09/03/2003 11:00PM

So Ritzy now so good for Millers


LEXINGTON, Ky. - With his victory in the Grade 1 Hopeful Stakes at Saratoga, the unbeaten colt Silver Wagon is the brightest new toy on the 2-year-old playground. Running the seven furlongs in 1:23.47, Silver Wagon rolled home four lengths in front of previously unbeaten Chapel Royal, a son of Montbrook who topped the Ocala Breeders' Sales February sale of selected 2-year-olds in training at $1.2 million.

At the same sale, Silver Wagon sold to Buckram Oak Farm for $120,000, and he topped a Florida-bred exacta in the year's most prestigious 2-year-old race to date.

By freshman sire Wagon Limit, Silver Wagon was bred in Florida by Leverett and Linda Miller, who own T-Square Stud in Fairfield. The Millers bred Silver Wagon from their mare So Ritzy, by Darn That Alarm, and sold the colt at the OBS August yearling sale last year for $55,000 to Mark Casse, agent.

Leverett Miller said that at the yearling sale, "Silver Wagon was so good looking that he drew a lot of lookers." But people didn't quite know what to make of his sire Wagon Limit, who was a high-class racehorse but didn't win a stakes until he was 4. Moonshadow Farm, agent, sent Silver Wagon through the OBS February sale, where Buckram Oak acquired the colt.

Miller said he saw Mahmoud Fustok, the owner of Buckram Oak, at Saratoga, and asked him why he bought Silver Wagon.

"He said, 'I never look at the page until I look at the horse. And I really liked the horse,' " Miller said.

After the success in the Hopeful, Miller looks for stronger sales in the future. At last month's OBS yearling auction, T-Square bought back Silver Wagon's yearling half-brother by Fly So Free for $47,000, and he "will go into the OBS Miami sale. I think they'll accept him. He's a big, correct, gray colt," Miller said.

So Ritzy produced a full brother to Silver Wagon this spring, and she is back in foal to champion 2-year-old Gilded Time.

So Ritzy is out of So Divine and from "a family that we've had for years," Miller said. So Divine, Miller said, produced five stakes horses.

"We've still got a couple of her daughters," he said. "She was bred to everything from the teaser [Togus] to Mr. Prospector. The first foal out of So Divine was by Togus and went to Panama, where it was stakes placed, and the filly by Mr. Prospector was a stakes winner and stakes producer.

"Silver Wagon is the first 2-year-old stakes winner out of So Divine's family, and it makes me wonder how good he will be next year. I'm happy they are going to put him away because I think that's right in line with the breeding."

Silver Wagon is the first stakes winner for freshman sire Wagon Limit, who did not race at 2 himself. The Millers raised Wagon Limit for owner-breeder Joseph Shields, and Miller recalled that "Wagon Limit was very talented when he was here, but his knees wouldn't close. So we never sent him to Allen Jerkens until he got to Florida," which was late in the year. Nonetheless, Wagon Limit was quickly ready and "ran against Banker's Gold in his first start and was beaten narrowly in fast time; so he could fly."

At 3, Wagon Limit ran third in the Grade 1 Jockey Club Gold Cup. The next year, Wagon Limit won the Jockey Club Gold Cup, defeating Horse of the Year Skip Away and Gentlemen.

A handsome, well-balanced horse with some of the quality of his sire, Conquistador Cielo, Wagon Limit retired to stud in Kentucky at Arthur Hancock's Stone Farm, where the stallion stands for $5,000 live foal.

Wagon Limit comes from an excellent family (his third dam is Broodmare of the Year Smartaire) that has gained renewed life from the stallion's dam, Darlin Lindy. A multiple stakes-placed daughter of Cox's Ridge, Darlin Lindy was one of three American-bred and -raced foals of her dam, the Alydar mare Smart Darlin. Sold to Japan for $410,000 out of the Ryehill dispersal in 1988, Smart Darlin produced three other winners of more than $100,000 in Japan but no recognized black-type winners.

Darlin Lindy, however, has produced Grade 1 winner Wagon Limit, stakes-placed Darlin Echo (by Eastern Echo), and Taine, a Sir Ivor mare who is the dam of Shields's graded stakes winner Puzzlement.

Wagon Limit, owned by the partnership of Shields, Hancock, and Miller, covered moderate-sized books of mares, with only 21 foals in his initial crop. But with a Hopeful winner, you don't need too many more.