04/28/2006 12:00AM

Festival celebrates duPont legacy

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The legacy of renowned Maryland breeder Allaire duPont, who died this past January at age 92, carried on at Pimlico's Spring Festival of Racing last weekend.

Maryland-breds from one of the oldest and most accomplished families developed over the years at Mrs. duPont's Woodstock Farm in Chesapeake City finished first and second in the leadoff event in the Spring Festival program, the Country Life Farm Stakes for 3-year-old fillies.

Somethinaboutbetty, owned by a partnership that includes the University of Louisville basketball coach, Rick Pitino, set every fraction in the 1 1/16-mile race and prevailed by three-quarters of a length over Crown You, who races in partnership for longtime Maryland owner Morris Bailey. The third-place finisher, Keep on Talking, also carried notable bloodlines, as a daughter of Royal Academy out of the 2000 Maryland-bred horse of the year, Gin Talking (by Allen's Prospect).

Somethinaboutbetty was bred by Glade Valley Farms, the Frederick, Md., breeding establishment owned by descendants of the late Jack I. Bender, who founded its modern-day operation in the 1960's along with Robert A. Leonard. Prominent Maryland breeders Howard and Sondra Bender are part-owners of Glade Valley, but the horses owned in the name of the farm, including four broodmares, are a separate entity from the Benders's solely owned breeding operation, also based at Glade Valley.

Here Comes Betty (by Cox's Ridge), dam of Somethinaboutbetty, was one of the last mares Leonard bought for Glade Valley before he retired, recalled Glade Valley's manager, Larry Murray. Purchased for $70,000 at the 1997 Keeneland November sale, Here Comes Betty would soon appreciate in value as her first foal, Petunia, a 1996 daughter of Lil E. Tee, developed into a stakes winner and multiple graded-placed earner of $194,849.

Glade Valley, strictly a commercial breeding enterprise, sells all of its young horses. Somethinaboutbetty (by Forestry) brought $180,000 at the 2004 Saratoga yearling sale and was resold to Pitino's group for $300,000 at the 2005 Fasig-Tipton 2-year-olds in training sale at Calder. After her career got off to a less-than-stellar start with another trainer, she was transferred last fall to Todd Pletcher, who has sent her out to win 3 of her 4 subsequent starts, including two stakes. Her other stakes victory came in the Maryland Juvenile Filly Championship Stakes at Laurel Park in December. Somethinaboutbetty's earnings now total $128,800.

Although none of this recent activity, of course, involves Allaire duPont, one does not have to go back far in Somethinaboutbetty's pedigree to find duPont's touch. Here Comes Betty, originally sold as a yearling for $140,000 at the Keeneland September sale, is the first foal produced by duPont's good racemare Betty Lobelia (1985, by Assert). Betty Lobelia (named for one of duPont's friends as well as one of her favorite flowers) raced for duPont as a homebred, winning or placing in a dozen stakes, including a victory in the Grade 3 Nijana, and earning $463,512.

Betty Lobelia's half-sister Crowned (by Chief's Crown), two years younger, proved even more outstanding, counting the Grade 2 Delaware Handicap among her five stakes victories. Crowned placed in 14 additional stakes, including a second in the Grade 1 Coaching Club American Oaks, and retired with earnings of $605,323. She was the champion Maryland-bred 2-year-old filly of 1989.

Crown You, the Country Life Farm Stakes runner-up, is Crowned's eighth foal. Crown You (by Two Punch) was bred by duPont, and privately purchased by her current owner. Crowned produced as her third foal the Broad Brush son Best of Luck, a multiple graded winner of $616,790 who reigned as Maryland-bred horse of the year for 1999.

The family got its start at Woodstock Farm in 1973 when duPont purchased Thirty Years (by Bold Hour) as a foal from William G. Helis Jr., a noted breeder of that era. Thirty Years, herself a graded winner, became the dam of stakes-placed Fair Rosalind (by Exclusive Native), who in turn produced Betty Lobelia and Crowned.