09/06/2002 12:00AM

Time running out on some top sires


The Keeneland September sale's gargantuan catalog always offers an interesting array of stallions. This year's catalog of 4,367 lots is no different. The 2002 September sire ranks include first-time sires as well as established sires, including some who are no longer living.

The recent deaths of auction and racetrack stalwarts Mr. Prospector, Unbridled, and - most recently this spring - Seattle Slew have robbed the breeding and racing worlds of some of their most prominent sires. Mr. Prospector's last yearlings went through the ring last year, and this year is the beginning of the end for Unbridled and Seattle Slew yearlings at public sale.

Unbridled and Seattle Slew covered their final mares in 2001, meaning that this year represents their second-to-last yearling crop. Buyers looking to retain some of their magic might get the chance at Keeneland September.

If you're looking for a Seattle Slew yearling, you will get only one chance at this sale. Brookdale Farm having scratched its colt out of Mary Linoa, the sole Slew at the auction is Hip No. 1467, a daughter of Canadian stakes-winner Solarity offered by Hill 'n' Dale, agent.

Equally rare are progeny of Sunday Silence, North America's 1989 Horse of the Year and Japan's dominant sire until his death last month. There is one Sunday Silence in the auction, a Japanese-bred son of Grade 1 winner Roamin Rachel. The colt, selling as Hip No. 39 from the Taylor Made agency, is a half-brother to Grade 1-placed stakes-winner Darling My Darling.

Unbridled progeny are more plentiful, with 17 on offer. The nine selling in the select sessions include Hip No. 75, a filly out of champion Pleasant Stage's full sister Solar Colony; Hip No. 104, a full brother to Breeders' Cup Juvenile winner Unbridled's Song; Hip No. 295, a filly out of $455,429-earner Miss L Attack; Hip No. 499, a filly from the family of graded stakes-winner and sire Mr. Greeley; and Hip No. 544, a half-brother to Grade 2 winner Composer.

The auction world's leading sire, Storm Cat, is still going strong at the age of 18. He is represented this year by 16 September yearlings, among them Hip No. 108, a colt out of champion Banshee Breeze's full sister Unbridled Wind; Hip No. 241, a colt out of champion Hidden Lake; Hip No. 260, a son of millionaire J J's Dream; Hip No. 266, a full brother graded stakes-winners Caress, Country Cat, and Bernstein; Hip No. 317, a filly out of Grade 1 winner Pharma; Hip No. 340, a full brother to multiple Grade 1 winner High Yield; Hip No. 410, a half-brother to Grade 1 winners River Flyer and Victory Ride; and Hip No. 570, a half-sister to Kentucky Oaks winner Blushing K. D.

The catalog presents a large number of classic-winning connections, too, and they are likely to attract a good bit of attention from buyers scouring the sale grounds for their next great racehorse. Perhaps the most eye-popping among those pedigrees belongs to Hip No. 572, a full brother to 1995 Kentucky Derby winner and successful young sire Thunder Gulch. Hip No. 385 is a half-sister to 2001 Preakness and Belmont winner and Horse of the Year Point Given; the filly is by 1999 Derby winner Charismatic, whose first foals are yearlings this year. Silver Charm, winner of the 1997 Derby, has a half-brother who sells as Hip No. 146. And 1998 Belmont Stakes winner Victory Gallop's first crop of yearlings includes Hip No. 473, a colt out of champion Countess Diana.