07/09/2004 12:00AM

Three sires' legacies keep growing

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Call it the Dead Sires Society.

Although they have been long gone, Danehill, who died May 13, 2003, Sunday Silence (Aug. 19, 2002), and Dubai Millennium (April 29, 2001), are making an inordinate amount of noise on the stallion front this year.

You might say that Danehill is having the year of a lifetime. That is, you might say it if he were still alive. So far this year he is responsible for the Epsom Derby winner, North Light; champion Hong Kong miler Lucky Owners; and 13 other group or graded race owners around the world.

One of the first dual-hemisphere stallions, Danehill's influence is being felt in every corner of the racing globe save South America.

In England this season, in addition to North Light, he has sired the King Edward VII Stakes winner, Five Dynasties, and the Ribblesdale Stakes winner, Punctilious. Both those races are Group 2 contests at Royal Ascot. In France he has three filly winners in Actrice (Prix Corrida), Steel Princess (Prix Cleopatre), and Grey Lilas (Prix de la Grotte), who was also runner-up in the Group 1 Poule d'Essai des Pouliches, or French 1000 Guineas. But his best French winner this season is the top-class stayer Westerner, a two-time Group 1 winner in 2003 who took the Group 3 Prix de Barbeville before finishing second in the Group 1 Ascot Gold Cup.

Danehill's Irish pattern race winner is Danelissima, who won her maiden in the Group 3 Noblesse Stakes.

Here in the United States, he has a trio of ex-French fillies who have reached the graded-race winner's circle. They are Light Jig in the Grade 2 Beverly Hills Handicap, Intercontinental in the Grade 2 Just a Game Stakes, and Spring Star in the Grade 3 Wilshire Handicap.

In Australia, where he has sired champions like Danewin, Catbird, and Nothin' Leica Dane, Danehill has three Group 3 winners this year in Milanova (Tokyo City Cup), Way West (Prelude Stakes), and World Peace (Preview Stakes). More to the point, he is the sire of Exceed and Excel, the three-time Group 1-winning sprinter who was purchased in March by Sheikh Mohammed for $14 million to complete his racing career in England.

Danehill hasn't had a stakes winner in Japan or South Africa yet this year, but he has sired champions in those two countries in the past. Fine Motion was champion 3-year-old filly in Japan in 2002, while Laisserfaire was South Africa's champion sprinter in both 2001 and 2002.

Add to those names the likes of Rock of Gibraltar, a seven-time Group 1 winner; Fairy King Prawn a two-time champion in Hong Kong; Banks Hill, winner of the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf; Mozart, a champion European sprinter; Aquarelliste winner of the French Oaks; Tiger Hill, a two-time German champion; Desert King, winner of the Irish 2000 Guineas and Irish Derby; Landseer, the French 2000 Guineas winner; Italian champions Sopran Foldan and Miss Carolina; and the Matriarch Stakes winner Dress to Thrill, and it is clear that Danehill has established himself as an international stallion in a way that not even Northern Dancer or Nijinsky could claim.

North, south, east, west, Danehill has big-race winners almost everywhere in the world from five furlongs to 2 1/2 miles, and his influence will be felt on the racecourse for years to come as his last, albeit partial, crop will not turn 3 until 2007.

Japan's perennial champion sire, Sunday Silence, is a phenomenon. In 2003, his foals won 37 Japanese graded stakes, 10 of those Grade 1's. Among them was the Japanese 2000 Guineas and Derby winner, Neo Universe, and the Japanese Oaks winner, Still in Love.

This year it has been more of the same. He has already produced the Japanese Oaks winner, Daiwa El Cielo; the Japanese 2000 Guineas winner, Daiwa Major; and the Japanese 1000 Guineas winner, Dance in the Mood, who was runner-up in last Saturday's Grade 1 American Oaks at Hollywood Park.

In addition, Sunday Silence has sired the winners of eight Grade 2's and five Grade 3's. Sunday Silence's last crop will be 3-year-olds in 2006, and with his sons Fuji Kiseki, Dance in the Dark, and Marvelous Sunday all among the top 10 sires in Japan this year, his influence will be felt for a long time to come.

Most intriguing of all is the fast start at stud of the ill-fated Dubai Millennium.

The six-length winner of the 2000 Dubai World Cup and the nine-length winner of the Prince of Wales's Stakes in his last two starts before his premature death, Dubai Millennium has had just two starters from his first crop in England this year, but they have won all three of their races.

Dubawi, out of the Deploy mare Zomaradah, herself a half-sister to Epsom Derby winner High-Rise, got Dubai Millennium's ball rolling when he won at first asking in a six-furlong Goodwood maiden on June 6. His second runner, Belenus, took a seven-furlong maiden at Newmarket on Tuesday. Two days later, Dubawi returned with a victory in the seven-furlong Group 3 Superlative Stakes.

So Dubai Millennium is beginning at stud in precisely the same way he ended his racing career. That is to say, perfectly.