06/22/2006 11:00PM

Canadian tally for late stallion


Allen's Prospect racked up big numbers during his long reign as Maryland's leading sire. He has been gone for nearly three years - the highly fertile son of Mr. Prospector was euthanized in September 2003 at age 21, after developing a fast-growing tumor under his jaw. He remains, however, a formidable presence on the state's sire lists.

Gabe's Prospect, a 3-year-old filly from Allen's Prospect's next-to-last crop (which consisted of 62 foals), became her sire's 67th stakes winner when she won the Penny Ridge Stakes at Stampede Park on June 18.

The one-mile Penny Ridge, worth $66,818 in U.S. dollars, was the second win in a row for Gabe's Prospect, following a score in maiden special weight company on May 17 at the same Canadian track. Campaigning in the name of Bar None Ranches Ltd. and trainer Kelly Grieves, Gabe's Prospect has finished first or second in 4 of her 6 starts (at ages 2 and 3), for earnings of $59,003.

Allen's Prospect (out of Change Water, by Swaps, and thus a half-brother to Broodmare of the Year Fall Aspen) was a major factor in the modern-day success of the Pons family's Country Life Farm in Bel Air, Md., where he stood throughout his career. But he also helped to boost the fortunes of countless syndicate shareholders - many of them relatively small-scale breeders who celebrated some of their best success with his offspring.

Ron Mather, the breeder of Gabe's Prospect, could be counted in that group. A retired insurance broker who keeps two broodmares at his 42-acre Buckfield Farm in Fallston, Md., Mather was originally inspired to get into the horse business when his daughter took up riding as a youngster in the early 1980's.

"I had always wanted a race horse," he said.

Mather paid $1,000 at a Timonium auction for his first broodmare, the Big Brave daughter Brave Sue (in foal to Buck Island) in 1985.

Turned out in a field at Mather's farm, not far from Country Life, the mare soon captured the attention of Joe Pons, the late Country Life Farm patriarch and father of the farm's proprietors, Josh and Mike Pons

"Joe was driving by one day," Mather said. "He stopped and wanted to know who the mare was."

Coincidentally, her sire had stood at Country Life.

"We talked, and that's how I ended up buying my first stallion share," said Mather. It was a share in a Country Life stallion, Carnivalay

Carnivalay, another of Country Life Farm's long-successful stallions, sired the most accomplished runner Mather has bred, two-time stakes winner Rangeley Lady, who has earned $243,185.

Mather has also patronized other Maryland farms, such as Bonita and Murmur.

It was at Bonita Farm that the dam of Gabe's Prospect - Shaviana, a multiple stakes-placed daughter of Elocutionist - first made her mark as a broodmare. Shaviana's first four foals each earned more than $100,000, and her sixth foal, the 1998 Proud Truth filly Guillotine, was a stakes winner of $228,084.

Shaviana was 15 years old when Mather bought her for $7,500 (barren) at the 1998 Fasig-Tipton Midlantic December mixed sale. Gabe's Prospect, the third foal Mather bred from the mare, sold for $22,000 as a weanling at the 2003 Fasig-Tipton Midlantic December mixed sale, and went through the ring again at the 2004 Keeneland September yearling sale, where Bar None Ranch bought her for $45,000.

Unfortunately for Mather, Gabe's Prospect's success in Canada does not generate breeder bonuses from the Maryland Fund. He hopes, however, for more good things from her dam, who has an Outflanker yearling colt and is due to deliver a Rock Slide foal at Mather's farm in 2007.

Mather's other mare is Rangeley Red, a 16-year-old daughter of Allen's Prospect who has produced two winners from two foals to race. Her 4-year-old daughter Rangeley Risk (by Yarrow Brae) carried Mather's colors to victory in a maiden special weight race at Colonial Downs on June 18, the same day Gabe's Prospect won the stakes.