10/31/2007 11:00PM

Stallions priced with budgets in mind

EmailLEXINGTON, Ky. - The 2008 breeding season is right around the corner, and farms around central Kentucky are continuing to set a conservative line on their stud fees in response to commercial breeders' concerns over high mating fees.

The president of Castleton Lyons, Shane Ryan, made the reasons clear in announcing that the 2008 fees for all of Castleton's stallions would drop from their 2007 levels.

"We recognize that the market is entering a period of stabilization, and we wish to ensure that our valued clients are in a position to make a return on their investment," he said. "Breeders have requested that stallion farms in Kentucky review their stud fees. Castleton Lyons is listening and responding."

Castleton has trimmed the fees for its four-horse roster, with Bernstein dropping from $30,000 to $20,000, Toccet falling from $20,000 to $12,500, and Wiseman's Ferry and Sir Shackleton standing at $5,000, down from $8,500 and $7,500, respectively.

Castleton wasn't the only stallion operation holding steady or reducing fees this week. Mill Ridge Farm announced Thursday that its stalwart Mr. Prospector horse Gone West will stand for $85,000, as compared with his 2007 fee of $125,000. That is despite the auction-ring popularity of such stallion sons as Mr. Greeley and Elusive Quality and of Gone West's own foals, including a $2.14 million colt at the Tattersalls October yearling sale in Newmarket, England, and a record-priced $2.4 million weanling filly a year ago at Keeneland's November sale.

Another son of Gone West, Breeders' Cup Turf winner Johar, also will take a reduction this year from $15,000 to $12,500. Johar also stands at Mill Ridge.

At Coolmore's Ashford Stud, five sires get reductions: Dehere drops from $20,000 to $17,500, Fusaichi Pegasus from $75,000 to $45,000, Lion Heart from $25,000 to $20,000, Powerscourt from $10,000 to $7,500, and Thunder Gulch from $30,000 to $20,000. Giant's Causeway moves from a private fee to $125,000 in 2008, and the farm will introduce Scat Daddy in 2008 at $30,000.

One exception to the reduced-fee trend at Ashford is Van Nistelrooy. He stood for $7,500 in 2007, but now he is ranked third among third-crop sires, thanks to horses like the Del Mar Debutante winner Set Play, Group 1-placed and Group 2 winner Strike the Deal, and Grade 3 winner Elusive Lady. He will stand for $25,000 in 2008.

Coolmore's Irish headquarters also announced it will stand Dylan Thomas for $50,000 in 2008. The Arc de Triomphe winner, he will be joined by new stallions Excellent Art, who will stand for $25,000, and Strategic Prince, who carries a $9,000 fee.

Sadler's Wells will have a private fee, as he did this season, and Galileo will also be private. Topping the advertised roster are Montjeu at $125,000 and Danehill Dancer at $115,000.

The fee-cutting impulse wasn't restricted to Kentucky operations with horses in the $50,000 and up range, either. Buck Pond Farm didn't raise any of its fees and cut the numbers for three stallions. Colonial Colony will fall from $7,500 to $5,000, Seattle Fitz drops from $8,500 to $6,500, and State City goes from $10,000 to $7,500 in 2008.

Brother Bobby euthanized

Grade 2-placed Brother Bobby, who most recently finished fifth in Curlin's Jockey Club Gold Cup, died Wednesday, trainer Grant Forster announced on his website.

A 4-year-old Out of Place gelding owned by James Barnes and Jim Batcheller, Brother Bobby was euthanized at Hagyard Equine Medical Institute here after developing laminitis.

"A mysterious and as yet unknown virus or infirmity swept through my barn at Churchill Downs this past Friday and Saturday, leaving Bobby and two others in tough shape," Forster wrote. "Thankfully, the others have returned to normal."

Bred by Hurstland Farm and James Greene, Brother Bobby sold for $37,000 at the 2004 Keeneland September sale. He went on to win 3 of 13 races, finishing second 6 times and earning $298,213. He finished second in three stakes, including the Grade 2 Oaklawn Handicap and Grade 3 Philip H. Iselin Breeders' Cup Handicap this year.

Team Valor finds a dam it wanted

Turfrose's victory on Sunday in Italy's Group 1 Premio Lydia Tesio was a boon to Versailles, Ky.-based Team Valor, even though the public syndication group turned the Big Shuffle filly down for private purchase.

Team Valor's principal, Barry Irwin, said the 3-year-old Turfrose had "a suspicious throat" in her veterinary examination. But Irwin was otherwise so impressed with the young runner, he went looking for her dam, Turfquelle. Team Valor found the mare in Germany and promptly bought her privately in February.

"It wasn't for much, I can tell you," Irwin said, adding that the price was "definitely under $200,000."

Turfquelle is now part of Team Valor's seven-mare band at Haras des Capucines in France. She had a Seattle Dancer colt this year and is now back in foal to Big Shuffle, who stands in Germany for a fee of 10,000 euros, or about $14,455. She is booked to Manduro in 2008.

"I like to breed in France and keep the fillies and sell the colts," Irwin said. "The breeders' awards in France are phenomenal."