10/23/2008 11:00PM

Sire gets third straight Empire Classic winner

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Raffie's Majesty is enjoying perhaps his finest year at stud. The 13-year-old son of the outstanding former state sire Cormorant stamped his season when Stud Muffin won the $250,000 Empire Classic on New York Showcase Day.

It was the third straight year a son of Raffie's Majesty won the nine-furlong Empire Classic, the others being the full brothers Organizer in 2006 and Dr. V's Magic in 2007.

All three were bred by the Majesty Stud of Digby Barrios.

Stud Muffin is one of four stakes winners by Raffie's Majesty this year, the others being Tommasi, Raffie's Treasure, and Joe's Majesty.

A New York-bred himself, Raffie's Majesty stands at Sugar Maple Farm in Poughquag, N.Y. Barrios, of Ridgefield Conn., bred and raced him along with Henry Prieger and retains a majority ownership in the stallion.

Raffie's Majesty did not race until February of his 3-year-old season, winning at 1 1/8 miles at Gulfstream Park. He ended his career with a terrific effort in the Grade 1 Travers at 1 1/4 miles, losing by two noses to multiple Grade 1 winners Coronado's Quest and Victory Gallop.

With Raffie's Majesty's stout pedigree and predilection for distance racing, the thought when he began his stud career was that maturity would serve his offspring best.

"We are very proud of what he has accomplished," Barrios said. "We certainly realized he was a horse that you would have to wait on. But one of the attractive things about him is that he can cross with just about any mare. I think the people who have been involved with him understand he is worth waiting on. It might not be the most popular thing in today's commercial market, but his average earnings per runner are very good."

Through 2007, with six crops to race, his average earnings per runner was $65,141; Barrios noted it has risen to more than $75,000 this year.

Raffie's Majesty also has a high ratio of 75 percent winners from starters. His career progeny earnings are $5.4 million, and Stud Muffin's victory sent him past $900,000 for 2008.

As for his compatibility with broodmares, Raffie's Majesty is free of Raise a Native and Northern Dancer blood. His sire, Cormorant, is by the Ribot stallion His Majesty, a line that also has produced Pleasant Colony and a son, the popular sire Pleasant Tap.

Raffie's Majesty is out of Raffinierte, by Surumu. Surumu, a leading sire in Germany, won that nation's Group 1 Derby at 1 1/2 miles.

Vintage Tough has strong background

There is a wonderful New York family behind Blue Star Stable's Vintage Tough, winner of the open Finger Lakes Juvenile Fillies last weekend.

Bred by Thomas and Lakin, she is by Good and Tough out of Vintage Love, by Alydeed. Vintage Love also is the dam of Imperial Zip, who finished third in the Finger Lakes Juvenile in 2005.

Vintage Love is a half-sister to Well Well Well, winner of the Bertram F. Bongard Stakes, and to Elocat, winner of the East View Stakes.

Elocat produced the multiple-stakes-winning New York-bred Elocat's Burgler, an earner of $313,881.

Purchased for $65,000 at the Ocala Breeders' Sales Company's April 2-year-olds in training sale, Vintage Tough has earnings of $83,200, with a record of 2-0-1 in 3 starts.

Canadian Ballet wins open stakes

Canadian Ballet became the 28th New York-bred to win an open stakes race in 2008 last weekend at the Meadowlands. The 3-year-old filly set a stakes record in winning the P.G. Johnson Stakes on turf, getting five furlongs in 55.89 while leading all the way.

Canadian Ballet, by City Zip, is now a stakes winner on turf and dirt, having captured the Fifth Avenue Division of the New York Stallion Stakes last November on the Aqueduct main track.

Her earnings stand at $235,889, with a record of 4-2-1 in 11 starts.

Bred by Gus Schoenborn Jr., she is owned by Obviously NY Stable.

Canadian Ballet is out of Canadian Flagship, by Northern Flagship.

A full sister to stakes-placed Vasa, Canadian Ballet's second dam is stakes winner Key Bid, who placed in several graded events while racing on the East and West coasts.