07/30/2002 11:00PM

Some sires pay off in slop

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The essentials for a rewarding day at Del Mar and Saratoga are the same: a seat, a bankroll, and past performances.

While the umbrella is unnecessary at Del Mar in sunny San Diego - shades are the requirement there - overlooking the threat of rain at Saratoga can be damaging to your clothes and your wallet. Last year the main track was off three times over the course of the meet. Quite often wet tracks there are even more frequent there. So there is no better time than the present to get the slicker ready, and go over a list of dominant mud sires.

Better yet, the information acquired can be applied to most any track that has horses by leading sires. Accumulating the data is simple. Daily Racing Form Simulcast Weekly lists many of the nation's premier sires, and their statistics with first-time starters, turf runners, and mud runners over the last three years.

Besides win percentages, average winning payoffs (listed as AWP on the accompanying chart) are included - which allows bettors to determine quickly which sires have not yet caught the public's attention. In this new era of Tomlinson ratings and other widespread data analyzing bloodlines, the winning payoffs are extraordinarily important.

A. P. Indy, for example, has been surprisingly overlooked as a mud sire - despite being widely regarded as one of the top sires in the country. Remembering his wins in the Belmont and Breeders' Cup Classic, handicappers love betting his horses on a stretchout, but if one of his horses is running in the mud, they tend to pass over him in favor of others descending from established mud lines - like those from Mr. Prospector.

A. P. Indy's results are outstanding: over 23 percent winners and an average winning payoff of $11.50. That translates to a $2.74 return on investment on a $2 wager.

Other sires listed in Simulcast Weekly whose offspring win over 20 percent of their starts include Avenue of Flags, Boundary, Capote, Carson City, Cee's Tizzy, Danzig, Dehere, Kingmambo, Lord at War, Memo, Not for Love, Nureyev, Quiet American, Unbridled's Song, and Valid Wager.

Conversely, offspring of El Gran Senor and Silver Hawk were putrid in the mud - although they had very few starters. El Gran Senor's runners won 4 percent of their mud starts, and Silver Hawk did not sire a North American mud winner over the last three years (0 for 44).

Their offspring excelled on grass, but their poor mud statistics are worth noting if their runners are not scratched from turf races moved to wet main tracks.

It should be pointed out that Nureyev's incredible statistics as a mud sire appear skewed by a small sample of runners. The same question mark of limited data applies to a few other sires, as well.

In terms of profitability, the sires to watch, besides A. P. Indy, are Kingmambo, the late Lord at War, and Quiet American. Betting each of their offspring in the mud over the last three years would have produced a sizable profit.

It is anyone's guess why horses by these mud sires start as overlays. The public simply has never jumped on them.

Although A. P. Indy won twice on off tracks (a "slow" track in his second start, and a "good" track in the Belmont), few people have a lasting image of him as a mudder. He is simply remembered for his greatness, not for his skill in the mud.

Not that is matters what he did as a racehorse - his former career doesn't matter anymore - only what he has become. He could have gone 0 for 5 in the mud, but if his offspring win 23 percent of their mud starts, that fact is irrelevant.

Take note - last year horses sired by A. P. Indy, Carson City, Danzig, Dehere, and Quiet American won races on off tracks at Saratoga. Expect a similar result this year.