08/13/2004 12:00AM

Band of two doing nicely


One man's castoff is another man's treasure. How many times has George Harmening seen it happen that way during his 16 years as a veterinarian at Maryland racetracks? Often enough, apparently, to know a treasure when he finds one.

Harmening and his wife, Kim, have only two broodmares at their 15-acre farm in Carroll County, Md. Both were rejects from the racetrack, bought for nominal prices, and both are stakes producers. One is the dam of a current Maryland-bred star.

The Harmenings' mare Goldgorian's Alden (by John Alden), purchased at Bowie in 1999 after a failed comeback on the track, produced as her first foal the 4-year-old filly Angela's Love (by leading Maryland sire Not for Love), who won the Grade 3 Gardenia Handicap at Ellis Park on Aug. 7.

Angela's Love, sold by the Harmenings for $58,000 at the 2001 Fasig-Tipton Midlantic Eastern fall yearling sale, served notice of her emerging talent when she aired by more than eight lengths in the Fairway Fun Stakes at Turfway Park in March. She has earned a total of $256,280 with 6 wins in 11 lifetime starts.

Harmening, who often breeds and sells under the name of Equine Services Inc., said he follows the breeding theories of Federico Tesio, who "took modest broodmares and developed champions."

Angela's Love, owned by Bill and Vicki Poston of Atlanta, could seal a Maryland-bred championship with a victory on Maryland Million Day, Oct. 9. Her trainer, Dale Romans, said the Maryland Million is under consideration.

"She came out of the [Gardenia] great," said Romans. "She keeps maturing and getting stronger all the time."

Angela's Love would not be the first in her family to score a Maryland Million win. Goldgorian's Alden counted the Maryland Million Distaff Starter Handicap among her 10 career victories, and she retired with earnings of $100,788 from 38 starts. Goldgorian's Alden (out of Goldgorian, by Gregorian) comes from a family developed since the 1970's by a leading Maryland Million breeder, Hal C.B. Clagett.

Goldgorian's Alden has a yearling Two Punch filly, Alden's Punch, whom the Harmenings sold for $67,000 at the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky July sale, and is in foal for 2005 to Not for Love.

The Harmenings were delighted with the results of the July sale, where they sold their entire 2003 foal crop - consisting of two. The other was a colt by Not for Love out of their mare God Given (by Double Zeus), who brought $100,000.

God Given (out of Halo Ho, by Halo) has been a treasure for Harmening since her purchase - also at Bowie - in 1991. Harmening has sold six of her offspring at auction for a total of $341,500. Her top-priced sales horse sold by Harmening was Tribal Council, a Polish Numbers colt who brought $120,000 at the 2000 Fasig-Tipton Midlantic Eastern fall yearling sale. God Given is the dam of multiple stakes-placed Lovesmelovesmenot (by Not for Love).

"It's been an interesting business," said Harmening, who has a long background in Maryland racing.

A 46-year-old native of Howard County, he began training race- horses on his own in the early 1980's, and then became involved with show jumpers. After a devastating barn fire at the facility he was leasing near Ellicott City, he set his sights on becoming a veterinarian, although he continued to train.

"That had been my intention from the beginning, but I got sidetracked," he said of becoming a vet.

Harmening finished up some required undergraduate courses at the University of Maryland-College Park, then attended veterinary school at Virginia Tech, graduating in 1989. He is in his 16th year with the veterinary firm of Yergey, Stewart and Vallance.