01/06/2006 1:00AM

Turf filly J'ray running to her bloodlines


New York-bred 3-year-old J'ray strengthened her status as a leading turf filly by winning the Tropical Park Oaks at Calder Race Course on New Year's Day.

With her customary late surge, J'ray won her third straight open stakes race, adding the Tropical Park Oaks to earlier scores in the Jessamine Stakes at Keeneland and the Selima Stakes at Laurel Park.

Owned by her breeder, Lawrence Goichman, J'ray is unbeaten in four turf starts since being put on the surface by trainer Todd Pletcher after her debut last summer at Belmont Park.

J'ray is by Distant View, a son of Mr. Prospector who was champion 3-year-old in England and who is also the sire of multiple Grade 1 winner Sightseek.

Goichman acquired her dam, Bubbling Heights, privately in Europe and brought her to New York between the 2001 and 2002 breeding seasons.

J'ray is an example of Goichman's practice of breeding mares with European bloodlines to stallions with American male lines.

Bubbling Heights, by French Derby winner Darshaan, is a half-sister to Feather Bride, the dam of graded stakes winner Millennium Dragon.

J'ray's family also includes Horse of the Year Kotashaan.

She has won 4 of 5 career starts, with earnings of $217,245.

Among statebreds, 10 graded winners

New York-breds performed extremely well in open stakes competition during 2005, with 88 runners hitting the board 133 times.

Ten statebreds won graded stakes, topped by Commentator, winner of the Grade 1 Whitney Handicap at Saratoga, and Acey Deucey, winner of the Grade 1 Prioress Stakes at Belmont Park. There were seven such winners in 2004.

Commentator, bred by Michael Martinez, also finished third in the Grade 1 Woodward Stakes at Belmont Park.

Acey Deucey, bred by Glen Grey Farm, won the Grade 2 Comely Stakes at Aqueduct in addition to the Prioress, and placed in the Dearly Precious and Cicada stakes.

She is one of two New York-bred graded stakes winners of 2005 sired by former state stallion Abaginone. The other is Uncle Camie, winner of the Grade 3 Bold Ruler Handicap at Belmont Park, who was bred by Carmine Telesca.

Abaginone stood at Questroyal Stud in Hudson, N.Y., before being sent to Mexico in 2003.

Becky Thomas and Lewis Lakin bred two of the Empire State's graded stakes winners in 2005, Capeside Lady and Behaving Badly.

Capeside Lady won the Grade 2 Molly Pitcher Breeders' Cup at Monmouth Park and placed in the Grade 1 Spinster Stakes at Keeneland, while Behaving Badly captured the Grade 3 Rancho Bernardo Handicap at Del Mar.

Sensibly Chic, bred by McMahon Thoroughbreds and WinStar Farm, captured the Grade 2 Vagrancy Handicap at Belmont Park and the What a Summer Stakes at Laurel Park, as well as placing in four additional graded stakes races.

Seeking the Ante, bred by Chester and Mary Broman, won the Grade 2 Nassau County Breeders' Cup at Belmont Park and placed in the Comely and Top Flight at Aqueduct, both Grade 2 events.

She is a half-sister to 2004's Florida Derby winner, Friends Lake, also bred by the Bromans.

William Farish Jr. and Gaillardia are the breeders of The Daddy, who captured the Grade 2 Super Derby at Louisiana Downs.

Another top statebred was West Virginia, a son of state sire Tomorrows Cat, who was bred by Donald and Mary Zuckerman.

West Virginia won the Grade 3 Iselin Breeders' Cup at Monmouth and placed in the Stuyvesant and Queens County handicaps, both Grade 3 events at Aqueduct.

A New York-bred graded winner overseas was Dream Impact, bred by Sez Who Thoroughbreds.

Dream Impact won the Group 3 Gran Premio Citta di Napoli at Capannelle in Rome.

Catienus to stay in New York

Contrary to previously announced plans, the Storm Cat stallion Catienus will remain in New York at Highcliff Farm for the 2006 breeding season. His fee will remain at $6,500, live foal.

Owners Ken and Sarah Ramsey had planned to relocate Catienus to their Ramsey Farm in Kentucky.

However, Ken Ramsey noted in a release that Catienus was well received in New York, breeding 110 mares in 2005, and he complimented Catienus's management by Highcliff Farm, located in Delanson.

With 19 winners, Catienus was North America's leading freshman sire for 2004 in that category. He is the sire of Dawn of War, winner of the Grade 1 Breeders' Futurity in 2005.