Champion Forty Niner, in 1989.

Champion Forty Niner, in 1989.

Anne M. Eberhardt

Forty Niner on the Market; May Return to U.S.

Duncan Taylor of Taylor Made Farm has confirmed that his family's Central Kentucky farm has expressed an interest in purchasing prominent Japanese stallion Forty Niner, but denied a report published in Japan that Taylor Made already has submitted a $10 million offer for the 17-year-old son of Mr. Prospector. Forty Niner, who began his stallion career at the Hancock family's Claiborne Farm near Paris, Ky., has sired 44 stakes winners and ranks ninth on the 2002 Japanese sire list by progeny earnings.

"We started exploring the deal about buying him about two or three weeks ago," said Taylor, who added that Bill Casner and Kenny Troutt's WinStar Farm is involved in the deal. "We're working through an agent."

Taylor Made and WinStar recently bought Our Emblem for $10.1 million from a syndicate managed by E. Allen Murray Jr. and his wife, Audrey. The Murrays had bought the son of Mr. Prospector from a Claiborne-managed syndicate last fall and moved him to their Murmur Farm near Darlington, Md. The couple sold Our Emblem after the stallion's son, War Emblem, won the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) and Preakness Stakes (gr. I). Our Emblem will stand next year at Taylor Made near Nicholasville.

Forty Niner, who was produced from the Tom Rolfe mare File, was bought for $10 million by the Japan Racing Association for stud duty at the Japan Bloodhorse Breeders' Association's Shizunai Stallion Station in the summer of 1995. He was North America's leading freshman sire in 1992.

Forty Niner is represented by a sole stakes winner this year, Japanese-bred 3-year-old Sunday Break, who won the Peter Pan Stakes (gr. II) and ran third in the Belmont Stakes (gr. I). Forty Niner was not represented by any stakes winner last year.