David Schmitz

Elusive Quality Tops Australian Shuttle Group

Elusive Quality, who topped last year's shuttle group from North America to Australia, boasts this year's highest fee among the 15 stallions making the trip. His southbound fee of $100,000 is the equivalent of about $75,000 in U.S. funds. Elusive Quality's Southern Hemisphere fee in 2005 also was $100,000.

Hall of Fame Profile: Cougar Joins Charlie in Hall

Cougar II, who is the first Chilean-bred to be inducted into the racing Hall of Fame, won or placed in 34 of 38 U.S. starts, but his popularity wasn't simply due to his fans leaving the betting windows happy. It was more of a case of cheering for a horse that tried hard time and time again.

A.P. Indy: Long on Talent

A.P. Indy, for years one of North America's leading sires, has filled a major void in his impressive resumé. He now has a U.S. classic winner to go along with earlier accomplishments of leading the general sires list and siring a Horse of the Year.

Eclipse Award: Stevie Wonderboy, 2-Year-Old Male

Merv Griffin owns what one might call a "wonderboy." And we're not talking about the baseball bat that the Robert Redford character Roy Hobbs swung to perfection in the movie, The Natural. The performance that Griffin's Stevie Wonderboy gave in the 2005 Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) at Belmont Park was as good as they come and proved just as exciting as the tape-measure home runs that Hobbs hit off "Wonderboy." Unlike those dingers, however, Stevie Wonderboy's performance was all too real.

Women of the Year: Beldame (1904)

Beldame's three-year-old season was marked by a number of wire-to-wire scores, and it didn't matter if the races were short or long, on fast or off tracks, or against males or females. She started the season in the Carter Handicap in April 1904 at Aqueduct and led all the way to beat sixteen rivals, most of them older males, under a feathery 103 pounds.

Hawthorne Gold Cup Boasts Two Past Winners

Hawthorne isn't wasting any time presenting its premier event. Just two days into the meeting, the Chicago track will host the $750,000 Hawthorne Gold Cup Handicap (gr. II), and those ready to battle it out in Saturday's 1 1/4-mile race include the past two winners.

Dr. Ben F. Roach of Parrish Hill Farm Dies

Dr. Ben F. Roach, whose many stakes winners as a breeder include Horse of the Year Charismatic and inaugural Breeders' Cup Distaff (gr. I) winner Princess Rooney, died the morning of Sept. 16 at age 86 at the Markey Cancer Center in Lexington, Ky.

2004 Eclipse Owner: Ken & Sarah Ramsey

The year 2004 turned out to be the type of year for Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey that the couple could only dream about a few years back. In their first appearance as Eclipse Award finalists, they won the outstanding owner trophy, and one of their horses, Kitten's Joy, won an Eclipse Award for best turf male.

2004 Eclipse Trainer: Todd Pletcher

Todd Pletcher, who was third in Eclipse Award balloting in 2003 after finishing the year in the No. 2 spot by earnings, ended the 2004 season atop the earnings list. That was good enough for him to cop an Eclipse Award for outstanding trainer.

Leading North American Sire in 2004: Elusive Quality

Elusive Quality has become a poster boy for what a stallion with a modest fee can accomplish. The 2004 leading sire by progeny earnings had his stud fee go from $10,000 to $30,000, to $50,000, and now to its present $100,000. It's a success story reflecting quality through and through.

New Sires of 2005: Popularity Contest

Racing in general seems to slow down over the winter. Oh sure, there are newly-turned 3-year-olds to watch at Gulfstream Park, Santa Anita, and other major tracks and the announcements of the Eclipse Award winners and Experimental Free Handicap. But overall, there is a letdown in excitement.

Vinery's Florida Operation Underway

Dr. Tom Simon, who is in the process of curtailing his Vinery Australia operation, is going full steam with his newly formed Florida venture. Simon is building a stallion station, two 40-stall barns, and two training tracks on 220 acres of land near Ocala.

Champion Sky Beauty Dead

Champion Sky Beauty, one of the top racemares of the 1990s, died in Kentucky from foundering. She had delivered a Storm Cat colt May 28 for Eagle Holdings, a subsidiary of Irish-based Coolmore Stud.

Successful Appeal Off to Quick Start; May Relocate to Kentucky

Successful Appeal, who proved successful as a racehorse, is also living up to his name as a stallion. He not only heads the freshman sire list by progeny earnings, but the overall 2-year-old list, and is the only stallion with three juvenile stakes winners. His success has proved so appealing and substantial that he might make the move from Hartley/De Renzo, Walmac South near Ocala, Fla., to John T.L. Jones Jr.'s Walmac International near Lexington for the 2005 breeding season.

In Quest of a Crown: What Works Best?

As trainer John Servis points Smarty Jones toward his Visa Triple Crown quest in the Belmont Stakes (gr. I), here's a glance back on the workout schedules for the Derby/Preakness winners, starting with the most recent ones, since 1969. That year seemed a good time to start because it marked the first year that a Derby/Preakness winner went into the Belmont unbeaten.

Express Tour Enters Stud in Florida

Millionaire and grade II winner Express Tour, who won all three of the stakes in the Florida Stallion Series for 2-year-old males in 2000, has arrived for stallion duty at Roy Lerman's Lambholm South near Reddick, Fla.

New Sires for 2004: Six-Figure Returns

Can it really be just a year ago that the top price for an incoming stallion was only $40,000? That the second-highest price was $30,000? Well, now the top price for a newcomer is back up to six figures, $100,000 to be exact, and the next highest is $50,000.

Spectacular Bid: How Good a Stallion?

Although deceased Spectacular Bid closed out his career away from all the glamour he experienced early on in Central Kentucky, the four-time champion might have accomplished enough in some categories to be given a passing grade as a stallion.

Belmont Winner's Pedigree: Breeding Empire

Empire Maker, the colt that was supposed to win the 1 1/4-mile Kentucky Derby (gr. I) because of his pedigree, instead won the 1 1/2-mile Belmont Stakes (gr. I) because of his pedigree. That's a lot of pedigree for one horse, even for one from the vast international breeding empire of Khalid Abdullah's Juddmonte Farms.

No Surprises at Top of Experimental Free Handicap

The suspense leading up to the end of January wasn't whether the colt Vindication and the filly Storm Flag Flying would be voted champion 2-year-olds. They were. The suspense was whether the two unbeaten juveniles would be weighted above the standard weight--126 pounds for males and 123 for fillies--on the 2002 Experimental Free Handicap. They weren't.

Forty Niner Leaving Mark on Sire Ranks

Forty Niner left behind more than just memories of his dominating racing days before heading to Japan to continue his stallion career. The champion son of Mr. Prospector left behind a slew of sons who are making a mark on North America's sire lists. Four of the top 20 first-crop stallions by progeny earnings in 2002, including the runner-up, Distorted Humor, are sons of Forty Niner.

Noor's Four Over Citation

Noor beat Calumet Farm's mighty Citation four consecutive times. That alone should be enough to earn a horse entry in the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame.

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