07/04/2008 12:00AM

Strong first half, all things considered


Florida’s numbers are positive when reviewing the first half of 2008. Florida stallions are siring their share of graded stakes winners. Several of the freshman stallions are off to a quick start. The mare population has stabilized at approximately 7,100. The market, considering the rough economic times, held firm at the state’s six 2-year-olds in training sales. There were 1,645 2-year-olds sold at Florida’s six sales in 2008 and they grossed $118.1 million.

The Florida Thoroughbred Breeders’ and Owners’ Association lists 22 new stallions for the 2008 breeding season. This compares with 36 who entered stud in Florida for the 2007 season.

Roar of the Tiger making mark

Florida’s first-crop sires are off to swift start. Among those who rank well up on the national list is Hartley/DeRenzo Walmac South’s Roar of the Tiger. The chestnut 9-year-old is a full brother to Giant’s Causeway and to the successful New York sire Freud. There are 60 registered 2-year-olds in Roar of the Tiger’s first crop (fee, $6,000). As of the end of June, 19 had started, and 5 had won, earning $156,768.

There are 92 in the first crop of the Vinery stallion Peace Rules ($12,500). Through the end of June, 12 had started and 3 had won, including the stakes winner Trifecta King. Omega Code ($7,500) stands at Hartley/DeRenzo Walmac South. The bay horse has a crop of 73; 11 had run and 4 had won. Olmodavor ($5,000) stands at Adena Springs South. A multiple graded stakes winner and son of A. P. Indy, Olmodavor has 59 in his first crop, 9 had made their debuts, and 3 had won.

Ocala Stud still on top

The past several years in Florida have been dominated by Ocala Stud stallions, and for the first half of 2008, the game’s the same. The 11-year-old Trippi, by End Sweep, led the roster with 58 winners, 4 of whom are stakes winners, and earnings of $1.86 million.

The venerable Montbrook (by Buckaroo) has been near or at the top of Florida’s leading stallions for more than a decade. The 18-year-old’s get won $1.83 million during the first half of ’08 to place him second overall.

In a virtual tie for third place midway through the year are the stallions Double Honor (Gone West), who stands at Get Away Farm, and Halo’s Image (Halo), who stands at Bridlewood Farm. Each has sired the winners of $1.5 million plus this year.

The sire with the most stakes-winning get is Put It Back (Honour and Glory). The 10-year-old Bridlewood Farm resident had six stakes winners going for him in the first half of ’08

From humble beginnings

Florida-bred Dearest Trickski may not know how good she is. She certainly gave horsemen lots of chances to find out after being claimed for $12,500 at Oaklawn Park in March of 2007. Bred by Doctors K.K. and V. Devi Jayaraman at their Tiffany Farms in Ocala, the 4-year-old filly went from that March 2007 runner-up effort at Oaklawn to a win in $10,000 company at Lone Star a month later. She won a couple more at Lone Star before being claimed for $32,000.

California has proven to be her golden state, as she went right up the winning ladder, ultimately taking the Grade 1 La Brea Stakes at Santa Anita earlier this year. This past Saturday she added the Grade 2 A Gleam to her trophy collection. The daughter of Proudest Roman-Tricksi, by Peteski, has a record of 10 wins and 2 seconds from 15 starts and earnings $540,108

Floridians keep writing checks

Problems in the industry and with the economy don’t appear to be stopping Floridians from buying horses from the 2-year-old non-selected sales.

At the OBS April sale of 2007, 125 Floridians – that is those with billing addresses in Florida – represented 34 percent of all buyers. Floridians bought 236 horses of the 786 sold, or 30 percent of the total. In this year’s OBS April sale, 142 state buyers bought 254 of the 772 sold, or 33 percent of them.

The OBS June sales of ’07 and ’08, did have a greater statistical disparity. In June of ’07, 83 Floridians accounted for 52 percent of the sale’s buyers. Florida buyers accounted for 141 of the 316 sold, or 45 percent of them. In June of ’08, the percentage of Florida buyers dipped to 44 percent, 72 of 163 buyers, and they bought 40 percent of the horses.