11/28/2006 1:00AM

Two in tight fight for top first-year sire


LAS VEGAS – With so many superlative performances around the country last weekend, it was difficult to single out just one. But here are some observations.

Street Cry, the sire of Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner and probable juvenile champion colt Street Sense, got another stakes winner in his first crop when Street Sounds won the Selima Stakes on Saturday at Laurel.

Street Sounds, whose third dam is the grass star Sabin, is trained by Michael Matz, who is having a career year. In addition to Street Sounds, Matz also trained Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro, Breeders’ Cup Distaff winner Round Pond, and Chilukki Stakes winner Sangrita – a half-sister to Offlee Wild.

With the victory by Street Sounds, Street Cry edged slightly ahead of Johannesburg in the race for leading freshman sire by earnings. Street Cry is also the sire of maiden winner Chelsey Cry, a filly who won a 1 1/16-mile race at Woodbine on Sunday. Johannesburg had been slugging it out all year with Officer, but the race is now strictly between Street Cry and Johannesburg, who are separated by just $20,000 or so.

Johannesburg’s stakes-placed son Teuflesberg won a pricey allowance at Churchill to keep the race close. Officer and Orientate are locked in a tight battle for third place, but they are about $580,000 behind Johannesburg.

What is surprising about both Street Cry and Johannesburg is that their offspring were able to come to hand quickly at 2, because they should get better with age, distance, and most definitely when racing on grass.

Scat Daddy, the Champagne Stakes winner, was the biggest earner for Johannesburg, but the bulk of his runners should really take off big-time on turf as 3-year-olds.

Stakes winner Marcavelly, who is by Johannesburg and out of a full sister to the dam of Artie Schiller, is a case in point. Marcavelly finished second in the Summer Stakes on grass behind the undefeated Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies winner Dreaming of Anna, who is a superior animal on turf.

Street Cry and Johannesburg have many more runners from their first crops who have yet to start and who should blossom into quality grass runners next year at 3. Street Cry’s runners will have a better chance than Johannesburg’s of winning at 1 1/4 miles and beyond on dirt.

Three other fine freshmen

Other 2006 freshman sires shined last weekend, most notably Orientate, Mizzen Mast, and Pure Prize.

Orientate is the sire of Lady Joanne, winner of the Golden Rod Stakes at Churchill over 6-5 favorite Change Up.

Orientate is also the sire of Successful Outlook, the winner of the Tempted Stakes who finished third as the favorite in the Demoiselle Stakes at 1 1/8 miles. Runners by champion sprinter Orientate will be much more effective up to one mile.

Western Prize won the Eddy County Stakes at Zia Park on Friday as the 4-5 favorite, and is one of many runners by Pure Prize to show promise this year. His leading earner is stakes winner Birdbird-istheword, fourth in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Futurity at Keeneland last out and one of the favorites for this weekend’s $1 million Delta Jackpot.

Tropical Light won the Group 3 Hyogo Junior Grand Prix over seven furlongs in Japan. He is from the initial crop by Strub and Malibu stakes winner Mizzen Mast.

Boca Grande, Pine Island connection

The Phipps family is still mourning the tragic loss of Pine Island, who broke down in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff, but they had to be buoyed by Boca Grande’s victory in the Demoiselle Stakes. Boca Grande, who is related to Pine Island (their dams are full sisters), is the latest stakes winner who descends from the amazing female family of the unraced Our Country Place (by Pleasant Colony), a savvy private yearling purchase in August 1993 by the late family patriarch, Ogden Phipps.

Boca Grande is by A.P. Indy out of the multiple-stakes-winning miler Country Hideaway, a full sister to Matlacha Pass (the dam of Pine Island) and Pleasant Home, who have become prized broodmares for the Phipps Stable. Matlacha Pass won 2 of 3 starts before an injury resulted in her early retirement, while Pleasant Home, the youngest of the full siblings, won the Bed o’ Roses Handicap and 2005 Breeders’ Cup Distaff.

Country Hideaway, Matlacha Pass, and Pleasant Home are by Seeking the Gold out of Our Country Place, a half-sister to champion Sky Beauty. Our Country Place is out of multiple stakes winner Maplejinsky, a half-sister to European champion Dayjur. Our Country Place’s second dam, Gold Beauty, was the 1982 champion sprinter.

Third in her debut at 6 1/2 furlongs at Saratoga, Boca Grande won her second start, which came at one mile at Belmont, and was making only her third start in the Demoiselle.

Successful Outlook, off a smart win in the Tempted Stakes, was favored to win the Demoiselle, but her pedigree (sired by Orientate) suggested she would be compromised at 1 1/8 miles while Boca Grande would relish the distance.

And there is much more to come.

Country Hideaway has a yearling colt by Dynaformer named Vacation, a weanling colt by El Prado, and is in foal to Awesome Again. Matlacha Pass has an unraced 2-year-old filly by Rahy named Voyage, a yearling colt by Giant’s Causeway named Offshore, and is in foal to Forest Wildcat. Pleasant Home is carrying her first foal, by Forest Wildcat.