08/20/2004 12:00AM

Second-crop stallions still hot


A year ago, on the eve of the Ocala yearling sales, there was a steady buzz suggesting that the crops of Florida's 2003 freshman stallions were a cut above the norm. This opinion was confirmed in the marketplace, where many of these stallions had yearlings sell for multiples of their stud fees.

Successful Appeal, relocated to Kentucky last month and currently the nation's leading 2-year-old sire, had 16 yearlings sell in '03 for an average of $24,481, or nearly four times his stud fee. A son of Valid Appeal, Successful Appeal is doing what his pedigree suggests: passing along a world of competitive speed to his progeny. Through Wednesday, Successful Appeal had 13 starters, 78 winners, and three stakes winners. The Ocala Breeders' Sales Company has cataloged eight by Successful Appeal, a former resident of Hartley/DeRenzo Walmac South, for its yearling sales Monday and Tuesday.

Padua Stables' Yes It's True had a strong buzz about him from the time he entered stud. Last year's average of $57,593 for 29 yearlings through the ring was tops among Florida freshman stallions. Yes It's True, from the Bold Ruler line, has 63 registered foals. Nineteen of them had started through Wednesday, six of them had won, and two are multiple stakes winners. The OBS has 17 yearlings by Yes It's True cataloged.

Straight Man, one of two Florida resident stallions by Saint Ballado to make the national top 25 list of leading freshmen sires, had 45 yearlings through the ring in '03 and they averaged $30,441. Seventeen had started and six of those had won. A Signature Thoroughbreds resident, Straight Man has 20 of his get cataloged.

Sweetsouthernsaint, a resident of Ocala Stud, has proven a pleasant surprise to his backers. A son of Saint Ballado, Sweetsouthernsaint was at his best competing at middle distances and one would have expected him to be that sort of sire. Yet, he has made his sire mark early on. From 14 starters, Sweetsouthernsaint had five winners, including a turf winner, and there is every reason to believe his offspring will improve with age and distance.

Running Stag, at Adena Springs South, is not your usual candidate for juvenile honors. A world-traveling millionaire son of Cozzene, Running Stag is from a stamina-packed European family with classic credits. Running Stag won his maiden going 1 1/4 miles and never won a race at less than nine furlongs. In a market that favors speed-oriented pedigrees, it was not surprising that 25 yearlings from the first crop of Running Stag sold for just an average of $15,183 - barely twice his stud fee. Through Wednesday, 14 of Running Stag's offspring had gone postward and five had won. He has 14 yearlings in the OBS catalog.

Padua Stables is also the home of Dance Master, winner of the Grade 2 Bashford Manner Stakes as a 2-year-old. Dance Master has some precocious genes going for him. He is a son of Gone West and has additional multiple crosses of Raise a Native and Nearco. Nine of his yearlings sold in '03 for an average of $13,467. Through Wednesday, five had started and two had won, including the stakes winner Flamenco.

Tiger Ridge, at Hartley/De Renzo Walmac South, was unraced at 2 and 3, and placed twice from five starts at 5. Ordinarily, this is not a ticket to the stud, but Tiger Ridge is by Storm Cat and is out of Weekend Surprise, by Secretariat. He is a half-brother to A.P. Indy, Summer Squall, and Honor Grades. In the '03 yearling market, buyers overlooked his racing record as 30 sold for an average of 35,130. Tiger Ridge had three winners from 11 runners and ranks 15th on the freshman sire list. There are 21 by Tiger Ridge cataloged.

Another who has made the top 25 freshman sire list, with four winners from 11 starters, is Rising Hill Farm's Wised Up, a graded stakes winner by Dixieland Band.

"I'm pleased with the way the Wised Ups are running this early in the game," says Jim DiMare of Rising Hill Farm. "I always thought he'd come into his own when the distances lengthened - you know, sire the kind of horse he was himself."

There are seven by Wised Up in the catalog.