04/15/2005 12:00AM

Bellamy Road deepens Darlington's luster


"Darlington: Source of the classic horse."

Harford County's Better Business Bureau could have that as a new promotional slogan if Bellamy Road reproduces his most recent effort in this year's Kentucky Derby. It would be the third time in four years that the small town of Darlington, Md., has had a classic connection.

Darlington's connection with Bellamy Road, whose stunning romp in last Saturday's Wood Memorial Stakes at Aqueduct made him the current Kentucky Derby favorite, is through his dam, Hurry Home Hillary. She is a daughter of Deputed Testamony, the horse that helped transform the Boniface family's Bonita Farm in Darlington into what it is today.

In recent years Bonita made news as the owner of the mare Belle's Good Cide, dam of 2003 Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Funny Cide. And Murmur Farm, located just a few miles from Bonita, stood Our Emblem when his son War Emblem won the 2002 Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes.

The hometown hero of the 1983 Preakness Stakes, Deputed Testamony was bred by Bonita Farm and campaigned by the farm and partner Francis Sears. After standing 20 years at Bonita Farm, Deputed Testamony was retired from stud duty following the 2004 breeding season. At 25 now, he is the oldest living Preakness winner.

Trainer Bill Boniface and his wife, Joan, point out that Deputed Testamony never got the recognition he deserved as a race horse. Deputed Testamony set two track records, including Pimlico's existing mark for 1 1/16 miles, won 11 of his 20 lifetime starts, and earned $674,329.

But there is no doubt that Deputed Testamony was a working horseman's dream. At stud, he sired hard-knocking runners, including 18 stakes winners and the earners of more than $17.5 million. As a broodmare sire, Deputed Testamony is represented by 10 stakes winners, including classy $700,000-plus earners Duckhorn and Whitmore's Conn, and now Grade 1 winner Bellamy Road.

Deputed Testamony was always strongly supported in the Mid-Atlantic region. But how did a Florida breeder with a Cozzene mare choose to breed to the Preakness winner? Dianne Cotter, breeder of both Hurry Home Hillary and Bellamy Road, gives the credit to her former trainer, Jim McGreevy.

Based in the Mid-Atlantic region, and current treasurer of the Pennsylvania Horse Breeders Association, McGreevy had been Cotter's trainer for about five years.

"Mrs. Cotter asked me to claim a filly for her who would have residual value as a broodmare," said McGreevy. "I found a Cozzene mare at Philadelphia Park."

McGreevy remembers claiming her for $8,000. That mare was Ten Cents a Turn. Her dam, the unraced Rub Al Khali (by Mr. Prospector), was a half-sister to stakes winners Out of Place and Lead Kindly Light (the dam of Gold Fever), and a descendant of the wonderful family of Exclusive. Unfortunately, Ten Cents a Turn wasn't much of a race horse. Cotter asked McGreevy to find a local stallion, breed her, and send her to Florida.

"I did a nick research on her pedigree and Deputed Testamony's name popped up," said McGreevy. Ten Cents a Turn came off the track and was sent to the Preakness winner.

When Cotter got her home, Ten Cents a Turn was checked twice and determined not in foal. The next spring, Cotter had her vetted for breeding, and it was discovered that Ten Cents a Turn was in fact in foal. The foal, Hurry Home Hillary, was born on May 30, 1995.

Bellamy Road's 2-year-old full brother, Old Midleton (by Concerto), is consigned to the Ocala Breeders' Sales 2-year-olds in training sale that begins on April 25 - the same sale from which George Steinbrenner purchased Bellamy Road last year for $87,000. Hurry Home Hillary has a yearling Mecke filly and has a Mecke foal due within the week.

Louis Quatorze soars to No. 1

Two of trainer Nick Zito's classic winners are at stud in Darlington - 1994 Kentucky Derby winner Go for Gin at Bonita Farm and 1996 Preakness winner Louis Quatorze at Murmur. Within the past month, Louis Quatorze has soared to the top of the Maryland sires lists, based on the efforts of top handicap horses Choctaw Nation and Second of June.

Choctaw Nation pushed his 2005 earnings to $609,000 after finishing third in the Dubai World Cup. Second of June just missed when second in the Oaklawn Handicap last week. Ranked ninth in the nation, Louis Quatorze has $1.3 million in progeny earnings this season, a half-million more than two-time leading Maryland sire Not for Love, who is second in the state. Louis Quatorze stands for $6,000.