09/04/2002 11:00PM

Xtra Heat soon may be on the block

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LEXINGTON, Ky. - Xtra Heat, North America's champion 3-year-old filly last year, appears to be headed for Fasig-Tipton Kentucky's November selected mixed sale, at least for now. Trainer John Salzman said Thursday that he and partners Kenny Taylor and Harry Deitchman have nominated Xtra Heat to the Nov. 3 auction as "an insurance policy."

Xtra Heat, a 4-year-old Dixieland Heat filly, is expected to run in the Grade 3 Endine Stakes at Delaware Park on Saturday. Purchased as a 2-year-old for $5,000, Xtra Heat has earned more than $1.9 million to date.

"She's sound and racing fit, and she's training beautifully," said Salzman, "but we're not in the breeding business. That sale is one of the premier breeding stock sales, and we put her in there as a little protection. If something were to happen and we'd have to retire her, we wouldn't want to sit on her for a whole year before putting her in a sale, when everybody might forget about her.

"She's doing great. But everybody knows this game. You never know what day's going to be the last day."

Xtra Heat is out of the stakes-placed mare Begin, by Hatchet Man. She is by far the best foal to date for her dam, who also has produced a pair of stakes-placed runners in Grade 2-placed Bless Our Home and Fit and Ready.

Salzman acknowledged that there's a chance he and his partners wouldn't send Xtra Heat to auction but said they will probably take a chance on selling her.

"There's a good chance we'll put her in the ring, but it's going to take a pretty good piece of money to buy her," Salzman said. "If she's sound and racing fit then, as she is now, there's no reason she couldn't earn $500,000 more at the races next year. But if she brought $2 million or $3 million at a sale, we'd sell her. We couldn't afford to keep a broodmare worth that much money. But I hope I'd be able to train her for the new owner and have the best of both worlds."

Median slippage

The Washington Thoroughbred Breeders Association annual yearling sale on Sept. 3 at Emerald Downs ended with gains in gross and average, but median slipped significantly.

The $120,000 sale-topper was a Siphon (Brz) colt that Tim McMurry, agent, bought for Sunland Park owner Stanley Fulton. Northwest Farms in Yakima consigned the sale-topper. The colt is out of the stakes-placed Bold Ruckus mare Renee's Reflection, making him a half-brother to Washington's multiple stakes winner Al Renee.

The auction sold 144 yearlings for total receipts of $2,472,800, up eight percent from last year's auction, when 136 lots sold. Average price rose by two percent to $17,172, but median fell 16 percent to $11,500. Buybacks improved slightly, dropping from 32 percent of horses offered last year to 29 percent in 2002.

Ailing Marju withdrawn from stud

The Australian Thoroughbred news service Racenet reported Thursday that Group 1 winner and dual-hemisphere sire Marju has been withdrawn from stud duty in Australia after developing an illness in transit from Derrinstown Stud in Ireland.

A 14-year-old son of Last Tycoon, Marju had been scheduled to cover mares at Collingrove Stud in Victoria but is instead recovering at an equine clinic near Sydney. Marju, sire of French champion My Emma and English champion Miletrian among other stakes winners, stood last year's Southern Hemisphere season at Collingrove, where he covered about 85 mares.

Marju's defection from the stud ranks is the latest bad news for the Australian breeding industry. Earlier this summer, shuttle stallions arriving from the Northern Hemisphere had their quarantine extended after a non-Thoroughbred stallion showed symptoms of West Nile virus. The country currently is enduring an outbreak of abortions caused by equine herpesvirus-1, which has caused some farms to be placed under quarantine.

Etc. . . .

The Jockey Club has issued a reminder to weanling consignors planning to sell at fall auctions that they should complete each weanling's registration application and DNA samples as early as possible to avoid possible delays in registration. Consignors should send DNA samples to the laboratory printed on the DNA kit's return envelope and not to The Jockey Club; registration applications are located online at http://home.jockeyclub.com. . . . Bloodstock agent Jack Goldthorpe, who previously worked for Rick Trontz's Bluegrass Bloodstock Agency, has opened his own bloodstock and insurance company. The central Kentucky-based agency is called Waterville Insurance and Bloodstock Services.