01/01/2010 12:00AM

Headley, M One Rifle have deep ties

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Benoit & Associates
M One Rifle wins the Grade 1 Malibu Stakes on Dec. 26 at Santa Anita.

ARCADIA, Calif. - A trainer cannot be any more responsible for a stakes winner than Bruce Headley is for M One Rifle, the California-bred who won the Grade 1 Malibu Stakes at Santa Anita on Dec. 26.

Headley not only bred M One Rifle in partnership but bought both the gelding's sire (One Man Army) and dam (Leanessa) as yearlings.

"It's the first time I've ever done that," Headley said.

From that mating, Headley and partners Ed Bernstein, Brian Greenspun, and Irwin Molasky have a 4-year-old Califrornia-bred with two stakes wins and plenty of options for the future.

The success of M One Rifle, who has won 4 of 8 starts and $378,572, represents both a bargain and a payback for Headley.

Leanessa was the sale topper for $200,000 at the 1999 Del Mar yearling sale, which is no longer held on an annual basis. She won 4 of 8 starts and $165,022.

"She got hurt when she was a youngster," Headley said.

M One Rifle is Leanessa's third foal and first to race.

One Man Army was bought for a bargain $35,000 at the 1995 Keeneland September yearling sale. On the same day, for the same amount at the same sale, Headley bought Kona Gold, who went on to become the 2000 champion sprinter.

Headley recalls outbidding fellow Southern California trainer Richard Matlow for One Man Army. In subsequent years, Headley and Matlow traveled to the sales together and scouted horses as a team. The partnership lasted until a few years ago when Matlow became ill. He died last March.

One Man Army won 2 of 24 starts and $83,454, finishing third in a division of the 1997 Oceanside Stakes on turf at Del Mar in his only stakes appearance.

One Man Army also is the sire of Soldier's Kiss, who won the 2005 Fleet Treat Stakes for statebreds and has earned $188,878. M One Rifle is One Man Army's first Grade 1 stakes winner and is highly likely to be his last. The stallion's oldest foals are 3-year-olds this year; he has subsequently been pronounced sterile.

In recent years, One Man Army was based at Terry Paine's KingsWay Farm in Temecula, Calif. Paine said Thursday that he was able to pasture breed One Man Army to a mare who is in foal.

Earlier this week, Headley said he is considering two Grade 2, $150,000 races in January for M One Rifle - the San Fernando Stakes over 1 1/16 miles on Jan. 16 and the Palos Verdes Handicap over six furlongs on Jan. 23.

M One Rifle has never run beyond seven furlongs, but Headley said he has the sort of physical frame that can work over longer distances.

"He's not a heavy muscled horse like Kona Gold," Headley said. "He's more elegant like the mare and the sire."

E Z Warrior to stand at Applebite

E Z Warrior, winner of 3 of 15 starts and $238,468, will enter stud this year at Applebite Farms in French Camp, Calif., the farm announced.

E Z Warrior, 6, ended his racing career in October. He won two stakes in Southern California - the Grade 3 Hollywood Juvenile Championship in 2006 and the San Miguel Stakes at Santa Anita in 2007. Both races were run over six furlongs.

Campaigned by Zayat Stables, E Z Warrior was third in the Grade 1 King's Bishop Stakes at Saratoga in 2007.

According to a statement from Applebite, E Z Warrior will stand for $2,500, with "generous considerations" to approved mares. By Exploit, E Z Warrior is out of Carson Jen, who also is the dam of J Z Warrior, a stakes winner who earned $328,118.