08/05/2004 11:00PM

Group 1 already in juvenile's sights

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The first Maryland-bred 2-year-old stakes winner of 2004 succeeded far from the fields of Chesapeake City, where he was born.

Montgomery's Arch, bred by Richard L. Golden's Sycamore Hall Farm LLC and now racing in England, captured the Group 2 Richmond Stakes on July 30 at Goodwood in only his second start. Trained by Peter Chapple-Hyam for Franconson Partners, Montgomery's Arch, a dark bay son of Arch, was somewhat of an unknown for his stakes debut, having made his first start at Folkestone three weeks earlier.

But Montgomery's Arch won his maiden in spectacular style, and he followed with a gritty performance in the six-furlong Richmond Stakes to win by a neck. Chapple-Hyam, who also trains the talented juvenile Captain Hurricane, said the next logical step for Montgomery's Arch will be Group 1 company, possibly the Dewhurst or Middle Park stakes.

Montgomery's Arch is the third foal out of Inny River, a young Seattle Slew mare whom Golden purchased for $350,000 in 1999 at the Keeneland November sale. Now 9, Inny River was carrying her first foal, a filly by Hennessy, at the time of the sale.

"I had been looking for a mare by Seattle Slew for a long time," said Golden. "When I saw her at Keeneland, she was the most correct Slew mare that I had seen. I loved her pedigree and the Mr. Prospector cross."

Inny River is out of Mr. Prospector's daughter Golden Petal, who is also the dam of graded winner Lotus Pool.

"She was a little on the small side and her pedigree suggested grass. That is why I bred her to Arch," said Golden, who remembers Montgomery's Arch as a "very good-looking yearling."

A member of Arch's third crop, Montgomery's Arch was offered at the Fasig-Tipton July yearling sale. "We were pleased to get $50,000 for him, because his sire, Arch, was not in demand at that time," said Golden.

Purchased by Jamie Railton, Montgomery's Arch resurfaced at Tattersalls this past April, bringing the U.S. equivalent of $37,590. In his first two starts, he has earned about $80,000.

Inny River's yearling filly by Cozzene is catalogued to sell the first Wednesday at the Keeneland September sale. The mare produced an Orientate filly this year and is in foal to Victory Gallop for 2005.

Maryland-bred juveniles head west

California seems to be a hot spot for Maryland-bred 2-year-olds. Since mid-June, three have turned in impressive debuts, the most recent coming July 31, when Declan's Moon's scored a front-running, five-length win at Del Mar. Bred by Brice Ridgely out of his homebred mare Vee Vee Star (by Norquestor), Declan's Moon was purchased by Jay Em Ess Stable at last fall's Fasig-Tipton Midlantic Sale for $125,000. Trained by Ron Ellis, Declan's Moon is a son of former Maryland sire Malibu Moon.

B. Wayne Hughes bred Malibu Moon and maintains part ownership in the stallion, who previously stood at Country Life Farm in Bel Air and now stands in Kentucky. Last year, Hughes found a Malibu Moon yearling filly (out of the Clever Champ mare Clever Rache) through bloodstock agent Bill Reightler and purchased her privately from breeder Daniel Marconi. Named Starleena, the Mel Stute-trained filly won her first start by two lengths July 25 at Del Mar. For her second start, Starleena was entered in Del Mar's Grade 3 Sorrento Stakes on Saturday.

Another Maryland-bred filly owned by Hughes, this one trained by Warren Stute, won her maiden at Hollywood Park on June 13. Thatswhatimean, a daughter of Belong to Me out of Lucinda K, thus a half-sister to Hughes's Atswhatimtalknbout, rallied through the stretch before drawing off to win by 1 1/2 lengths. Bred by Bittersweet Farm, Thatswhatimean was a $375,000 Keeneland September purchase.

Both Declan's Moon and Thatswhatimean were stars one year ago, each having won a class at the Maryland Horse Breeders Association's yearling show, judged by trainer Barclay Tagg.