10/12/2006 11:00PM

Homebred filly highly coveted

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Maryland-breds ranked among the top sellers at the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic Eastern fall yearling sale, held Oct.o2-4 at Timonium. A Maryland-bred daughter of Forestry, sold for $200,000, tied for second-highest price among the 658 yearlings who were purchased at the sale, the largest horse auction ever held in the state. At $170,000, another Maryland-bred filly (by Johannesburg) was among the 14 yearlings who brought $150,000 or more.

The Forestry filly - the only offspring of that hot young stallion in the sale - boasts strong ties to her home state. Already named Crimson Hope, she was bred by Frank P. Wright, who with his wife, Ginny, is a long-prominent Maryland breeder/owner.

The Wrights have bred and raced numerous good runners during the past 25 years from their 340-acre Huntingfields Farm in Hampstead, Md. Among the finest has been Crimson Hope's dam, Blue Sky Princess (by Conquistador Cielo), a multiple stakes-winning and Grade 2-placed earner of $253,015.

A streak of good fortune began when the Wrights privately purchased the handsomely bred mare Richly Rewarded (by Nijinsky II) as a broodmare prospect from their friend David L. Brooks. Unraced due to injury, Richly Rewarded, a foal of 1987, was out of graded winner Dowery, who was also the dam of Grade 2 winner Minister Wife.

Richly Rewarded produced Blue Sky Princess as her first foal, in 1992. She gave the Wrights another stakes winner, Vaguely Rich (by Caveat), before her untimely death from foaling complications in 2000.

Blue Sky Princess soon stepped in to fill the void, producing her first foal in 1997. Inner Harbour, a son of Capote, won or placed in seven stakes, earning $339,056. Still owned by the Wrights, Inner Harbour is launching a stud career at O'Sullivan Farms near Charles Town, W.Va. His first crop are weanlings.

The Wrights breed primarily to race, keeping about a dozen mares - three of whom are daughters of Richly Rewarded - and marketing a few of their best yearlings each season to bolster their farm operation. Richly Rewarded's 1999 daughter Royal Feat (by Kingmambo) retired after one start on the racetrack, but produced as her second foal the Hennessy filly Rosy Wreath, who was reserve champion at the 2006 Maryland Horse Breeders Association Yearling Show judged by trainer Tim Ritchey. The Wrights sold Rosy Wreath for $170,000 at the Saratoga select yearling sale.

Most of Blue Sky Princess's foals have gone to auction, with four of them (two colts and two fillies) grossing a total of $845,000. The most expensive has been an Unbridled's Song colt, Sing One Song, sold on a $280,000 bid by Pin Oak Stud at the 2002 Keeneland September yearling sale.

Blue Sky Princess has a 2006 colt by Malibu Moon and is in foal for 2007 to Saint Liam.

This fall's $200,000 yearling sales price came as no surprise to either the Wrights or to agent Bill Reightler, who consigned Crimson Hope to the auction.

"This is an example of a filly who developed beautifully the more she matured," said Reightler. "Having that extra time to develop is one of the nice features of the October sale in Maryland."

Reightler said Crimson Hope, a large, athletic bay, generated strong interest among prospective buyers who came to look at horses before the sale. Florida-based agent Tony Bowling, who signed the ticket on behalf of himself and partner Bobby Dodd, had the filly on his short list from the time he arrived at the sales grounds. Bowling and Dodd indicated they plan to resell Crimson Hope at the Fasig-Tipton Calder February sale of 2-year-olds in training.

Huntingfields Farm manager Chuck Harris was credited with preparing Crimson Hope for the sale.

The second highest-priced Maryland-bred, a filly by Johannesburg out of Colonial Ball, came from the consignment of Carolyn and Ron Green's Green Willow Farms of Westminster, Md., and was purchased by R. Larry Johnson.

Not for Love led all Maryland sires at the sale, with nine of his offspring selling for $50,000 or more.