence. In fact, Buster's Daydream's second dam is by yet another speed source, Mr. Prospector.

* Heavyweight Champ (Two Punch-Moment's Delight, by General Assembly) is by the sire of champion sprinter Smoke Glacken, a freshman sire who has gotten off to a rapid start. Heavyweight Champ's female family is full of speed influences such as General Assembly, Groton, and Disciplinarian.

* Peekskill (Meadowlake-Premier Mombo, by Premiership) is by an undefeated (3 for 3) sire who won the Arlington-Washington Futurity at 2, and is a speed influence. He is out of a mare by another brilliant influence, Premiership. This female family produced stakes winner Charon.