05/10/2007 11:00PM

Sorokolit's plan good for long run


Four generations of William Sorokolit's Canadian breeding program reached the summit on Kentucky Derby Day at Churchill Downs when his turf horse Sky Conqueror won the Grade 1 Woodford Reserve Handicap.

It was 30 years ago that Irish Intrigue, Sky Conqueror's third dam, was foaled. The Irish Castle filly was bought by renowned veterinarian George Badame for Sorokolit but she never made it to the races.

Sorokolit, a businessman from Mississauga, Ontario, decided to breed the filly despite her light pedigree, and her first mate, Dancing Champ, would give Sorokolit a tough little dark bay filly named Irish Ballerina.

This began a long line of stakes winners and tough runners that for three decades have carried the Sorokolit family silks, including horses campaigned by son Bill Sorokolit Jr.

"The two female families I have had over the years have evolved with really good horses," said the elder Sorokolit about his foundation mares, Irish Intrigue and Native Rights.

"They started out with little or no black type in the breeding, and now these pedigrees are filled with black type."

Irish Ballerina, a stakes-placed grass runner, earned herself a place in Sorokolit's breeding program and produced her first foal in the spring of 1987, a few months before Sorokolit would buy Native Rights as a yearling.

The mare's fourth foal was Ballerina Queen, by Kris S., winner of Belle Geste Stakes on the Woodbine turf in the early 1990s.

Irish Ballerina's next foal was Heavenly Ballerina, a multiple winner by Conquistador Cielo who produced a Sky Classic colt (and a look-alike of his sire) named Sky Conqueror.

There have been other stakes winners stemming from branches of the Irish Intrigue family tree.

Irish Ballerina's sister Irish Allure produced Apalachee Allure, the dam of Cup and Saucer Stakes winner Apalachian Chief, who is one of the best sons of top sire Bold Executive. Irish Allure also produced Bison City Stakes winner Ready and Alluring.

La Kain, a daughter of Irish Ballerina, is the granddam of Sorokolit's promising young stallion Union Place, by Out of Place, who won the Grade 3 Calder Derby over Miesque's Approval in 2002. She is also the granddam of stakes winner Palace Pier, who will take Sorokolit to the Woodbine Oaks on June 10.

"We can't afford to breed to the A.P. Indys and Storm Cats out there so we go for the middle-of-the-road types and we've had luck with those," said Sorokolit.

Indeed, Sorokolit has made shares and seasons work in Prized, Kris S., and Out of Place, not exactly commercial stunning stallions.

The late Native Rights was named Canada's broodmare of the year in 2005, thanks to the exploits of her daughters Prized Stamp, who won the Grade 2 Barbara Fritchie Stakes, and multiple graded stakes winner Classic Stamp.

The mare's last foal, the 3-year-old Native Legend, won the Star Shoot Stakes last month.

Prized Stamp had a foal this spring by Union Place and will be bred to Street Cry, the sire of Kentucky Derby winner Street Sense.

Classic Stamp just had her first foal - a filly by Distorted Humor - and is headed to the court of Empire Maker.

Meanwhile, Heavenly Ballerina foaled a full sister to Sky Conqueror this spring.

With a broodmare band that numbers slightly more than a dozen, the Sorokolit breeding program has done remarkably well over the years.

Last season, his 110 homebreds earned $1.3 million and Sky Conqueror led all Canadian-bred earners.

Incredibly, this did not earn Sorokolit a Sovereign nomination in 2006 but now that he has his first Grade 1 winner that should be corrected at the end of 2007.