12/09/2005 1:00AM

Vinery's open house shows off stallion trio


The Vinery in Summerfield, Fla., the Florida satellite of the Kentucky operation, is located a dozen miles south of Ocala, where there are only a relatively few farms. A 220-acre stallion and training facility, it was completed earlier this year, and you can see and sense that no expense was spared - not on the fences, barns, training track, or turf course.

Many of those in the Ocala Thoroughbred market got their first look at the Vinery this past week when an open house was held to show and promote its three stallions: Peace Rules; a newcomer from Canada, D'wildcat; and the newly retired top-class 2-year-old of 2003, Ruler's Court.

Tom Simon is the financial power behind the Vinery. He worked in the legal profession and opted to go into the Thoroughbred business when he retired, according to Ian Brennan, the Vinery's farm trainer in Florida. Simon maintains a home in Spain, and visits the operation only a couple of times a year.

The Vinery business plan, according to Brennan, is to develop racehorses and stallions. Brennan says that there are a little over 100 yearlings on the farm being schooled. Most of the yearlings belong to farm clients, and the balance to the farm. Nearly all of the Vinery's 45 or so broodmares live in Kentucky. Some are shipped to cover Florida stallions, but mostly all are returned to foal in Kentucky.

"We keep a few mares in Florida," said the Vinery's general manager, Bates Newton. "We support our stallions in Florida by buying their get either publicly at the sales or privately. Sometimes we pinhook, and other times, depending on circumstances, we restock our racing stable."

Among the thousand or so watching the Dec. 3 stallion showcase was Dr. Ron Chak, a veterinarian. Chak bred Peace Rules at his farm less than a mile south of the Vinery. Chak, a commercial breeder, hoped to sell him as a yearling at the Ocala Breeders Sales Co.'s 2001 yearling sale, but the colt failed to meet his reserve and was bought back at $11,000. Chak later sold him for $35,000 at the OBS April 2-year-old sale of 2002.

"You know," Chak said jokingly, "I don't know if I can afford his stud fee."

Peace Rules covered 170 mares in 2005 and has an advertised fee of $15,000 for 2006.

D'wildcat, by Forest Wildcat, moves to Florida from Canada, where he served full books. He is among the first of the sons of Forest Wildcat, himself foaled at Ocala Stud, to stand in Florida. The Vinery stands him for a $6,500 fee. Ruler's Court, by Doneraile Court, is a newcomer who was co-topweight at 126 pounds on the Experimental Free Handicap for the 2002 campaign. His fee has been set at $5,000.

Giancarlo Malnati dead

Belated word has come that Dr. Giancarlo Malnati, a veterinarian who built and operated Karen Farm in Ocala, has died in Italy. Malnati, who named the farm after his onetime African patron Karen von Blixen of "Out of Africa" fame, had an unusual Thoroughbred business.

Malnati employed breeding stock with Italian connections in Florida, raised the foals in Florida, and then shipped them as yearlings to Italy - where they became, for all intents and purposes, Italian-breds, and thus eligible for that country's breeder and owner premiums. When Italy completed its integration into the European Union, this opportunity ended, and Malnati, after the death of his wife, returned to his homeland.