01/12/2007 12:00AM

Swiss Yodeler's appeal no longer limited to West


ARCADIA, Calif. - Standing a champion stallion will keep a farm owner busy, even during the holidays. California farm owner Patricia Youngman learned that in recent weeks.

As Swiss Yodeler completed his first campaign as the leading sire in California in 2006, Youngman said interest was strong in the 13-year-old stallion, even during the Christmas and New Year's period when people are often preoccupied with other matters.

"It's an everyday occurrence for two or three contracts to be going in and coming out," she said from her Pepper Oaks farm in Santa Ynez, Calif. "Even during the holidays, we had lots of calls."

Swiss Yodeler had progeny earnings of $4,880,827 in 2006, finishing well clear of defending champion Bertrando, who had $4,036,635. In Excess, who led the list most recently in 2003, was third with $3,767,941. (Deputy Commander, who will stand his first season at stud in California in 2007, had $4,053,804, but stood in Kentucky last year.)

Swiss Yodeler ranked 19th in earnings on the national sire list, which was led by A.P. Indy at $9,724,198. The state's top freshman stallion in 2002, Swiss Yodeler's latest title may lead to him being booked to more out-of-state mares, Youngman said.

"I've been getting some East Coast interest," Youngman said. "The feeling is that he could do well there. It's exciting. Clients want to ship the mares out here. They want to send good mares, and they took time to fly out."

Swiss Yodeler was boosted greatly by the late-season success of Thor's Echo, a leading candidate for the Eclipse Award as the nation's outstanding sprinter. Thor's Echo won the Breeders' Cup Sprint at Churchill Downs on Nov. 4 and the Grade 1 Frank De Francis Memorial Dash at Laurel Nov. 25.

Thor's Echo won 2 of 7 starts and earned $1,838,937 in 2006.

Swiss Yodeler is by Eastern Echo. A multiple stakes winner at 2 in 1996, Swiss Yodeler was campaigned by Heinz Steinmann, who retains ownership and continues to breed numerous mares to the stallion.

Youngman was reluctant to guess how many mares that Swiss Yodeler would be bred to in 2007, but said that at least 100 "is a safe estimate."

She said that some California breeders wait until late winter before making breeding plans for mares.

Tribal Rule tops state's freshman list

Tribal Rule, by Storm Cat, was the state's leading freshman stallion in 2006 with progeny earnings of $344,419. He finished 18th on the national freshman stallion list, which was led by Street Cry at $1,852,250. Skimming, a two-time winner of the Pacific Classic at Del Mar, finished second on the state list with earnings of $159,770.

Tribal Rule stands at Mary and Pam Wygod's River Edge Farm in Buellton, Calif., for a $5,000 fee. The 11-year-old stallion won 2 of 4 starts in a limited racing career for the Wygods.

Farm manager Russell Drake estimates that Tribal Rule will be bred to 80 to 100 mares this year.

"People have really responded to him," he said. "I can be pretty choosy about the mares. If you can go to 90 or 100 mares, you're doing pretty good in California.

"He's pretty correct for a Storm Cat. He's not 16 hands or anything, he's a nice-sized horse. You don't want to breed a small mare to him."

Tribal's Rule's leading earner in 2006 was Half Famous, who was bred by the Wygods and sold as a yearling for $7,000 in Arizona. Half Famous won 2 of 7 starts and $63,150 in 2006, a season highlighted by a win in the Lost in the Fog Juvenile Stakes at Turf Paradise on Dec. 31.

Half Famous was entered for Saturday's $150,000 San Rafael Stakes at Santa Anita.