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Monday, February 28, 2005

Cape Town / Calder

- When Southern Africa took the Borderland Derby yesterday at Sunland Park, it was the second stakes winner in a week for Cape Town (Seeking the Gold); the first being the impressive 3 yo filly Cape Hope, who took the Gaily Gaily at Gulfstream last weekend. These were the 11th and 12th stakes winners for Cape Town (5% of foals), whose first crop are 5 year olds this year. That crop included 2003 3 yo filly champ Bird Town, who took the Kentucky Oaks and the Acorn, and who recently has dropped a foal by Empire Maker given the silly name of Bird Empire.

Cape Town, a total outcross through his first 5 generations, is out of the Seattle Slew mare Seaside Attraction, who also won the Kentucky Oaks, in 1990. She died in 1996, but not before producing, in addition to Cape Town, graded stakes winner and current sire Cape Canaveral, Red Carnival, a group winner in England, and 1995 2 yo filly champion and three time Grade 1 winner Golden Attraction (dam of promising 3 yo colt Big Top Cat). All three were by Seeking the Gold’s sire Mr. Prospector, so the entire litter was bred on very similar lines; in fact, she had a fifth winner named Mercer Mill, who is by another son of Mr. P, Forty Niner.

Cape Town stands for $20,000 at Overbrook Farm in Kentucky. He was 14th on the third-crop sire list of the end of 2004 with earnings of over $4.8 million. He won the Holy Bull and Florida Derby at Gulfstream in 1998, but ran 5th in Real Quiet’s Kentucky Derby. Six of his 12 stakes winners, including Bird Town and Southern Africa, hail from Northern Dancer line mares.

- Here’s a look at some 2 year olds with a buzz at the Calder sale tomorrow by people who know a lot more than I do (though most of these comments are by the horses' consignors, so...); looks like a couple that I mentioned previously made it on this list. Meanwhile, the buyers are in place, and everyone is optimistic.

The sale barns were busy as top buyers such as Sheikh Mohammed's bloodstock manager John Ferguson, Demi O'Byrne of the Coolmore Stud team, and Terry Yoshida of Shadai Farm in Japan got their last look at the horses before Tuesday's auction, which will begin at 11 a.m. (EST) at Calder Race Course.
In addition to veteran buyers of 2-year-olds at Calder, there might be some newer faces. Shigeyuke Okada of Big Red Farm in Japan is expected to make his first appearance at the auction. Rick Nichols, a key adviser to Shadwell Stud's Sheikh Hamdan, who traditionally has been a yearling buyer, was seen in the barn area looking at juveniles. Representatives of California wine tycoon Jess Jackson, who has become a major player at Thoroughbred auctions in the last several years, also have inspected horses. [Bloodhorse]