04/27/2004 11:00PM

Two Oaks sires who have proved it


LEXINGTON, Ky. - One of the tenets of successful handicapping and betting is: "Don't expect a horse to do something until he's done it." That could also be applied to breeding racehorses.

Only in this case, the adage might be: "Don't expect a stallion's offspring to win at a level or distance at which the stallion or his offspring have not already succeeded."

Looking at the fillies classic the Kentucky Oaks, there are only two sires with contenders in the race who already have gotten classic winners.

Those top-class sources of elite stakes winners are Unbridled, the sire of possible favorite Halfbridled, and Quiet American, whose daughter Class Above is certain to be sent off at much more liberal odds.

Unbridled not only has sired a winner of the Kentucky Derby (Grindstone), but the big bay also won the race himself, as well as succeeding in the Breeders' Cup Classic at the same distance.

Quiet American won his only Grade 1 race at a mile, but the hardy bay also ran second in the Woodward and the Strub at nine and 10 furlongs.

So both of these stallions are well-proven middle-distance horses who can sire offspring with similar aptitudes. In this instance, of course, the focus is the Kentucky Oaks, run at 1 1/8 miles, a furlong shorter than the Derby, but the principle is the same.

And Unbridled earned his celebrity as the leading source of American classic talent with classic winners Grindstone and Red Bullet, as well as classic contenders Wheelaway and Unshaded.

Unbridled died in 2001, but not before siring several top-class fillies.

His champion daughter Banshee Breeze ran a close second in the Kentucky Oaks in 1998, and she won the Coaching Club American Oaks later that year. Manistique was an exciting filly who excelled at two turns, and the stallion's stakes-winning daughter Tap Your Heels is the dam of a leading Kentucky Derby colt in Tapit.

Quiet American is still alive and standing at Gainsborough Farm outside Versailles, Ky. His most prominent offspring is Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Real Quiet. Winner also of the Hollywood Gold Cup and the Pimlico Special, Real Quiet was champion at 3.

Quiet American's other champions include Hidden Lake, who won the Grade 1 Beldame, Go for Wand, and Hempstead. His daughter Cara Rafaela won the Grade 1 Hollywood Starlet at 2, then was third in the Kentucky Oaks and Mother Goose at nine furlongs as a 3-year-old.

Unbridled and Quiet American were built for speed and distance capacity, and they showed it on the racetrack. They had the scope and stride length to reach out and cover a lot of ground, as well as the strength to do it quickly.

Both Unbridled and Quiet American are sons of the Mr. Prospector stallion Fappiano. Among the sons of Mr. Prospector, Fappiano in particular bred toward classic quality and greater distance ability.

This will give his granddaughters the opportunity to have some say in the outcome of the Kentucky Oaks, but there are a couple of other sires who won or came close in the classics and may have a chance of success with their offspring.

Most notable among these are Victory Gallop, who was second to Real Quiet in the Kentucky Derby and then turned the tables on him in the Belmont, and Free House, who ran third in the Kentucky Derby to Silver Charm and Captain Bodgit.

The first foals by Victory Gallop and Free House are now 3, and each has a daughter in the Oaks.

Victory Gallop made a very positive impression last season with his first juveniles, and his daughter Victory U. S. A. defeated champion Halfbridled in the Beaumont Stakes at Keeneland earlier this month. Although Halfbridled appears to have an excuse for that loss, Victory U. S. A. was in fine form for the Beaumont, and she has the capacity to race very well at the Oaks distance.

Free House sired Oaks entrant House of Fortune. Free House answered questions about his own distance capacity as a racehorse with thirds in the Derby and Belmont, as well as a close second in the Preakness, and he appears to be siring stock with ability to race up to middle distances.

And finally among those with classic connections, Saint Ballado sired Captain Bodgit, second in Silver Charm's Derby, and Saint Ballado's daughter Ashado will try to step up a place in the Oaks.