08/01/2008 12:00AM

Four Winds celebrates Mo Mon's first winner


Just more than three decades ago, Dianne Boyken, a new graduate of Virginia Tech sporting a degree in animal science, decided to try carving out a living boarding horses. Taking on a 37-acre property in Clarksburg, N.J., near Trenton, in 1977, Boyken set about creating Four Winds Farm.

Four Winds Farm has since become one of the mainstays of Thoroughbred breeding in the state.

The birthplace of as many as 50 foals each year since its inception, Four Winds Farm has stood several stallions as well. The current resident stallion, graded-stakes-placed Mo Mon, generated excitement for the farm's future when he got his first winner from his first crop of 2-year-olds on July 27 at Monmouth Park.

The Mo Mon filly Saratoga Lilly, sent off at odds of 22-1 against seven challengers, led at every call in a five-furlong maiden special weight for statebreds, and gamely held on to win by a neck in her second start. Saratoga Lilly is trained by Chuck Spina.

Boyken bred the filly in the name of Four Winds Farm and sent her to the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic December mixed sale in 2006, where the weanling - the only offspring by Mo Mon offered for sale that year - brought a final bid of $20,000.

Boyken generally sells her entire crop of about six or seven foals each year as weanlings. Last year, she sold all her weanlings privately.

"I have a lot of repeat customers," Boyken said.

Saratoga Lilly is out of a mare Boyken also bred, Saratoga Luck, by her late home stallion My Prince Charming. Saratoga Luck, a half-sister to the best horse Boyken has bred to date, 1998 New Jersey-bred champion 3-year-old filly Red's Lady, was sold as a yearling at the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic Eastern fall yearling sale in 1998 for $15,000.

A winner at 2, Saratoga Luck was bought back by Boyken after her racing career was over. Saratoga Luck has a yearling colt by Mo Mon, produced a colt by Louis Quatorze this year, but is empty for 2009.

Boyken's main focus at Four Winds Farm is foaling mares for clients, with the foal population at the farm in recent years falling between 30 to 40, about 10 percent of New Jersey's entire foal crop.

"With Pennsylvania getting slots, there has been a mass exodus out of New Jersey," Boyken said.

Mo Mon came to Four Winds for the 2005 breeding season, replacing the farm's longtime sire My Prince Charming, who stood 14 seasons before his death that year at age 22. Boyken had begun her search for My Prince Charming's replacement the previous fall and enlisted the help of Amy Bondon-Peltz, who spotted Mo Mon at the Keeneland November breeding stock sale.

Mo Mon, from the first crop of champion Maria's Mon, is out of Sewing Lady, a daughter of Key to the Mint. He was the first of Sewing Lady's six-figure sales horses, bringing $145,000 as a yearling at Keeneland and $240,000 at Barretts May 2-year-olds in training sale - the second-highest-priced juvenile for his sire that year.

The value of the family rose considerably when Mo Mon's year-younger half-sister, Adoration, won the 2003 Breeders' Cup Distaff at Santa Anita. A six-time graded winner who also won the Grade 1 Santa Margarita Invitational Handicap while earning nearly $2 million, Adoration sold last year at Keeneland's November sale for $3.1 million in foal to Smart Strike.

Mo Mon was a two-time winner, taking a six-furlong allowance at Golden Gate in 1:09 and change and defeating Group 1 winner Fleetstreet Dancer at Santa Anita going one mile. In 21 starts, he was second or third 11 times, with four consecutive runner-up finishes in stakes at Mountaineer during his 4-year-old season. He also finished third in the Grade 3 El Camino Real Derby at 3. Mo Mon retired with earnings of $197,720.

Having entered stud after all the stallion directories had been published in 2005, Mo Mon had a short book of 24 mares his first year, resulting in 18 current 2-year-olds. His books the next two years rose to more than 40 mares.

"Once people started seeing his babies, they sent more mares," Boyken said.

Standing nearly 17 hands, Mo Mon has sired large, impressive offspring, and many in his first crop are in training, with Boyken expecting his runners to get better as the distances get longer.