03/17/2006 12:00AM

Bowmans take breeders' title for second time

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The Maryland Horse Breeders Association has announced that Tom and Chris Bowman, Cherokee Wonder, and Louis Quatorze have been selected by the board of directors as the 2005 breeder, broodmare, and stallion of the year, respectively. The awards will be presented at the MHBA's annual awards dinner on April 21 at St. Patrick's Hall in Havre de Grace, Md. The 2005 Maryland-bred champions and Federico Tesio Award winners will also be honored that evening.

Tom and Chris Bowman are receiving breeder of the year honors for the second time, having previously taken the award in 1998. The leading breeders based on earnings of Maryland-breds in 2005 (which included runners bred in partnership), the Bowmans were represented by the winners of 66 races and $1.7 million. Two juvenile stakes winners - Creve Coeur (by Lion Hearted), owned by Eugene F. Ford, and dual stakes-winning filly Smart and Fancy (by Not for Love), campaigned by Win and Place Stable - were bred by the couple.

The Bowmans own and operate Dance Forth Farm in Chestertown, Md. Tom Bowman is a renowned equine reproductive veterinarian and also a co-founder of Northview Stallion Station; Chris Bowman is in charge of the day-to-day activities at Dance Forth. More than 50 mares are expected to foal at Dance Forth in 2006, about 30 owned solely or in partnership by the Bowmans.

Cherokee Wonder receives her broodmare of the year award posthumously, but there is no denying her impact. A stakes-winning daughter of Cherokee Colony, Cherokee Wonder was the first racehorse ever purchased by her owners, Foard Wilgis and David Picarello of ZWP Stable, when they plucked her from the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic December mixed sale as a yearling for $5,500. She produced but two foals.

Her first is the Chimes Band filly Runnin Wonder, who was a stakes-placed winner at 2 and 3. Cherokee Wonder's second foal is Cherokee's Boy.

A son of Citidancer, Cherokee's Boy has been a running machine since his first victory in September 2002. Named Maryland-bred champion 2-year-old that season after winning or placing in six stakes, Cherokee's Boy has been a stakes winner every year since. Counted among his 12 career stakes wins were five last year, including the Grade 3 Salvator Mile. Cherokee's Boy was the unanimous choice as 2005 Maryland-bred horse of the year and champion older horse. Now 6, Cherokee's Boy has amassed $969,886 in earnings and is gearing up for another campaign.

Cherokee Wonder died of colic in 2001, at the age of 10. Attempts to save her newborn foal - a full brother to Cherokee's Boy - were also in vain.

After the highly publicized sale of the stallion Our Emblem in 2002, Allen and Audrey Murray were on the lookout to add a new horse to their stallion barn. They found an opportunity in 2004 and took it, getting Preakness Stakes winner Louis Quatorze to stand at their Murmur Farm in Darlington, Md.

The handsome bay stallion previously stood in Kentucky, and sired large crops in his first five years at stud. Those crops included 10 stakes winners in 2005, led by the U.S. stakes winners Choctaw Nation, Good Student, Louis Leggs, and Papua. The other six stakes winners raced in South America.

Louis Quatorze was Maryland's leading sire by international earnings in 2005, with $4,193,915. He also topped Maryland's leading 2-year-old sires lists in all categories: earnings, winners, and wins. A 13-year-old son of Sovereign Dancer, Louis Quatorze has had an average book size of 83 mares in his first two seasons in Maryland. He stands for $6,000 live foal.

This year the Federico Tesio Award, which goes to a person who has distinguished themselves over many years of service to the industry, will be presented to the families of the late patriarchs Joe Pons and Bill Boniface, pillars in the Maryland Thoroughbred industry who each died in 2005.

"Both of these gentlemen deserve recognition for their commitment to horses, and to Maryland, and, most importantly, for the farms and the families that carry on their legacy," said MHBA executive director Cricket Goodall.

The Pons family owns and operates Country Life Farm in Bel Air; the Boniface family has Bonita Farm in Darlington. William K. Boniface, the grandson of the Tesio recipient, is the current president of the MHBA.