12/12/2008 12:00AM

Great Notion gets a boost from Gonna Dash


One year ago, there was a tight battle between two first-year Maryland stallions, hailing from the same barn, for the title of leading freshman sire.

It's deja vu all over again.

Great Notion and Domestic Dispute, who both stand at Northview Stallion Station in Chesapeake City, are in a dogfight for the top spot. The two stallions, different as night and day, are separated by less than $40,000 in progeny earnings.

In 2007, Maryland Stallion Station's sire Seeking Daylight edged out stablemate Rock Slide for the title.

Great Notion has put a bit of daylight between himself and Domestic Dispute in the past week, most notably with the victory of his daughter Gonna Dash in the $75,000 Charles Town Races and Slots Hall of Fame Cup Stakes on Dec. 6. Not only did the Maryland-bred 2-year-old filly get her first stakes win in her stakes debut, but she did it by defeating males.

Owned by longtime Maryland breeder Jim Lewis, and trained by Jeff Runco, Gonna Dash was sent off as the odds-on choice in the field of five. She had been dazzling in her previous start, setting all the fractions and romping home by more than a dozen lengths over a sloppy track in November.

The Hall of Fame Cup was run at the same 4 1/2-furlong distance as Gonna Dash's maiden score, and she turned in a similar effort. Holding a clear advantage from the outset while parked three-wide, Gonna Dash was dropped to the rail around the turn by jockey Travis Dunkelberger and she sped home to win by two lengths.

A fourth-generation homebred for Lewis, Gonna Dash is the first stakes horse out of the winning Baederwood mare Gonna Shine, but is her dam's fourth winner from as many foals.

Lewis, a former president of the Maryland Horse Breeders Association, bred, owned, and trained Gonna Dash's third dam, Heartful. A daughter of Bold Monarch, Heartful won two stakes, including the Grade 3 Flirtation Stakes, and was second in the Grade 3 Prioress Stakes in 1974. She went on to produce three stakes winners from five foals - Noblest Heart, Burts Star, and Salvage Consultant.

Heartful's other two foals were winners, including Gonna Dash's second dam, Heartful Star.

Heartful Star (by Star de Naskra) produced a dozen foals, most notably Maryland-bred champion 2- and 3-year-old colt Oliver's Twist, winner of the Grade 3 Federico Tesio Stakes in 1995 but best known for his close second-place finish in that year's Preakness Stakes.

Great Notion, an 8-year-old son of Elusive Quality, was undefeated as a juvenile and came out at 3 to win the one-mile Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn Park. A blazing sprinter, Great Notion turned in four other close efforts in stakes at 3, with the Grade 1 King's Bishop Stakes at Saratoga one for the highlight reel. In that race, he set a blistering pace and just failed to hold off Valid Video, missing by a neck.

Great Notion has 38 current 2-year-olds. From his eight starters, he has three other winners who have victories at Santa Anita, Del Mar, Churchill Downs, and Laurel Park. His progeny earnings have passed the $200,000 mark for the year.

Domestic Dispute, a classically bred son of Unbridled's Song who was Grade 1-placed at 2 and a multiple graded winner at 3 and 4, has 72 foals in his first crop. Among his 23 starters, 8-year-old Domestic Dispute has seven winners, and progeny earnings of nearly $175,000.

Domestic Dispute's most accomplished runner to date is two-time stakes-placed filly Deer Lassie, third in Retama Park's seven-furlong Bara Lass Stakes on Dec. 6. Domestic Dispute's runners have also won at a variety of tracks. His latest winner, Life by R R, led from start to finish in a six-furlong maiden special weight at Hollywood Park on Dec. 7.

Both stallions stand for $3,500 live foal.

Maryland Million nominations due soon

The deadline to nominate foals and stallions to make them eligible for the Maryland Million program is Dec. 31. There are no supplemental nominations to the $1 million-plus race day, but there are three options to nominate foals. Once nominated, they are eligible for the program for their entire career.

Foals of 2008 can be fully nominated for a fee of $250, payable by Dec. 31. A fee of $600 is due by the end of the year for foals of 2007 who have yet to be nominated. The final eligibility period is July 31 of the 2-year-old year, when the fee rises to $1,500.

All stallions standing in Maryland in 2009 need to be nominated to make their foals of 2010 eligible.

For forms and a list of nominated stallions, contact the Maryland Million office at (410) 252-2100.