01/23/2004 12:00AM

Second of June has Louis Quatorze back on A-list


LEXINGTON, Ky. - Second of June confirmed his superiority over Silver Wagon, last year's Hopeful Stakes winner, with an emphatic victory in the Jan. 17 Holy Bull Stakes at Gulfstream Park. They have met twice, with Second of June winning each time, the second even more impressively than the first.

Because he has a name that repeats his date of birth, Second of June is widely known as the youngest classic hope from this year's crop of 3-year-olds, and he may be the youngest colt in decades with a serious following for the classics.

Even Northern Dancer, who won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness in 1964, was a May foal and older than Second of June.

Northern Dancer is also the paternal great-grandsire of Second of June, who is a son of Preakness winner Louis Quatorze.

In fact, Second of June has close ties to the Maryland classic. Northern Dancer and Louis Quatorze have each won the race, and Second of June's paternal grandsire, Sovereign Dancer, sired another winner of the classic, old Bunny Ears himself, Gate Dancer.

Nowadays, the most distinctive connection between Second of June and Maryland, however, is that Louis Quatorze was moved there late last year and will begin to cover mares in Maryland for the 2004 breeding season.

After beginning his career in Kentucky at Ashford Stud, Louis Quatorze, an 11-year-old stallion, was sold late last year and now stands at Allen and Audrey Murray's Murmur Farm near Darlington, Md.

"We bought the horse at the end of October last year, and he arrived at Murmur on Nov. 1," Audrey Murray said. "We loved his race record and pedigree, and when we went to see him, he really impressed us. He is a striking horse with good size, standing about 16.2, and plenty of quality."

Acquiring a winner of Maryland's most famous race was an astute move, but there were other considerations.

"He also had about 400 unraced foals coming along, and we felt that he had a very good chance to produce another important racehorse," said Murray.

The first important racer for Louis Quatorze was Repent, who won the Grade 2 Louisiana Derby and was even better known for finishing second in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile at 2 and the Travers at 3 after a long layoff. The layoff followed his defeat in the Illinois Derby by a then relatively unknown colt named War Emblem.

War Emblem has even greater significance for Murmur Farm, because at the end of the year before he won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness, the Murrays had purchased War Emblem's sire, Our Emblem, and taken him to Maryland.

Now they've done it again.

After buying Louis Quatorze, the new owners "syndicated him fully in three weeks for $15,000 a share," Murray said. "We sold 30 shares and kept 10 for ourselves, and six breeding rights for the farm."

With the success of Second of June, Murray said "a few people have called, trying to buy shares, but we aren't selling any more."

As a classic winner with more than $2 million in earnings on the track and with a hot young colt bound for the classic trail, Louis Quatorze has become a very lively commodity among Maryland breeders.

"We've got about 60 mares booked to him at this point, and he's a very fertile horse who should be able to handle 90 or so," said Murray.

That is good news for shareholders. Louis Quatorze stands for $6,000 live foal, and although each share yields only one season annually, income from the other seasons sold goes into a pool divided among the shareholders.

In their previous experience with Our Emblem, Murray said that, due to War Emblem coming to prominence later in the year, "we had the highest demand for seasons in April and May, more than half-way through the breeding season. This time it will be easier to arrange matings and bookings."

Our Emblem stood at Murmur for only one season before his resale to stand at Taylor Made Farm in Kentucky. Although the foals Murmur bred were all colts, Murray said "we retained a breeding right in the horse and have some opportunity to get some fillies by him."

And as with Our Emblem, there may be pressure to sell Louis Quatorze, especially if Second of June continues to win this spring. But Murray said, "We need a good horse in Maryland, and we really like this one. I don't think we would sell him."