Claiborne Buys Breeding Interest in Grade II Winner Strong Hope

Claiborne Farm has acquired a breeding interest in Eugene and Laura Melnyk's grade II winner Strong Hope and announced that the 4-year-old son of Grand Slam will enter stud at the Paris, Ky., nursery in 2005.

"We are thrilled to have Strong Hope coming to Claiborne Farm," said farm president Seth Hancock about the two-time grade II winner. "He is an outstanding individual, an extremely talented racehorse, and he's from a female family that includes important sires El Gran Senor and Try My Best."

A $1.7 million Saratoga yearling, Strong Hope won five consecutive races last year, including the Jim Dandy Stakes (gr. II) over Empire Maker at Saratoga and the Dwyer Stakes (gr. II) at Belmont Park. He ran third in the Travers Stakes (gr. I) at Saratoga.

Making his 4-year-old debut at Gulfstream Park, Strong Hope recorded a 114 Beyer Speed Figure with a 1:08.77 victory at six furlongs. He has raced twice more, placing in the Carter (gr. I) and Metropolitan (gr. I) Handicaps in New York. Unplaced once in his 10 starts, he boasts six wins and earnings of $754,960.

Strong Hope, a half-brother to Irish group winner Bahamian Pirate, is out of the Deputy Minister mare Shining Through, whose dam, Solar, was Ireland's second-topweighted filly as a 2-year-old. Bred by Trackside Farm, G.A. Seelbinder, and Liberation Farm, Strong Hope will continue to race for the Melnyks. His fee will be announced later.