01/12/2004 12:00AM

Two sell for $800,000


LEXINGTON, Ky. - The January horses of all ages sale at Keeneland began Monday. So, too, did the revitalization of Golden Eagle Farm.

As of 6:15 p.m., Betty Mabee, who founded Golden Eagle with her late husband, John, had purchased five of the 10 most expensive horses sold, including the session co-leader, Argentine champion La Galerie. Mabee, with Rick Trontz of Hopewell Farm acting as her agent, purchased the 7-year-old daughter of Southern Halo out of the Logical mare Aquarelle for $800,000.

A striking pedigree and her success in group and graded races in Argentina and America made La Galerie an appealing acquisition. "It's all blue sky," Trontz said.

The Mabees, three-time Eclipse Award-winning breeders, developed Golden Eagle Farm into a powerhouse breeding and racing empire in California, but when John Mabee's health began to fade, so did the fortunes of Golden Eagle Farm. Rather than scale back following the death of John Mabee in the spring of 2002, Betty Mabee and her son Larry focused on returning Golden Eagle to glory.

Her broodmare purchases on Monday were part of that direction. Besides La Galerie, she acquired four other mares who cost at least a quarter of a million dollars - Crafty Queen ($250,000), Kerry Gold ($250,000), Cee's Elegance ($310,000), and Heaven to Earth ($350,000).

"We wanted to add plenty of diversity," said Trontz. "We didn't want to focus on any one type."

The sale of La Galerie proved rewarding for her owners, Gary Biszantz and Robert Clay of Three Chimneys Farm. They purchased her as a yearling for a $140,000, Clay said, developed her into 2-year-old filly champion in Argentina, and saw her win nearly $190,000 in America. Three Chimneys consigned La Galerie, who sold in foal to War Chant.

The other $800,000 lot was Spring Meadow, a 5-year-old mare purchased by Live Oak Stud. A graded-stakes-winning daughter of Meadowlake, consigned by Darby Dan Farm, she sold as a racing or broodmare prospect.

Forever Partners, a Grade 1-placed 4-year-old daughter of Not for Love out of the Saratoga Six mare My New Pal, sold for for $410,000 as a broodmare prospect.

Racing for trainer Tony Dutrow and owners Skeedattle Associates, Forever Partners won 2 of 3 races at age 2, including the Colleen Stakes at Monmouth in 2002. She finished her career by racing twice as a 3-year-old last year, winning an optional claiming race and placing third in the Grade 3 Miss Preakness in her final start.

Forever Partners was consigned by Taylor Made Sales Agency, who had sold six of the 10 most expensive lots as of 6:15 Monday.

"It's been a good sale," said Frank Taylor, whose family owns and operates Taylor Made Farm. "It seems to be a strong market at the top."

Other fillies or mares to sell for at least a quarter-million dollars were: Virginie ($550,000), Star of Wicklow ($400,000), and Seven Four Seven ($335,000). The highest-selling yearling was a Maria's Mon filly out of the Alydeed mare Primaly ($160,000).

The sale continues through Friday.