10/28/2008 11:00PM

Stud fees at top farms flat or dipping


LEXINGTON, Ky. - The general trend in central Kentucky stud fees is following the one seen at 2008's yearling sales: prices are dropping, or, at least, remaining the same.

The latest large Lexington farm to hold the line or trim fees is Hill 'n' Dale, which lowered the prices on almost half its stallions, with most of the remainder keeping the same fees they had in 2008. Stormy Atlantic is one that will stay the same in 2009 at $45,000.

"We had a lot of pressure to raise Stormy Atlantic's stud fee with the great year he is having but decided to remain at $45,000 for 2009," said farm owner John Sikura. "Stormy Atlantic has gone from a champion juvenile sire to the sire of 13 stakes winners and 33 stakes horses this year."

Those who will have lower fees in 2009 are El Corredor at $25,000; Grand Reward at $8,500; Mutakddim at $12,500; Roman Ruler at $20,000; Seeking the Best at $6,500; Shakespeare at $15,000; and Theatrical at $35,000. Seeking the Dia, whose fee was advertised as private in 2008, will stand for $10,000.

Hill 'n' Dale has two new horses debuting. Sprint champion and two-time Breeders' Cup Sprint winner Midnight Lute will carry a $20,000 fee, while Grade 2 winner Harlington, by Unbridled, will stand for $10,000.

Sheikh Hamdan al-Maktoum's Lexington division, Shadwell Farm, cut all its fees. That put 2006 Horse of the Year Invasor, who will be in his second year at stud, at $28,000, down from $35,000. Also dropping were Daaher, whose 2009 fee is $16,000; Dayjur, $4,000; Dumaani, $2,000; Intidab, $4,000; Jazil, 10,000; Kayrawan, $2,000; Mustanfar, $2,400; and Swain $4,000.

Shadwell's Aljabr will stand this year at Ascot Stud in Ontario, Canada, for $3,500, down from $5,000.

Spendthrift Farm, also in Lexington, left its sires' fees the same as last year. B. Wayne Hughes's farm will also nearly double its roster in 2009 with the introduction of three new sires. They are Grade 2 winner Tiz Wonderful, by Tiznow, who stands for $12,500; multiple graded winner Notional, by In Excess, who stands for $10,000; and Into Mischief, a Grade 1-winning son of Harlan's Holiday who will retire from racing after the Dec. 26 Malibu Stakes. Into Mischief will stand for $12,500.

Coolmore Stud adds Henrythenavigator to Ashford

Coolmore Stud will add Breeders' Cup Classic runner-up Henrythenavigator to its Kentucky stallion ranks in 2009. The global breeding conglomerate hasn't set his fee yet, but the move to debut the Kingmambo colt at Ashford, rather than at Coolmore headquarters in Ireland, signals confidence that his good performance on the Santa Anita synthetic surface as runner-up in the Breeders' Cup Classic will appeal to American breeders.

Henrythenavigator won the English and Irish 2,000 Guineas this year, as well as two other Group 1 races, the Sussex and St. James's Palace Stakes, in a record that includes five stakes wins and four stakes placings. He retires with $2,750,538 in earnings from 11 starts.

Henrythenavigator is out of former Irish champion juvenile filly Sequoyah, by Sadler's Wells. He is a full brother to 2006 Irish 1,000 Guineas winner Queen Cleopatra.

Sales calendar changes in 2009

The Ocala Breeders' Sales Company's 2009 juvenile sale calendar features a number of important changes.

Just three months after Frank Stronach's Adena Springs South said it would become a public training center and stop holding its annual spring juvenile sale, OBS has put that 2-year-old auction back on the calendar for March 16, 2009. An Adena Springs representative in Ocala declined to comment on the reversal, and Adena Springs executive Jack Brothers had not returned a call seeking comment by late afternoon Wednesday.

OBS also has changed the date for its 2009 February select juvenile sale from Feb. 10 to Feb. 17 to give consignors an extra week to prepare. The company also announced a policy of limiting previews to one under-tack show. For the rescheduled February select sale, OBS will host an under-tack show on Feb. 13 at 9 a.m.

The company's March select 2-year-old sale will take place on March 17-18, with an under-tack show divided into two sessions. Horses cataloged for March 17 will work on March 12, while those selling on the second day will work on March 13; both previews start at 8 a.m.

In another change, the Darley-sponsored OBS Championship Stakes racing day will take place on Feb. 16, five days later than its 2008 date. Entries will be taken on Feb. 9.

* In other 2-year-old sale news, the Barretts auction house in California also will have a one-breeze format for its 2009 March select sale. The auction will take place on March 10, with the preview set for March 5.

"We've always had to be sensitive to weather influences on our track," said Barretts president Jerry McMahon, "and that means we'll have to be flexible about the day we actually work."

* The Tattersalls autumn horses in training sale produced a European record price when Philip Newton's Group 3-placed Sugar Ray, a 4-year-old Danehill colt trained by Michael Stoute brought a bid of 600,000 guineas, about $1,020,600, from agent Anthony Stroud. The price surpassed the previous record of 525,000 guineas set in 2001 and equaled in 2004. The colt, a three-quarter-brother to Group 3-placed Gaspar Van Wittel, is headed to the Dubai Racing Carnival, Stroud said.

* Littleexpectations, who stood at Millennium Farms in Kentucky this year, will relocate to Robert McDowell's 519 Thoroughbreds in Arcadia, La., in 2009. He will stand for $2,500. Littleexpectations is full brother to Valid Expectations and the sire of King of the Roxy and He's Boy Wonder.