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Thursday, December 22, 2005

Notes - Dec 22

- Starlet winner Diplomat Lady is the 11th stakes winner, and the second Grade 1 winner in 2005 for his sire Forestry (Storm Cat), having a very good 2005 indeed. His other Grade 1 winner was Forest Danger, who took the Carter Handicap on Wood Memorial day at Aqueduct, but was retired with an injury. Father and son both stand at Taylor Made Farms in Kentucky; Forestry had his stud fee raised to $100,000 from $75,000 for 2006, and Forest Danger will debut with a tag of $20,000. Personally, I’d be pretty uncomfortable performing at stud alongside my dad, but horses don’t really seem to mind.

Fifteen percent of the foals from the first of Forestry’s three crops to race thus far have won stakes and 8% have overall, so it’s easy to see why he has joined the club of six figure stud fees. Besides, his foals to go through the sales ring in 2005 have brought back an average of over $275,000.

As a racehorse, Forestry had a good though unspectacular career, with three stakes wins, two of them graded - the G1 King’s Bishop and the G2 Dwyer – amongst his seven wins in 11 starts. He’s a half brother to Cash Run (Seeking the Gold), the 1999 Juvenile Fillies winner who in 2003 sold for $7.1 million at the Keeneland November sale. Forestry is actually from the female family of Mr. Prospector – his 4th dam, Sequence, is the second dam of Mr. P. According to the Taylor Made website, Forestry has sired 6 stakes winners and 6 additional stakes horses from mares that carry Mr. Prospector, which creates inbreeding to Sequence (Forestry’s 4th dam and the 2nd dam of Mr. Prospector).

Forestry is inbred to Bold Ruler, and at least two of his stakes winners – Diplomat Lady and Smokey Glacken - are out of mares who have that same inbreeding. He also has Secretariat and Dr. Fager in his pedigree, so here’s a stallion who presents many possibilities to those breeders who can afford his services.

One Forestry foal who is not yet a stakes winner but who caused a lot of commotion at Saratoga is Discreet Cat, the two-year old who wowed observers with his debut win in which he earned a Beyer of 106, and am I mistaken or is that still the highest fig earned by a juvenile this year? He’s been forgotten, for now, as far as the Derby picture goes because he was sold to Godolphin and shipped off to Dubai. Presumably, we’ll be seeing him in the spring, and perhaps he’ll become the most famous foal of Forestry thus far.

- Monday’s Malibu on Santa Anita’s opening day is shaping up as a good one. Besides Wilko, who figures to be horribly overbet off his sprint return, his 14th loss in 17 races, Greeley’s Galaxy is slated to make his return to the races following his connections’ most ill-advised decision to rush him into the Triple Crown series (have I made that point before?). Attila’s Storm and Fusaichi Rock Star are also scheduled to go, but Buzzard’s Bay will opt for the Sir Beaufort on the grass instead. "Our goal is the ($1 million) Sunshine Millions Classic and this should set him up real good for that," trainer Ron Ellis said. "He's doing awesome." [Brisnet]

- Maryland racing issues are apparently more contentious than even the NYC transit strike. Magna had essentially caved on its proposal to drastically scale back the number of racing days (due in no small part to the continuing delays in getting slots up in Pennsylvania), proposing a total of 180, as well as on its intention to shut the training center at Bowie. However, horsemen have rejected their desire to shut the tracks during the summer to avoid competition from nearby states. And while Maryland breeders agreed to resume contributions to track expenses, the Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen Association has not.

The breeders have not contributed to the operating costs of the tracks since an agreement to pay 6 percent expired in 2004. Since that time, the breeders have used that money to help increase race fields by adding to purse money and increasing bonuses for Maryland bred horses. Boniface said the tracks gave the breeders credit for that and did not ask for a retroactive payment.

But [Maryland Horse Breeders Association President Bill] Boniface said he has written a letter asking that their contributions to the MJC operating costs continue to be used to promote the advantage of racing Maryland Breds here. [Baltimore Sun]
- I guess that Stewart Elliot has been deemed as not a threat to our national security.

- Mountaineer Park, where the accident that brought the Jockeys’ Guild’s neglect of their catastrophic injury insurance to light occurred, and which received more than $107-million in revenue from its slot machines in fiscal year 2005, has raised its insurance limit to $1 million from $100,000. Tragically, it's too late for Gary Birzer. [Thoroughbred Times]