04/16/2004 12:00AM

Waller a successful pioneer with Tanrackin homebreds

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Wilhelmine Waller, among the first breeders to support New York's breeding and racing program when it was launched in the early 1970's, died April 7 at the age of 90.

Waller, whose late husband was trainer Thomas Waller, owned Tanrackin Farm in Bedford Hills, N.Y. She bred more than a dozen New York-bred stakes winners, and many of those winners carried Waller's Tanrackin Farm silks.

Waller's grandparents owned Tanrackin in the 19th century, and their interest in Thoroughbreds was passed on to their granddaughter. Waller bred her first stakes winner, steeplechaser Gramatam, in the early 1960's, and he became one of the most successful jumpers on the New York Racing Association circuit.

Waller's first homebred stakes winner on the flat was Without Warning, the winner of the 1965 New York Breeders' Futurity at Finger Lakes. Without Warning went on to win four stakes for Waller, and his half-brother Top of the Ladder, also bred by Waller, captured the 1973 Breeders' Futurity for Tanrackin Farm.

In 1969, Waller's homebred Wings of Morning - sired by her homebred Billings stallion Mustato and out of Gramatam's half-sister Wings of Egypt - set a Finger Lakes track record in the Rochester Handicap under top weight of 127 pounds. Two years later, Wings of Morning's full brother Swift Wings won the New York Breeders' Derby for Waller.

In the early 1970's, with the inception of the New York Breeding and Racing Program, Waller and her husband began campaigning their New York homebreds under the name of Tanrackin Farm. The Wallers' homebred stakes winners included Catch the Moon ($241,142 in earnings), Her Favorite ($238,415), Mighty Wonder ($201,168), Restless Feet ($172,802), and Wandering Cloud ($141,308).

Tanrackin Farm, in addition to standing stallions Poison Ivory and Thin Slice and lodging broodmares, was the retirement home for the first New York-bred millionaire, multiple Grade 1 winner Win ($1,407,210). Win lived at Tanrackin following his retirement as a 9-year-old in 1989 until his death in March 2002.

Waller, the president of the now-defunct Eastern New York Thoroughbred Breeders Association in 1966, also served as president of the Bedford Garden Club and the Garden Club of America and was a member of St. Matthew's Church in Bedford Hills. A memorial service was held at St. Matthew's on Thursday. In lieu of flowers, contributions can be sent to the Bedford Hills Historical Society, Bedford Hills, N.Y. 10506, or to the Garden Club of America.

Distorted Humor colt tops New Yorkers at sale

Five New York-bred 2-year-olds sold for a total of $845,000 at last Tuesday's Keeneland sale.

The New York-bred sales topper - Hip No. 76 - sold for $350,000 to B. Wayne Hughes, the owner of last year's champion 2-year-old male, Action This Day. The Distorted Humor colt, named Kate's Humor, is a May foal and out of the Apalachee mare Dave's Kate. The colt, who was consigned by William B. Harrigan, agent, is a half-brother to Elvi Gamble, a multiple stakes winner and a track record holder at Gulfstream Park.

Bred by Iiannis Dinos, the colt was foaled at Lewis Lakin and Becky Thomas's Lakland North. He sold for $170,000 - the highest price for a colt - at Fasig Tipton's preferred sale at Saratoga last August.

A half-brother to Kentucky Derby contender Read the Footnotes - Hip No. 45 - did not sell when he failed to meet his reserve and was an RNA at $375,000. The Stravinsky colt, a May foal, was previously withdrawn from Fasig-Tipton's Calder sale in February.

Catienus has first-out winner

Freshman sire Catienus, who arrived in New York last fall to stand the 2004 breeding season at Highcliff Farm in Delanson, was represented by his first winner from his first starter when Lisa's Cat won a maiden race at Keeneland on April 8.

Catienus, a stakes-winning son of Storm Cat, stands at Carl Lizza Jr. and Joseph Bartone's Highcliff Farm for $3,500 to approved mares only. Ken and Sarah Ramsey, the owners and breeders of Lisa's Cat, own Catienus.

Lisa's Cat is the first offspring produced from Hillary Step, who is by Chimes Band and is among five runners, all winners, produced from a New York-bred stakes winner, Cadillac Women ($319,270), who finished third in the 1991 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies.