09/16/2004 11:00PM

Soaring Free's rooting section


Soaring Free will be the focus of attention in Sunday's $1 million Atto Mile. The Sam-Son Farm homebred 5-year-old narrowly missed winning last year's Atto and has been dominant on the Woodbine turf in 2004.

As a gelding, Soaring Free, a son of Smart Strike out of the mare Dancing With Wings, won't enhance his value for stud duty if he wins. But aside from breeders, there will be some very interested onlookers watching him on Sunday.

"I'll be rooting for Soaring Free," said Sovereign Award-winning trainer Bob Tiller, who picked up a full brother to Soaring Free, named Soaring Strike, in Kentucky last fall for only $5,500.

"He's a swayback," said Tiller. "His nickname is Harley because he has such a deep seat. He's the pet of the barn."

Tiller sold half of the 2-year-old colt to Howard Fishman, and is excited about the colt's prospects. "He's a funny character but he's worked well enough," Tiller said. "I'll win races with him and maybe he'll go on and be a stud."

Sam-Son no longer owns Dancing With Wings, a stakes-winning daughter of Danzig-Loudrangle, having sold the now 16-year-old mare at the 2001 Keeneland November breeding stock sale through agent Anderson Farms.

The mare brought a bid of $110,000 from Carl Icahn's Foxfield operation, and she is currently boarding at Trackside Farm near Versailles, Ky.

A half-sister to Canadian Horse of the Year Ruling Angel, champion Tilt My Halo, and stakes winners Slew of Angels, No Louder, and Tiffany Tam, Dancing With Wings produced six foals for Sam-Son before being sold while carrying Soaring Strike.

The mare's first foal, Puffin Island, never won a race but produced stakes winners Shoal Water and Puffer for Sam-Son.

Her fourth foal is stakes-placed Hummingbird Red (by Red Ransom), followed by Soaring Free, who was named last year's champion sprinter in Canada.

The mare's 4-year-old of this year is Sam-Son's current winner Parasail, also a gelding.

Dancing With Wings was barren for 2004, and is currently in foal to Grand Slam.

Chiefswood, Attfield big spenders

Canadian stables were active both buying and selling during the first few sessions of Keeneland's September yearling sale.

Bob and Mark Krembil's Chiefswood Farm, whose Unbridled colt Niigon won this year's Queen's Plate, paid $700,000 for a Deputy Minister filly out of the Storm Cat mare Wind River.

Hall of Fame trainer Roger Attfield, fresh from purchasing the sales-topper at the Canadian Thoroughbred Horse Society's Woodbine yearling sale, picked up a Tale of the Cat filly for $675,000. A half-sister to Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies winner Phone Chatter, she will be raced by Attfield and partner Bill Werner.

Eugene Melnyk purchased several yearlings, including a Hennessy filly for $750,000, and western Canadian interests Winsong Farms (Jim and Alice Sapara), Cam Allard, and Ralph Bodine were also busy buying horses.

Meanwhile, Michael C. Byrne, owner of Park Stud in Orangeville, Ontario, sold a Fusaichi Pegasus-Golden Oriole colt for $1.5 million to Skara Glen. Byrne also sold a Silver Deputy colt for Gus Schickedanz for $280,000 to Winsong.