05/20/2004 11:00PM

Successful Appeal off to solid start

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Florida has long enjoyed a reputation for freshmen sires who are quick off the mark. Hidden Point Farm's syndicated Family Calling was such a sire in 2003. A son of Mr. Prospector, he ended the year as Florida's leading freshman stallion in number of winners with 19 and placed eighth in the national rankings.

This year, Successful Appeal, standing at Hartley/DeRenzo, Walmac South, is off to an auspicious beginning, with three winners from five starters, including the stakes winners Lunarpal and Double D Appeal. The unbeaten Lunarpal's black-type success came on Kentucky Derby Day when he won the Three Chimneys Juvenile Stakes. Double D Appeal won her second race in three attempts when she overcame a rough trip to win the May 16 Hollywood Nursery Stakes.

Other Florida stallions with early-season maiden victories are Yes It's True, from Padua Stable, with one winner from four starters, and Straight Man (Signature Stallions), with one winner from three starters.

Pedigree experts are not surprised that Successful Appeal has passed on speed and precocity to his offspring. The 8-year-old stallion is by the late Valid Appeal and out of a Fortunate Prospect stakes producer who is a full sister to the graded stakes winner Suave Prospect, who stands at Farnsworth Farms.

Valid Appeal is one of the world's few links to the sire line of the 18th century Matchem. For decades Valid Appeal, who raced in the colors of his breeder, Harry T. Mangurian Jr., was considered Florida's prime source of quality sprinter-milers. His record (incomplete, as there are still a few of his offspring at the races) shows that he is the sire of 548 winners, of which 210 were 2-year-old winners, and that better than 15 percent of his winners became stakes winners. Valid Appeal has a number of successful sons at stud and has already made his mark as a top 20 broodmare sire.

Fortunate Prospect, standing at Farnsworth Farms, is Florida's leading living sire with approximately $35 million in progeny earnings. A grandson of Mr. Prospector, he is the sire of some 500 domestic and foreign winners, and his black-type progeny number about 30.

Successful Appeal won the Grade 2 Cowdin Stakes at Belmont, one of his three wins as a juvenile. As a 3-year-old, he won the Grade 2 Withers at a mile and two graded sprint stakes. At 4 he added the A.G. Vanderbilt Handicap, a Grade 2, and placed in the Grade 2 Forego Handicap. While his game appeared to be limited to a mile, Successful Appeal did finish in the money in the 1 1/16-mile Dwyer Stakes, a Grade 2, and the Leonard Richards Stakes.

Hartley/DeRenzo said that the 2001 book for Successful Appeal had 77 mares, a year later 58, last year 68, and this year, according to the farm, it will have 100 or more.

Focus turns to yearlings

As the number of 2-year-olds in training sales wind down - the last 2004 Florida 2-year-olds in training sale is scheduled for June 15 and 16 at Ocala Breeders Sale - Tom Ventura of the OBS and his inspection team are visiting the farms with candidates for the Ocala yearling sales that begin Aug. 23.

"In my opinion," said Ventura, "the freshmen sires of 2005 are as strong a group as Florida has had in years, and the yearlings by them that I have seen look the part."

Among the yearlings Ventura and crew are examining are offspring of Exchange Rate and Delaware Township, a pair of graded stakes winners standing at Padua Stable. Other freshman sires whose offspring are being examined include Flame Thrower, at Signature Stallions, and Trippi, at Ocala Stud. Others with graded stakes records and with their first crop of offspring being offered in the coming yearling sales are Snuck In (CloverLeaf II) Songandaprayer (Marablue Farm), Lexicon (Meadowbrook) and Put It Back (Bridlewood Farm)