04/28/2005 11:00PM

Horse farm a part of the latest 'XXX' action

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Maryland's newest brush with Hollywood definitely isn't "Seabiscuit."

Explosions, commandos storming about, and Ice Cube are featured in the movie "XXX State of the Union," which had many scenes filmed around the Baltimore area. And don't be fooled by references to the "Virginia farm." The production company spent a couple of weeks at Allen and Audrey Murray's Murmur Farm in Darlington, Md., last September.

The Murrays have many mementos from the experience of having a movie shot in their back yard, including photos taken with two of the movie's stars, Ice Cube and Scott Speedman, as well as parts of the set that were left behind, including modifications to the farm's bank barn.

"The entire production was just fascinating," said Audrey Murray. "Hundreds of people would be out every day, and their work hours were long. Our farm crew would hurry with the chores in the morning and spend the rest of the day watching them film."

The selection of Murmur Farm for the action film was done through the Maryland Film Office, which was scouting sites around the state.

"They came in with the movie's director, looked around, and liked the red barns, white fencing, and long driveway," Murray said.

Don't expect to see any familiar horses in the background, however, as all the farm's residents were kept safely in their barns or back fields. Only in a Hollywood production would "stunt horses" be brought onto a farm full of horses. And you won't see the Murrays, either.

"While a lot of local people were extras, no one from the farm joined the actors' union to be part of it," said Murray. However, one farm resident ended up on the cutting room floor. "During a scene in the barn, one of our old cats strolled down the isle and past the 'dead body' on the ground. They had to reshoot that scene."

Homebred Celtic Innis scores

The Murrays had their picture taken on April 23 at Pimlico when their homebred Celtic Innis got up to win the $100,000 Maryland Stallion Station Stakes at nearly 13-1.

"He had run only a few times, but [trainer] Tim Keefe loves this horse and suggested trying him in this race," said Murray.

Three-year-old Celtic Innis is by the Murmur Farm stallion Yarrow Brae out of Harp Innis, a daughter of Phone Trick.

"I was ready to sell the mare, since we couldn't market anything out of her, but Allen wanted to keep her," said Murray. Harp Innis's first two foals sold at public auction for a total of $4,000, and include $86,355-earner Clever Yankee, a 4-year-old full brother to Celtic Innis who won an allowance at Mountaineer on April 19. The Murrays sold Harp Innis's Disco Rico 2-year-old filly privately last fall and have her yearling colt by Crypto Star and a Louis Quatorze suckling colt. Harp Innis has been bred back to Yarrow Brae.

The Maryland Horse Breeders Association and Maryland Million each put up a total of $200,000 in purse money for eligible runners on the day, and named three stakes for three of Maryland's major breeding farms: the Northview Stallion Station, Country Life Farm, and Maryland Stallion Station. The Maryland Million will next offer $50,000 for the Murmur Farm Starter Handicap for nominated horses, which is to be run on the Preakness Day card.

"We were pleased with the first joint effort between the Maryland Horse Breeders Association and Maryland Million to provide races for eligible horses," said Cricket Goodall, executive director for both, who noted that of the 18 entrants in the three restricted races, 11 were eligible for the entire $100,000 purse.

Dixie Talking retired

Skeedattle Associates' talented 3-year-old filly Dixie Talking, who had been listed among possible starters for the Kentucky Oaks, has been retired because of injury. She was bred last Monday to Fusaichi Pegasus.

A Skeedattle partner, Willie White, said trainer Robin Graham had noted that Dixie Talking "wasn't 100 percent." White said that the filly's injury, to the pastern area on her right front, was "small but substantial - it was enough that we didn't want to take a chance on running her again."

Dixie Talking, who burst on the scene last December with a victory in the Maryland Juvenile Filly Championship Stakes in her second start, won the Grade 3 Cicada Stakes at Aqueduct most impressively last out. A daughter of Dixieland Band out of Skeedattle's graded-stakes-winning mare Gin Talking, she retires with three victories from four starts and earnings of $141,810.