05/26/2005 11:00PM

Two more first-crop sires get winners


Two additional Florida freshman stallions have gotten their first winners.

Victories by offspring of Exchange Rate and Put It Down bring the Florida count to five stallions with first-crop winners.

B L's Appeal, Songandaprayer, and Trippi had their first winners earlier this month.

Exchange Rate, who stands at Padua Stables, was a versatile racehorse who won graded stakes on the dirt and placed in graded stakes on the turf. An 8-year-old stallion, Exchange Rate is by Danzig with Seeking the Gold and Spectacular Bid in the female family side of his pedigree. All three of these stallions have sired quality turf runners, so it should not come as a surprise that Exchange Rate's first winner, British Bow, scored going about six furlongs on the turf in Italy. British Bow, a $15,000 Ocala Breeders' Sales January 2004 yearling purchase, was bred by David and Elizabeth Whelan out of Ribbon Candi, by Candi's Gold.

Put It Back, who stands at Bridlewood Farm, had a short but prominent racing career. A 7-year-old son of Honour and Glory-Miss Shoplifter, by Exuberant, Put It Back placed twice from two starts as a 2-year-old. At 3, he won all five of his starts, including the Grade 2 Riva Ridge Stakes at Belmont. There's no shortage of speed on both sides of his pedigree.

Put It Back's first winner, In Summation, won his debut at Calder Race Course last week, galloping off by nearly five lengths going 4 1/2 furlongs in maiden special weight company. He is one of 27 in Put It Back's first crop.

Update on Closing Argument's dam

Afleet Alex, the Florida-bred winner of the Preakness, has been getting his just accolades. Closing Argument, the Florida-bred Kentucky Derby runner-up, has for the most part dropped off the radar screen following his ninth-place finish in the Preakness.

Irv Weiner, together with his wife, France, are the breeders of Closing Argument. The Weiners bought his dam, Mrs. Greeley, in foal to Successful Appeal at the October 2001 Ocala fall mixed sales for $22,000.

"She did not have a commercial pedigree," said Irv Weiner, "but France thought she was drop-dead gorgeous and the mare reminded her of a stakes-winning and -producing mare we had named House of Cards, who happens to be in Mrs. Greeley's family."

Mrs. Greeley has been busy. She has an Exchange Rate colt going to the summer yearling sales, an Outofthebox filly at her side, and is back in foal to the 2002 champion 2-year-old Vindication.

Statebred wins at Newmarket

Art Appleton is getting long in years and stays pretty much at his farm, Bridlewood, in Ocala these days. Bridlewood's homebreds, however, get around.

David Junior is a 3-year-old colt by Pleasant Tap out of Paradise River, by Irish River. Paradise River is a full sister to the Grade 1 stakes winner Paradise Creek and a half-sister to the Grade 1 stakes winners Wild Event and Forbidden Apple.

Unplaced in the English 2000 Guineas, the Florida-bred David Junior won the Shadwell Estate Fairway Stakes at Newmarket this past week. He is a Calder Fasig-Tipton alumnus who sold in March 2004 for $175,000.

Sir Leon's son wins Calder stakes

Sir Leon is the Rodney Dangerfield of the Florida sire ranks. Owned by Lucille Geranis, Sir Leon gets scant respect among breeders and buyers, yet he has an accomplished record as a sire.

The 23-year-old Sir Leon, who stands at Farnsworth Farms, is by Private Account from the immediate family of English champions Soft Angels, Kris, and Diesis. Kris and Diesis are also successful sires. Among Sir Leon's six stakes victories were two runnings of of the Grade 2 Seminole Handicap when the race ranked among the premier events at Hialeah.

On Preakness Day, Calder's feature was the Maryland My Maryland Stakes at the infrequently run distance of 1 3/16 miles. Sir Ray, a son of Sir Leon, earned his 13th win in 37 starts. The $30,000 winner's share boosted the 5-year-old Sir Ray's earnings to $271,609. He became seventh black-type earner for Sir Leon, whose average crop for 14 seasons is fewer than eight horses. Average earnings for the get of Sir Leon is slightly less than $80,000.

"He's never been a 2-year-old sales horse," said Bill Allen of Farnsworth Farms. "His runners tend to be late bloomers, and breeders, buyers, too, don't have patience to wait. Sir Leon is more of a European-type sire than an American one."