11/30/2007 1:00AM

Cranes now married to a winning plan

EmailMaryland breeder Margaret Crane, the former Margaret Addis, is so busy, she's nearly impossible to pin down. And the St. Leonard, Md., resident and real estate attorney is even busier than usual, now that she is in the process of moving after recently getting married.

But stop her and get her talking about her small band of mares and the runners they've produced, and she will tell you all about them.

"I'm really thrilled about this," she said the other day. "Recently I've only had four broodmares of my own, and they have three stakes horses this year," said Crane, who goes by the nickname Miki.

The Cranes are expanding their horse holdings, as her new husband, John, a breeder who has success in the yearling auction market, has about 20 mares of his own. The Cranes will reside at John's Preston Farm in Lusby, Md., where the mares are kept and foal. And they will continue to use Miki's farm in St. Leonard, located just a few miles away, as the base for their sales prepping operation.

The system has worked well for the couple in recent years, with this year being one of the best ever. At the Keeneland September yearling sale, the Preston Farm consignment was topped by a Hennessy colt sold for $500,000. But Miki has also found frustration with the sales market and is moving towards the philosophy of, as she said, "having the courage to race if they don't sell for what we think they're worth."

The current stars produced by Miki Crane's mares (bred in the name of Margaret Addis) were all sold for modest amounts by their breeder.

The youngest is current 2-year-old Notgivinmyloveaway, a son of Maryland's leading sire Not for Love who won the Pennsylvania Nursery for statebreds at Philadelphia Park on Nov. 24. Owned by Jus Luk Stable and based at Woodbine with trainer Reade Baker, Notgivinmyloveaway, out of the Fast Play mare Fastria, was foaled in Pennsylvania when the Cranes chose to take advantage of the Pennsylvania-bred program, thinking that with the prospect of slots, it would boost the value of their horses at the sales.

Miki Crane named Notgivinmyloveaway after watching the colt fail to reach his reserve at the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic Eastern fall yearling sale (an RNA at $45,000). He also didn't sell at the Ocala Breeders' Sales Company's March 2-year-olds in training sale ($47,000 RNA). Notgivinmyloveaway was sold privately following the sale.

The Cranes offered two colts at Ocala, and both came back to them. They chose to keep the Pennsylvania-bred Two Punch colt out of Irish Daisy, named Patuxent Punch, who is now in training with Mike Trombetta but has yet to start.

"He was much bigger and we were concerned about rushing him to the races," Crane said.

Also exciting to Crane is rising star Barbecue Eddie, a 3-year-old Maryland-bred gelding she sold privately as a yearling after he also failed to reach his reserve.

A son of Stormy Atlantic out of The Green Owl (by Carson City), Barbecue Eddie finished third, beaten three-quarters of a length by older runners, in the Grade 1 Ancient Title Breeders' Cup Stakes in October in only his fifth start. Finishing ahead of him in that race were Idiot Proof, who was second next out in the Breeders' Cup Sprint, and Greg's Gold. In his most recent effort, Barbecue Eddie was third in the War Chant Stakes at Hollywood Park on Nov. 7 in his turf debut. A two-time winner at Del Mar, he has earned $117,170 from six starts.

The first stakes winner bred by Crane is current 5-year-old Smooth Bid. By Rubiano out of Miss Fizz (by Spectacular Bid), Smooth Bid was sold as a yearling for $27,000, won the Remington MEC Mile at 2, was graded-stakes-placed at 3, and has finished second or third in three consecutive stakes this fall. He has earnings of $320,758.