04/29/2004 11:00PM

Benders again state's top breeders

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Some of the world's most prolific producers of stakes winners will be in the spotlight when the Maryland Horse Breeders Association conducts its annual awards dinner May 10 at the Center Club in Baltimore.

Sondra and Howard Bender, Maryland's breeder of the year for the third time in a row, have few equals when it comes to stakes winners. In 2003, seven horses bred by the Benders won stakes, six of them campaigning as homebreds for the Benders and their trainer, Larry Murray.

The Benders also were the leading breeder of Maryland-bred runners by money earned, with $1,363,466. Their leading earner was Foufa's Warrior ($257,358). Others topping the million-dollar mark as breeders of Maryland-breds were Thornmar Farm/Charles and Cynthia McGinnes ($1,139,566) and Robert E. Meyerhoff ($1,101,533).

The Benders typically maintain about 20 broodmares at their Glade Valley Farms in Frederick, Md., a long-distinguished Thoroughbred nursery that Murray also manages.

Foufa: Broodmare of the year

The star of the Glade Valley broodmare band, the 21-year-old Foufa will be honored as broodmare of the year. One of only three broodmares in the world to be represented by as many as three stakes winners in 2003, Foufa accomplished that feat for the second year in a row.

Foufa (Storm Bird-Afifa, by Dewan) was purchased by the Benders for $90,000 at the 1989 Keeneland January sale with multiple stakes winner Maryland Moon (by Al Mamoon) in utero. Maryland Moon won or placed in 13 stakes in the early 1990's, earning $420,223.

Foufa has since produced four more stakes winners, by four different sires, and all of them earned distinction in 2003. Her stakes winners last season were graded star and course record setter Foufa's Warrior (by Jade Hunter), Certantee (by Known Fact), and Full Brush (by Broad Brush). In addition, she was represented by multiple stakes-placed Media Access (by Devil's Bag).

Together, Foufa's offspring have accounted for more than $1.8 million in earnings. Foufa did not produce a foal in 2003 or 2004, but was bred this season to Gulch.

Not for Love stallion of the year

Not for Love, the region's leading stakes sire with 25 stakes performers in 2003, is the state's stallion of the year. A regally bred 14-year-old son of Mr. Prospector-Dance Number, by Northern Dancer, Not for Love was the leading sire outside of Kentucky in 2003 and set a single-season progeny earnings record for a Maryland sire with $4,977,750. He has made his career at Northview Stallion Station in Chesapeake City, and was represented by five crops through last season.

The MHBA will celebrate its 75th anniversary at the awards dinner, which also will highlight last year's Maryland-bred champions. Horse of the year is Mrs. Richard C. duPont's million-dollar-earning mare Shine Again (Wild Again-Shiner, by Two Punch). Tickets to the event are $85. For more information call the MHBA at (410) 252-2100 or visit info@marylandthoroughbred.com.

Top horsemen in Timonium seminar

Some of the top horsemen in the region are scheduled to participate in a seminar May 8, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., at Timonium Fairgrounds.

Offering views on the 2-year-old auction market and other related topics will be nation-leading owner Michael Gill, Terry Finley of West Point Thoroughbreds, bloodstock agent Buzz Chace, and Mason Grasty, executive vice-president of Fasig-Tipton Midlantic. Peter Pegg, of Pegg Thoroughbred Consultants, will be the emcee.

The seminar is sponsored by state breeders organizations in Virginia, Maryland, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and South Carolina. Tickets are $25 each, and include a box lunch. Reservations must be made by May 6. For more information call the Virginia Thoroughbred Association at (540) 347-4313 or visit vta@vabred.org.