01/19/2007 12:00AM

Les Arcs sprints to top of Maryland-bred earner's list


Maryland's top breeder and sire of 2006 are well-known performers who built on past successes. But as for the richest statebred runner? His year was meteoric.

For one magical month during the summer, Les Arcs ranked among the world's best sprinters. And overall, no other Maryland-bred topped his accomplishments for the season.

Last year at age 6, Les Arcs earned $855,075 with 6 wins from 10 starts, and won two six-furlong Group 1 races within a three-week span.

The enigmatic Les Arcs appeared an unlikely candidate to become one of Europe's best sprinters after spending the first three years of his career doing anything but sprinting.

From 23 starts through June 2005, Les Arcs raced primarily at distances beyond a mile and was even tried once over hurdles. An Arch gelding owned by Willie McKay, Les Arcs was turned over to trainer Tim Pitt in the fall of 2005, and he proceeded to win his next five starts, including his first stakes, the six-furlong Cammidge Trophy at Redcar in March 2006.

Les Arcs blossomed at the Royal Ascot meet in June.

After finishing 11th in the Group 2 King's Stand Stakes to Takeover Target (although he was beaten only a total of 1 1/2 lengths), Les Arcs returned four days later to turn the tables on Takeover Target (who finished third) in winning the Group 1 Golden Jubilee Stakes. When Les Arcs reappeared at Newmarket in July, he valiantly pulled off the victory in the Group 1 July Cup. Both Group 1 races paid out a purse in excess of $600,000.

Les Arcs didn't return to the races until October in the Group 1 Sprinters Stakes in Japan, where he finished seventh (beaten 3 3/4 lengths) to Takeover Target.

Bred by Jim Moran's Elk Manor Farm in North East, Md., Les Arcs is out of the Cormorant mare La Sarto. His year-younger half-brother, White Mountain Boy, had a much different career, winning stakes at ages 2 and 3.

Leading breeders

Dr. and Mrs. Thomas Bowman led Maryland breeders in number of stakes winners.

A renowned equine veterinarian Tom Bowman and his wife, Chris, were represented by seven stakes winners in 2006 (including those bred in partnerships). Leading the charge was 3-year-old Point Determined, the Bob Baffert-trained colt who won or placed in four graded stakes last year to earn $393,400.

A $290,000 Keeneland September sales yearling, Point Determined was purchased by Bob and Beverly Lewis for $750,000 at the Barretts March 2006 2-year-olds in training sale. Close finishes at Santa Anita last spring, including a solid second to Brother Derek in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby, prompted the colt's connections to try the Kentucky Derby. While he wound up ninth behind Barbaro in the Derby, Point Determined rebounded to win the Grade 3 Affirmed Handicap at Hollywood Park the following month.

A son of Point Given, Point Determined is out the graded-stakes-winning mare Merengue (by Broad Brush), and was bred by the Bowmans in partnership with their longtime friend, Milton P. Higgins III (who campaigned Merengue), and Robert N. Clay (owner of Three Chimneys Farm, home to Point Given).

The other six 2006 stakes winners bred by the Bowmans and foaled at their Dance Forth Farm in Chestertown, Md., were juvenile colt Clifton Park, 3-year-olds Smart and Fancy and Raise the Bluff, sprinter Ironton, the filly Yolanda B. Too, and graded-stakes-winning steeplechaser Good Night Shirt. The Bowmans previously earned the Maryland Horse Breeders Association's leading breeder award in 1998 and 2005.

Leading sire

For the fourth year in a row, Not for Love led all Maryland sires by North American earnings, and ranked 25th in the nation when his progeny amassed a total of $4.6 million in 2006.

Half of Not for Love's eight stakes winners in 2006 won on the same day (Oct. 14). He was represented by Maryland Million winners Private Scandal (Turf), Smart and Fancy (Oaks), and Ironton (who took the Sprint to give his sire his fourth consecutive winner of that race). Later that October evening, Not for Love's son Not for Sam won his third consecutive West Virginia Dash for Cash Breeders Classic Stakes. Not for Love's leading earner last year was two-time stakes winner Private Scandal, who netted $181,070.

Now 17, Not for Love (Mr. Prospector-Dance Number, by Northern Dancer) has made his entire stud career at Northview Stallion Station in Chesapeake City.