06/12/2008 11:00PM

You need a mix of speed, stamina


Breeding a top racehorse is, according to pedigree experts, all about balance.

The favorites for this year's Queen's Plate at Woodbine on June 22 are a good illustration of breeding a sire's stamina to a mare's pure speed and producing a classic contender.

Not Bourbon's ability to win a two-turn race was under scrutiny as early as last fall when he motored through a smart juvenile campaign that included two sprinting stakes wins.

When Not Bourbon, a Charles Fipke homebred colt, racked up big Beyer Speed Figures in a second-place finish in the Achievement Stakes at six furlongs and a win in the seven-furlong Queenston, the pedigree discussions heightened.

The colt's sire is Fipke's deceased stallion Not Impossible, an unraced son of classic sire Sadler's Wells out of the Secretariat mare Ball Chairman. Not Impossible's full brother is Perfect Soul, a Grade 1-winning miler who won as far as nine furlongs.

It is Not Bourbon's dam, Bourbon Belle, that hinted to the colt's Hall of Fame trainer, Roger Attfield, and jockey, Jono Jones, that the Plate journey for the colt would end in the nine-furlong Plate Trial on June 1.

A daughter of the Storm Cat stallion Storm Boot, who is a stakes-placed sprinter, Bourbon Belle earned more than $1.1 million in a 40-race career that saw her win 16 races, 13 of them stakes. Blessed with blazing speed (she once raced the opening two furlongs in a sprint in 21 seconds), the longest she won at was 6 1/2 furlongs.

Bourbon Belle was acquired by Fipke in 2003 when he paid $600,000 for the mare in foal to Silver Deputy.

Her second foal is Not Bourbon.

"Mr. Fipke selected Bourbon Belle specifically to breed to Not Impossible and then Perfect Soul to balance the stamina in the pedigree of" those two stallions, said Jack Werk, a pedigree consultant and developer of the E-nicks pedigree system.

Not Bourbon, who has been transformed from a speed-crazy juvenile into a more relaxed 3-year-old, won the Plate Trial and will be one of the Plate favorites.

Harlem Rocker, the previously undefeated Grade 3 stakes winner, bombed in the Trial at 1-5 in his first Polytrack outing, and perhaps the longer distances remain a question.

Harlem Rocker is a son of Breeders' Cup Juvenile winner Macho Uno, and Harlem Rocker's dam, Freedom Come, is a daughter of sprint star Lit de Justice out of the stakes- wining Unreal zeal mare Zee Lady, whose average win distance in her career was 5 1/2 furlongs.

Freedom Come was quick like her dam and never won past six furlongs in her nine-race career.

Harlem Rocker was bred by Adena Springs in Ontario.

The two-race maiden Solitaire may be the Plate favorite based on his fast-closing runner-up finish in the Trial.

A chestnut colt bred by Jeff Begg's Windways Farm (which also bred 2006 Plate winner Wild Desert), Solitaire is by Victory Gallop, a stamina influence who won the Belmont Stakes.

The colt's dam, Ring Star, is a stakes-wining daughter of sprinter Great Gladiator and a half-sister to O'Martin, a precocious stakes winner. Ring Star, who won up to 1 1/16 miles, had an average win distance of seven furlongs.

Werk believes that oftentimes too much emphasis is put on the mare and not enough on the stallion and his qualities.

"It shouldn't be surprising to see a colt out of a sprinting mare is able to go a distance of ground when the sire was a router or has a router's pedigree," Werk said. "I don't think this is a trend as much as it is savvy breeders using pedigree to help them breed a good horse."