06/21/2004 11:00PM

Win-early sires quickly emerge

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LAS VEGAS - They're off and running. The 2004 group of freshman sires have not wasted any time in establishing themselves as win-early stallions. Breeders and farm owners are always eager to get their first-crop stallions off to a fast start and 2-year-olds by these freshman sires are usually well meant in the early 4 1/2- and five-furlong maiden races against juveniles by older stallions already established.

Successful Appeal narrowly leads all freshman sires by money earned, with two-time stakes winner Lunarpal his chief money winner. Following closely on his heels is Yes It's True, whose top earner, Chandtrue, followed his victory in the Willard L. Proctor Stakes with an impressive seven-length victory in the Haggin Stakes last weekend. Both Successful Appeal and Yes It's True have each sired two stakes winners already, which is notable since it is only June.

Lunarpal is undefeated in three starts and captured the Three Chimneys Juvenile Stakes on the Kentucky Derby day undercard, and added the Kentucky Breeders' Cup Stakes on June 5. So far, he has followed in the footsteps of his sire Successful Appeal, who also won the WHAS-11 Stakes (now the Three Chimneys) and Kentucky Breeders' Cup Stakes. Lunarpal's next target is the Bashford Manor Stakes on July 5.

Successful Appeal's second stakes winner is Double D Appeal, who won the Nursery Stakes at Hollywood Park on May 16.

Successful Appeal is the latest son of speed influence Valid Appeal to have success with 2-year-olds. Valid Expectations, Valid Wager, Proud Appeal, Mighty Appealing, Seacliff, World Appeal, and Kipper Kelly are sons of Valid Appeal known for siring precocious, win-early types.

In addition to the undefeated Chandtrue, Yes It's True is also the sire of the undefeated B.B. Best, who won the Wynn Dot Comma Stakes over a sloppy Calder surface on June 6. B.B. Best is out of Bold Juana (John Alden), a full sister to multiple stakes winner Little Bold John.

Fusaichi Pegasus, easily the most glamorous of all freshman sires this year, is also off to a good start. He has four winners from seven starters, including Roman Ruler, who won his maiden debut in eye-catching fashion at Hollywood Park for Bob Baffert. Roman Ruler is a half-brother to NYRA Mile winner El Corredor and many observers have tabbed him as the 2-year-old to watch at the upcoming Del Mar meet. Fusaichi Pegasus is also the sire of South Bay Cove, winner of a maiden race at Woodbine on May 22. South Bay Cove comes from the female family that produced notable stakes winners Take Charge Lady, Why Change, Director, My Gallant, and Zabyev. In Excelsis, a $950,000 Keeneland September yearling colt, was the first starter and winner in Europe for Fusaichi Pegasus when he won a maiden race at Tipperary for trainer Aidan O'Brien on April 22. In Excelsis is out of stakes winner Lakeway (Seattle Slew). His fourth winner is Wuthering Heights, a 2-year-old colt out of the Seattle Slew mare, Jeweled Crown, a half-sister to champion 2-year-old Chief's Crown. His third dam is Chris Evert, champion and New York filly Triple Crown winner.

What makes a good sire of 2-year-olds?

While it is not always the case, a good rule of thumb for betting the offspring of young freshman sires is if that sire showed speed at 2 and 3, so will his youngsters. Successful Appeal, Yes It's True, More Than Ready, Bernstein, Kelly Kip, and Yankee Victor all showed speed at 2, while Fusaichi Pegasus, Straight Man, and Western Expression all showed speed at 3. Muqtarib, a son of Gone West whose female family produced Northfields and Habitat, was a Group 2 winner in England, and has one winner from three starters.

Some freshman sires who should have more of an impact when their runners get to race on grass are still getting winners on dirt. This group includes Bernstein (Storm Cat), Elnadim (Danzig), Lion Hearted (Storm Cat), Western Expression (Gone West), Magic Cat (Storm Cat), Tiger Ridge (Storm Cat), Catienus (Storm Cat), Commendable (Gone West), Dance Master (Gone West), David (Mt. Livermore), Dixie Union (Dixieland Band), Giant's Causeway (Storm Cat), Lemon Drop Kid (Kingmambo), and Running Stag (Cozzene).

Slew Gin Fizz is a stallion to keep an eye on. He had six crops of racing age in Argentina with 11 stakes winners, and his first crop of North American-bred runners are now 2. By speed sire Relaunch (In Reality-Intentionally tail-male sire line), his female family is as classy as it gets. His dam, Slew Princess, is by Seattle Slew out of a half-sister to Mr. Prospector. Bred to mares with Mr. Prospector in their pedigree will create inbreeding to Gold Digger (the dam of Mr. Prospector), a stakes-winning filly from the 1962 crop that included champions Queen Empress, What a Treat, and Straight Deal, as well as major stakes winners and producers Marshua, Discipline, and Bold Experience.

Anees, the 1999 2-year-old champion when he captured the Breeders' Cup Juvenile, died before his first offspring got to race this year, and by the looks of his first two runners, Anees's premature death will prove to be a blow to racing. His first starter, Dance Thief, made his debut in the Willard L. Proctor Stakes at Hollywood and finished a game second to Chandtrue, and followed that with a second last weekend against Roman Ruler. His second starter, Swither, finished third in a maiden race at Belmont at 20-1. The good performances by his only two starters bodes well for Anees since his runners were expected to be better as they matured and stretched out in distance.