01/03/2003 12:00AM

Coquettish, Foufa's Warrior win big

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Coquettish and Foufa's Warrior, two promising juveniles, put the finishing touches on a memorable year for their breeders by winning their first stakes races on the final day of 2002.

The two won the year's richest stakes for Maryland-bred juveniles, the Maryland Juvenile Championship and its filly equivalent, at Laurel Park.

Coquettish, the first stakes winner bred by Linda Newton, made a case to be named statebred champion 2-year-old filly by getting her third consecutive victory in the Maryland Juvenile Filly Championship. A daughter of Not For Love, Coquettish went off as 4-5 favorite in the field of eight and was never threatened as she opened up in the stretch of the 1 1/8-mile race, winning by three lengths over runner-up Grace Bay.

Newton is delighted with Coquettish, a gray filly whom she sold privately as a weanling to her friend Susan Shipp. The filly races for Shipp and Cindy Polk and is trained by Graham Motion. A Middleburg, Va., resident and foxhunting enthusiast, Newton owns one Thoroughbred broodmare and describes coming up with a stakes winner as "a chance shot."

After Newton purchased the winless Secret Hello mare Chemise, Shipp suggested the mare be bred to Not For Love. "We considered Polish Numbers, but Not For Love was standing for only $3,500 at the time," Newton said.

The first foal out of Chemise is Newton's winning colt Kissing Rock. Coquettish is the result of Chemise's second visit to Not For Love. Following a near-disastrous trip in her debut, in which Coquettish was in tight quarters and slammed into the rail, the filly won her next start, a maiden special weight at Delaware Park in September, leading every step.

In both her third outing, an allowance victory at Laurel, and the Juvenile Filly Championship, Coquettish showed her resolve by driving through on the rail to get the lead. She won her three races by a combined margin of more than 11 lengths.

Although Newton no longer owns Coquettish, she has the filly's just-turned 2-year-old full sister, Roxyette, and a yearling filly by Unbridled Jet. In foal to Lion Hearted, Chemise will be sent by Newton to Kathy Schwartzman's Venture Forth Farm in Monkton, Md., to foal, as she has done the past two years.

For Newton, 2002 was an amazing year. She is also a part-owner with Shipp and Polk of a Virginia-bred colt named Plain Clothes. On Dec. 6, in the race immediately preceding Coquettish's allowance score, Plain Clothes won an allowance at Laurel Park.

The Maryland breeders who had the most memorable year were Sondra and Howard Bender. Foufa's Warrior, in only his second career start, became the ninth stakes winner to represent the Benders as breeders in 2002, and the seventh to be campaigned by them.

Foufa's Warrior took home the prize in the Maryland Juvenile Championship after a hard-fought battle with favorite Ironton and Cheverly Gold, getting up in the final strides to win by a neck over second-place Ironton. The Juvenile Championship was the 13th stakes victory of the year for the Benders and their trainer, Larry Murray.

Foufa's Warrior is by Jade Hunter out of the remarkable Storm Bird mare Foufa, who has produced five stakes winners for the Benders, including 2002 winners Certantee and Full Brush, the latter claimed away from the couple last March.

Not For Love was by far the leading Maryland sire of 2-year-olds in 2002, with Coquettish and Ironton providing the finishing touches. Not For Love, who stands at Northview Stallion Station in Chesapeake City, had 18 juvenile winners last year. With his 2-year-olds earning more than $665,000, Not For Love ranks among the top 30 sires of juveniles in the nation in 2002. In addition to his leading earner, Coquettish, his stakes winners are the brilliant Forever Partners, winner of the Colleen Stakes at Monmouth and second in the Grade 1 Spinaway Stakes at Saratoga, and Such a Flirt, winner of the Snow White Stakes at Charles Town on Dec. 21.