02/28/2003 1:00AM

Yell, Buddy Gil validate Mellon lines


LEXINGTON, Ky. - With the victory of Yell in the Grade 2 Davona Dale Stakes at Gulfstream on Feb. 23, and with the success of Buddy Gil in Santa Anita's Grade 3 Baldwin Stakes the same day, the continuing influence of Paul Mellon's bloodstock was visible for all to see. In addition to this pair of winners, Hero's Tribute, a son of Mellon's Kentucky Derby winner Sea Hero, ran a good second in the Grade 1 Donn Handicap a day earlier.

In his autobiography, "Reflections in a Silver Spoon," Paul Mellon gave us some insight into his great fascinations with sport and art. Mellon was a man of immense wealth who spent his life learning to enjoy it, and he enriched the nation with numerous contributions of paintings, books, sculptures, and other items to museums and galleries.

In his other great interest, horse racing, Mellon left a legacy by developing or continuing some of the best families of American racing. At the time of the dispersal of Mellon's breeding stock in 1992, the best of his families was the branch of La Troienne coming through Searching, her daughter Admiring, and her daughter Glowing Tribute.

Claiborne Farm and Adele Dilschneider bred Yell (by A.P. Indy) from Glowing Tribute's daughter Wild Applause. Seth Hancock, president of Claiborne, purchased the mare at Mellon's Rokeby Stable dispersal for $1.025 million.

"John Nerud once said that if anyone had a dispersal, you ought to try to buy a mare out of one of his best families," Hancock said. "We did, and we got lucky."

Yes, they did. And Mellon actually had done much the same thing. In partnership with Charles Engelhard, Mellon purchased Admiring for $310,000 from a reduction of the Beiber-Jacobs stable in 1966. After Engelhard's death, Mellon had purchased his interest in Admiring, then bred and raced her best daughter, Glowing Tribute. Her first two foals, Hero's Honor and Wild Applause, were stakes winners.

When Claiborne and Dilschneider bought Wild Applause, a daughter of Northern Dancer, she was in foal to Forty Niner, and the foal she produced in 1993 was named Roar. A good racehorse who won the Jim Beam Stakes in 1996, Roar earned nearly a half-million dollars, and the partners sold him as a racing and stallion prospect.

Before Roar, Wild Applause had produced two stakes winners. The first was Eastern Echo, a son of Damascus who won the Grade 1 Futurity Stakes at Belmont and was unbeaten in three starts. The second was Toboggan Handicap winner Blare of Trumpets, a colt with greater soundness than Eastern Echo but less ability. Eastern Echo, who stands at Shamrock Farm in Maryland, is the sire of Buddy Gil and 19 other stakes winners.

Mellon bred and raced the first two stakes winners out of Wild Applause, and the ability shown by Eastern Echo, a son of Claiborne stallion Damascus, helped to focus buyers' interest on his dam.

Added to her early production success, Wild Applause could hardly have had a better pedigree or race record. By a great sire and broodmare sire, Northern Dancer, Wild Applause has the depth of family that always attracts long-term breeders. In the case of Wild Applause, the gene pool is nearly bottomless.

She is out of the Graustark mare Glowing Tribute, who produced seven stakes winners, including Kentucky Derby winner Sea Hero, Grade 1 winner Hero's Honor, and four other graded stakes winners. Wild Applause was one of these. Her best victory came in the Grade 2 Diana Handicap, and she was second in the Test and third in the Mother Goose.

Hancock said, "I've always been a big admirer of fillies who won or ran well in the Test."

The Test tends to sift out the fastest and highest-class fillies each summer, competing for the highest recognition at Saratoga.

Naturally, breeders seek out some of the fastest fillies when they are looking for broodmare prospects. And the fillies in Yell's family have been fast.

Glowing Tribute's dam, the Hail to Reason mare Admiring, won the Arlington-Washington Lassie and ran second in the Matron at 2. Bred by Hirsch Jacobs and Isidor Bieber, Admiring was fast and high class. So was her sister Priceless Gem, who was a top-tier juvenile filly and produced French champion Allez France. Their half-sister Affectionately was probably the fastest and certainly the soundest of the group. Affectionately raced four years and won 28 of 52 starts, earning $546,659. She won nearly every important sprint stakes for a filly on the East Coast, and even beat colts in the Vosburgh and Toboggan. Affectionately's best offspring was champion Personality, who won the Preakness in 1970.

This family is continuing its success at Claiborne. Wild Applause, now 22, "is in foal to Pulpit," Hancock said, "but we've not booked back. We're not going to get ahead of ourselves. We're going to let her foal and see how that turns out. She looks good, looks like she could have a couple more foals, but we'll let her tell us what's best."

In addition to Yell, Claiborne has three more daughters of Wild Applause. Two of them - Viva (by Pulpit) and Hit (by Seeking the Gold) - are going to Out of Place, and the third, Praise, is going to A.P. Indy.

"Praise could run, and she has a couple of very good prospects, Flatter and Congrats," Hancock said.

Both are by A.P. Indy, and the mare is in foal to Horse Chestnut.