10/17/2002 12:00AM

Broman looking toward the future


Beautiful America, who contests the $100,000 Maid of the Mist Stakes on New York Showcase Day, has given a boost to Chester and Mary Broman's racing stable in the short term. But Chester Broman is thinking well beyond the Maid of the Mist with the 2-year-old Dixie Brass filly.

The Bromans bought Chestertown Farm in Glens Falls, N.Y., seven years ago with the goal of establishing a homebreeding program. Beautiful America, already a stakes winner off her win in last month's Joseph A. Gimma Stakes at Belmont, could make a sterling addition to the Bromans' 20-mare broodmare band if she keeps up her winning style.

Of course, early success like Beautiful America's often attracts big offers from other owners looking to acquire a winner. But Broman says this filly is destined for his mare band in any case.

"People don't make me offers," he said, "because I think they know I don't sell. I'd probably have made money if I'd sold all our babies. But that wasn't the reason I went into the business. That isn't my plan. My plan is to breed, and you can make your money in the end by doing that.

"I enjoy the farm, so I might as well breed good horses while I have it," he added. "I am finding that it's taking longer than I thought it would. I thought it would be a five-year plan, but it's going to be more like a 10-year program. But I'm a positive thinker, and I think I can succeed at homebreeding. I hope so."

Broman, a contractor based on Long Island, downplays his own opinions about horseflesh, describing himself as "a novice" in the business who relies on the advice of experts. One of those experts is Thomas Ryba, Chestertown Farm's manager for nearly three decades. When the Bromans purchased the farm, Ryba came with it, and Chester Broman counts that as a blessing, and not just because Ryba's long experience has made him a valued manager. Ryba is also Beautiful America's breeder.

"I purchased this filly from Tom," said Broman, who got into the horse racing game through his daughter Rachel, a professional equestrienne specializing in show-jumpers, and son Chris, who showed jumpers at Madison Square Garden when he was a teenager. "I'm only an amateur in the business, and I rely on Tom's opinion. I watched her dam run. She finished second a few times and had won a few. It was a natural decision to buy the filly."

Not surprisingly, the Bromans liked Beautiful America enough to also buy her half-brother, a yearling sired by Tomorrows Cat, from Ryba. The colt, currently unnamed, is in training at Barry Eisaman's facility near Ocala, Fla.

Ryba is understandably pleased by Beautiful America's early success. But he also admits to being a little surprised by it.

"We always liked her," Ryba said of the filly. "But I thought maybe she'd be better at 3. I didn't expect her to come around this early."

Beautiful America came around as fast as a horse can. She won her first career start in maiden special weight company at Saratoga. That would be impressive enough, but Beautiful America did it with an exclamation point, drawing away to win by 4 3/4 lengths.

"The way her conformation is, I thought if she was going to become good, maybe even a stakes winner, it would happen when she was 3," Ryba said. "She's not built like a speed horse, but she's got the ability to win early after all. My wife, Maryann, and I are just happy to have this success, and we're happy for the Bromans. We'd have been happy with the mare whether or not her baby had won, but it's nice to have this success."

Beautiful America's early victories helped get her dam, the Bounding Basque mare Eyeofbeauty, off the mark quickly, too. Beautiful America is the first foal for her 9-year-old dam.

"She looks just like her dam," Ryba said of Beautiful America. "Eyeofbeauty is a good-sized mare, about 16 or 16.1 hands, and she's built all in proportion. She has good length to her. I wouldn't want to change anything about her; she's pretty correct. Beautiful America is dark like her, too, and they both have white markings."

Ryba knows Beautiful America's family better than most; so, incidentally, does trainer Mike Hernandez, who trained Eyeofbeauty and now has Beautiful America. Ryba raised Beautiful America and Eyeofbeauty, and he still owns Eyeofbeauty's dam, the stakes-placed Wanakena, who was sired by On to Glory. Wanakena, now 19, is pensioned.

"They run in the same pasture," Ryba said of Eyeofbeauty and Wanakena.

Ryba decided to breed Eyeofbeauty to Dixie Brass - the mating that resulted in Beautiful America - partly on the basis of advice from pedigree adviser Alan Porter and partly because of what the stallion offered in terms of his own race record. A winner from six furlongs to a mile, Dixie Brass (Dixieland Band) sired such graded stakes winners as millionaire Dixie Dot Com, Soldier Field, and Polished Brass. Relocated from Kentucky to New York's The Stallion Park, Dixie Brass died in January at age 13.

"Alan Porter gave us a list of four or five horses he thought would fit the mare, and we chose Dixie Brass," Ryba said. "I'd seen Dixie Brass a few times prior to that, and I always liked the horse. He had a nice pedigree and record, and he had good looks.

"Eyeofbeauty, when she was running, she could hold her speed for a little while," he added. "She was good going a mile, a mile and a sixteenth, and she'd often be on the front end setting the pace. We thought breeding her to a little more speed would help her."

As it turned out, breeding Eyeofbeauty to Dixie Brass helped just about everybody.

"It's exciting," Broman said several days before Showcase Day. "There are many disappointments in this business, but it's great when you get something like this."