Sir Barton S.

( 8.5f ,)

BEST MINISTER (B h, 115 lb) $60,000
Deputy Minister —Best of Memories , by Halo
B—Phillips Racing Partnership, KY.; O—Phillips Racing Partnership; T—Kenneth G. McPeek

During (DK B/ h, 115 lb) $20,000
Cherokee Run —Blading Saddle , by Blade
B—Gulf States Racing Stables II, KY.; O—James McIngvale; T—Bob Baffert

Penobscot Bay (B h, 115 lb) $11,000
Is It True —Allison's Pride , by Dixieland Band
B—Ray Stark, KY.; O—On The Run Farm; T—Rodney Jenkins

Margins: 3, ½, 12¾. Others: Sky Soldier 115($6,000) , Prospect's Thunder 115($3,750) . Winning Jockey, Edgar S. Prado.

Best Minister proved best in the May 17 Sir Barton Stakes at Pimlico on Preakness Day with a three-length score in his first added-money start. The big question now is will he try to prove best in the June 7 Belmont Stakes (gr. I) while taking on Preakness (gr. I) winner Funny Cide?

“It’s certainly one of our options, but we’ll have to supplement (at $100,000) to the race,” said part owner John Phillips of Darby Dan Farm. “A lot can happen up to the race, and we’ll have to see who else goes.”

Best Minister was bred by Phillips and his mother, Jody, in the name Phillips Racing Partnership, and he races for the outfit in partnership with John Henderson, Dan Issel, Don Blevins, and Frances Whitman. The latter four, all with ties to Lexington, came on board after Best Minister was bought back for $140,000 at the 2002 Fasig-Tipton Florida February sale of 2-year-olds in training. Trainer Kenny McPeek, who sent out last year’s Belmont winner Sarava, put the foursome together.

Best Minister’s dam, Best of Memories, is kept at Darby Dan near Lexington. A grandson of Darby Dan founder John Galbreath, John Phillips is co-managing partner of the farm. Best of Memories was barren to the cover of Honor Grades for 2003 and is booked to farm stallion Behrens.

Both Best Minister and Funny Cide boast Darby Dan breeding on the bottom sides of their pedigrees. The second dams of Best Minister and Funny Cide are by Little Current, and the third dams of each are by Graustark. Little Current, winner of the 1974 Preakness and Belmont Stakes, and Graustark stood at Darby Dan.

Syndicated Deputy Minister, sire of the Sir Barton winner, has sired 73 stakes winners, including additional 2003 added-money winner Ministers Wild Cat. Deputy Minister stands for $100,000 at Fred Seitz’ Brookdale Farm near Versailles, Ky.—D.S.