10/04/2007 11:00PM

Another big hit for Blue Sky Princess

EmailFrank Wright faced a difficult decision with his handsome Malibu Moon yearling. Should he sell the colt or keep him to race as a homebred?

"I entered him in the sale on a Friday and took him out the following Monday," said Wright, who with his wife, Virginia, owns and operates Huntingfields farm in Hampstead, Md.

Wright eventually decided to go ahead and sell the colt, named Blue Malibu. And the result was another auction blockbuster.

Blue Malibu went through the ring as Hip No. 690 on the third day of the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic Eastern fall yearling sale, held last Monday to Wednesday at Timonium, and brought $200,000. His price was the highest of all the colts in the auction.

It was the second year in a row that the Wrights have made a major score at the Eastern fall sale with a homebred from their mare Blue Sky Princess (by Conquistador Cielo). In 2006, Crimson Hope, a Forestry filly out of Blue Sky Princess, brought $200,000 to tie for the second-highest price in the sale.

"It's a wonderful Maryland story," said Bill Reightler, who serves as an adviser to the Wrights and was agent in the sale of both yearlings. "The Wrights have persevered through tough times in the state."

Blue Sky Princess may be the only mare ever to produce the top-selling Maryland-bred at the Eastern fall sale for two years in a row.

"Year after year, she produces quality horses," said Reightler. "She's not exceptionally pretty, but she's a nice mare, and the Wrights match her to the right stallions."

Charles Bassford, who made by far the most expensive auction purchase of his life when he signed the $200,000 ticket for Blue Malibu, is well aware of the colt's background.

"I'm a big fan of Malibu Moon," said Bassford, "and the Wrights are old-time Maryland horse people, just like my wife [Elaine] and me."

The Wrights' farm manager, Chuck Harris - who gets much of the credit for preparing the colt - is a brother of the Bassfords' farm manager, Matthew Harris.

"So we had been hearing about this colt for some time," said Bassford, who plans to race Blue Malibu in Maryland.

Blue Sky Princess, a foal of 1992, has numerous other productive associations for the Wrights. They bred her from the unraced Nijinsky II mare Richly Rewarded, whom they purchased privately as a broodmare prospect.

Richly Rewarded, who comes from a strong black-type female family, produced two stakes winners, with the standout being Blue Sky Princess, who won or placed in seven stakes, was twice graded-placed, and earned $253,015.

After joining the Wrights' broodmare band, Blue Sky Princess made her mark with her first foal - stakes winner Inner Harbour (by Capote), who earned $350,936 while racing as a homebred for the Wrights.

Blue Sky Princess has a Saint Liam weanling colt whom the Wrights intend to keep and race, and is in foal for 2008 to First Samurai.

A total of 145 Maryland-breds sold at this year's Eastern fall sale, grossing $3,084,300 (average $21,271).

Five Maryland-breds sold for $100,000 or more. The top-priced Maryland-sired horse was a $105,000 Not for Love colt out of multiple stakes producer Chemise, by Secret Hello, from the consignment of David and JoAnn Hayden's Dark Hollow, agent. Kathleen Willier was the purchaser.

Not for Love, standing at Northview Stallion Station in Chesapeake City, Md., ranked as the sale's overall leading sire by gross, with 24 offspring selling for $1,158,000 (average $48,250).

Yearlings from the first crop of Northview stallion Domestic Dispute averaged $23,262, with 13 selling for a total of $302,400.

New talent for prominent breeders

The two 2-year-old stakes for Maryland-breds at Laurel Park last weekend showcased up-and-coming performers from well-established breeding operations in the state.

Robert E. Meyerhoff's filly Hartigan, who scored by a neck in the Gin Talking Stakes, is a product of two successful bloodlines developed by Meyerhoff. Her sire, Include (by Broad Brush), was a Grade 1-winning millionaire voted Maryland-bred horse of the year in 2001. Her dam, Star Number (by Polish Numbers), is out of Meyerhoff's two-time Maryland-bred divisional champion Star Minister.

Casanova Jack (by leading Maryland sire Not for Love) captured the Oliver's Twist Stakes to become a second-generation homebred for Harold Greenberg, who campaigned his dam, Sadler's Sarah (by Wayne County-Ire), to win the Pearl Necklace Stakes and place in graded company at Saratoga.