12/09/2005 12:00AM

Ford disperses broodmares - both of them


When a long-successful breeder disperses his entire broodmare band, he can expect to spark enthusiasm among buyers. It turned out that way for Eugene Ford, who was responsible for two of the three top broodmare prices, including the $140,000 sale-topper, at the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic December mixed sale held Dec. 4 and 5 at Timonium.

But Ford's situation was slightly unusual, because he had only two mares.

Your Out, a 7-year-old daughter of Allen's Prospect, sold for $140,000, and her 13-year-old dam, Our Friend Hidayet (by Fast Play), who brought $75,000, were among the relatively few highlights at the auction, which recorded overall declines in comparison to 2004.

Ford, a real estate developer who lives in the Washington, D.C., suburbs, has a knack for making a big impact with a small number of horses. He rose to local fame in 1988 with the 3-year-old filly Sham Say, a $24,000 Timonium yearling purchase who went undefeated in seven starts (six stakes) before Ford accepted a $2 million offer for her, setting a then-record for a Maryland-bred filly or mare. Most recently, Ford won the Maryland Million Nursery in October with Creve Coeur (by Lion Hearted), an $85,000 purchase at the 2004 Fasig-Tipton Midlantic Eastern fall yearling sale. His racing stable consists of about a half-dozen horses, all with trainer Graham Motion.

"I'm getting a little old for the breeding," Ford said of his decision to sell his mares. He made it clear that he maintains his zest for racing and promised to "keep buying yearlings and 2-year-olds."

Both of Ford's mares had been boarded year-round at Country Life Farm in Bel Air, and were sold with Country Life as agent. It was the first time that Country Life has sold the sale-topper at Fasig-Tipton Midlantic's December sale, according to Country Life's business manager, Mike Pons.

Ford's broodmare duo raced for him as homebreds, giving him many proud moments. Your Out, voted champion Maryland-bred 2-year-old filly in 2000, won six stakes and earned $518,710 during her career. Reportedly, Ford declined an offer of a half-million dollars for Your Out after her gallant performance in the 2002 running of the Grade 3 Delaware Handicap, in which she missed catching the talented Summer Colony in the final stride. Despite a discouraging start as a broodmare (she aborted for 2004 and 2005), Your Out is due to foal in February to the cover of Lion Hearted. She was purchased by John T. Crane Jr. of southern Maryland.

Our Friend Hidayet (pronounced hi-DIE-yah), named for a friend of Ford and his wife, Alice, was the first foal produced by Ford's good racemare and producer Seraglio (by Wavering Monarch), whom he purchased for $35,000 at the 1988 Fasig-Tipton Midlantic 2-year-olds in training sale. Seraglio won two stakes and placed in five others, earning $208,628, and went on to produce two stakes winners: Our Friend Hidayet ($91,896, Pearl Necklace Stakes) and the graded-placed Carrolls Favorite ($323,711), a gelding by Allen's Prospect.

Purchased by a group of local investors in the name of David and JoAnn Hayden's Dark Hollow Farm, agent, Our Friend Hidayet - carrying a prospective March foal by Not for Love - is already well established as a producer. Her four foals to race are all winners. In addition to Your Out, she is represented by the stakes-placed Two Punch gelding In the Cups ($121,088).

"Breeding racehorses offers some of the same satisfactions as raising children: You're aspiring to have them grow, and do well," Ford said in the late 1980's, when he first got involved in the breeding business. No doubt he'll be watching closely and hoping for his mares' string of accomplishments to continue.