04/21/2009 11:00PM

Vertigineux, Zenyatta's dam, is top broodmare

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LEXINGTON, Ky. - Vertigineux, dam of 2008 champion older female Zenyatta and Grade 1 winner Balance, has been elected Broodmare of the Year by the Kentucky Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders and Kentucky Thoroughbred Association.

Eric Kronfeld bred the Kris S. mare from For the Flag (Forli) and initially tried to sell her as a yearling. But he bought her back at the 1996 Keeneland September sale on a final hammer price of $120,000.

She was not a remarkable performer on the racetrack, winning twice from just seven lifetime starts. But Vertigineux came into her own as an outstanding broodmare. Her first foal, an Aljabr filly named Where's Bailey, took a division of the 2005 Remington Park Oaks. Her second foal, the Thunder Gulch filly Balance, won the Grade 1 Santa Anita Oaks, Santa Margarita Invitational, and Las Virgenes, as well as two other stakes.

Zenyatta, Vertigineux's third foal, was named champion older female last year. She remains undefeated in nine starts over two racing seasons and has earned $2,144,580. She capped her championship season last year with a 1 1/2-length victory in the Breeders' Cup Ladies' Classic and is back in training. The daughter of Street Cry is 5 this year.

Zenyatta also was voted Kentucky-bred champion handicap mare by the two organizations.

Vertigineux's filly by Bernardini was foaled on Jan. 27, and the mare has been bred back to Henrythenavigator, according to Don Robinson of Winter Quarter Farm near Lexington. Feldman boards Vertigineux at Winter Quarter.

The KTOB and KTA hosted a luncheon at Keeneland on Wednesday to honor Vertigineux and the 2008 champion Kentucky-breds. They were Midshipman, juvenile male; Stardom Bound, juvenile filly; Big Brown, 3-year-old male; Proud Spell, 3-year-old filly; Curlin, handicap horse and Kentucky-bred horse of the year; Dancing Forever, turf male; Forever Together, turf female; Midnight Lute, sprinter; Sovereign Duty, steeplechaser; and Henrythenavigator, overseas runner.

Other award-winners included Distorted Humor, sire of the year; Timbucto, earner of the year; Richard, Bertram, and Elaine Klein, owners of the year; Rusty Arnold, trainer of the year; and Overbrook Farm, breeder of the year.

The luncheon also honored Stonerside Stable, recipient of the P.A.B. Widener Trophy for outstanding breeding.

Keeneland's former chairman and current trustee emeritus Ted Bassett received the William T. Young Humanitarian Award, and filmmakers Brad and John Hennegan received the Charles W. Englehard Award for outstanding media coverage for their film "The First Saturday in May."

Stormy Atlantic filly brings $170K

The Ocala Breeders' Sales Company's spring 2-year-old auction entered its third of four sessions Wednesday with a session-leading price of $170,000 as of 5 p.m. Eastern. That was what Roger Dreyer paid for Hip No. 859, a bay Stormy Atlantic filly out of the Mr. Greeley mare Virginia Miss.

Wednesday's session followed a day of losses across the board Tuesday at the Ocala, Fla., auction.

Sheikh Mohammed al-Maktoum's representative, John Ferguson, bought a $180,000 Snow Ridge filly that topped the session. Leprechaun Racing, agent, consigned the chestnut daughter of Placerita, by Gilded Time.

The session ended Tuesday with declines in gross, average, and median, reversing gains seen in gross and average at Monday's opener. The Tuesday session sold 212 juveniles for $5,036,300, down 19 percent from last year's total for 202 horses. Average fell 23 percent to $23,756, and the $15,000 median was 29 percent lower. The buyback percentage was 19 percent, down from 25 percent in 2008.