05/09/2002 11:00PM

Timonium expects $30k sale average

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To find a juvenile sale with a colt by the nation's leading sire, horses from major Kentucky nurseries, and a history of producing an Eclipse Award winner, you once had to travel to Kentucky or Florida. But that's no longer true.

"If you haven't looked at a Timonium 2-year-old sale in the past 10 years, you're looking at an entirely different book," said Fasig-Tipton Midlantic's executive vice-president, Mason Grasty.

Flipping through the catalog for this year's Fasig-Tipton Midlantic juvenile sale, to be held on May 20 and 21 starting at 10 a.m. at the Maryland State Fairgrounds in Timonium, uncovers page after page of impressive individuals, many by leading sires from across the country.

Grasty said he is "cautiously optimistic" that the numbers at this sale will maintain the trend of recent years, in which the average has held steady at more than $30,000. Caution is based on the fact that 2-year-old sales across the nation this year have been strong at the top but soft for middle-market individuals.

Driving the optimism is the history of the Timonium sale, and its reputation as a place to find good individuals at reasonable prices.

The most famous alumna in recent years is Eclipse Award-winning filly Xtra Heat, purchased by trainer John Salzman for Ken Taylor, Harry Deitchman, and himself for $5,000. Xtra Heat has won more than $1.6 million.

Among others to come out of the sale in the past decade are Fly for Avie, winner of the Grade 1 E.P. Taylor Stakes who was sold for $14,000; stakes winner and graded stakes-placed Mandy's Gold who was sold for $87,000; and eye-catching

3-year-old Saratoga Blues, winner of the Whirlaway Stakes in New York this past winter who was sold for $30,000.

The most exciting page in the current catalog is Hip No. 326, from the consignment of Eisaman Equine. The colt, by Storm Cat out of the graded stakes-winning mare Shannkara (Ire) and bred by H.H. Aga Khan, ran a bullet work over the Timonium surface on Thursday of 21.60 seconds, two seconds quicker than the next fastest work.

"He lives up to his sire's reputation," Grasty said.

A dark bay, this colt failed to meet his reserve twice after going through last year's Keeneland September sale and the Fasig-Tipton Florida sale in February. But, Barry Eisaman said, the son of Storm Cat, a late April foal, has "really grown in the last 60 days."

The Eisaman consignment has 12 horses, which Eisaman said "has a lot of quality for this late in the season."

Another of the consignment's individuals who will probably attract attention is Hip No. 345, a son of Gone West out of graded stakes winner Small Virtue.

"He is a big, good-looking chestnut colt who shows a lot of two-turn quality," Eisaman said.

The Kirkwood Stables consignment offers 14 horses, including five from Claiborne Farm, the first time the famed Kentucky nursery has sent horses to the Maryland sale. A colt from the first crop of Tale of the Cat out of the winning Alleged mare Adalene, a half-sister to graded stakes winner Forest Camp, is one of the Claiborne five. According to Kirkwood assistant trainer Vernon Greaves, another nice individual from Kirkwood is Hip No. 75, a daughter of Sultry Song.

The only 2-year-old of the 520 juveniles in the catalog to have started in a race is Pre-K Training Center, Inc., agent's Hip No. 226, a son of Citidancer, who won a maiden special weight at Turfway Park on April 3. He is out of the Apalachee mare My Protege.

Of the 57 Maryland-breds listed in the sale, more than a third are out of stakes-winning or stakes-producing mares, including half-brothers or sisters to Mz. Zill Bear (a $740,423-earner), Ogle, Five Star Deputy, My Problem, Julie's Brilliance, Chez Allie, Vice on Ice, Chancellor M. H., Lite Twilight, Global Gait, Top Punch, War Native, and Ski Pro.

Also offered is a Maryland-bred daughter of Two Punch out of a half-sister to Two Punch's Eclipse Award-winning son, Smoke Glacken.

The under tack shows begin at 10 a.m. on Thursday and Friday.