10/30/2008 11:00PM

Lycurgus is Wade's latest


Breeding racehorses may not be an exact science, but David Wade makes it look that way.

Wade, the manager of Richard Golden's Sycamore Hall Farm in Chesapeake City, Md., breeds one, or at most two, foals on his own account each year.

In slightly more than a decade, he has been represented by seven stakes horses - four of them stakes winners. Two have been voted Maryland-bred champions.

Wade's record grew yet more illustrious last Saturday when Lycurgus, a 5-year-old gelding by Not for Love, ran the race of his life to win the Mister Diz Stakes against statebreds at Laurel Park.

As a turf sprinter who prefers to come from off the pace, and smaller than most of his rivals, Lycurgus has not had the easiest of careers.

But trainer Scott Lake had him primed and ready to go when the 5 1/2-furlong Mister Diz was washed off the turf.

Owner Toby Roth said he never considered scratching the horse.

"Once we enter a race, we stay in," declared Roth.

Untested on dirt since last March, Lycurgus powered to a one-length score in the Mister Diz, stopping the timer over a sloppy track in a creditable 1:03.98. He paid $17.40 as the fourth choice in a field of eight.

Lake claimed Lycurgus on Roth's behalf for $25,000 at Delaware Park in April 2007, and has sent him out to win five races and earn well over $100,000.

Until the Mister Diz, Lycurgus's most noteworthy performance had come in this year's Maryland Million Turf Sprint, on Oct. 4 at Laurel. Though forced wide, he was beaten only three-quarters of a length by the winner, Kosmo's Buddy.

Lycurgus is a grandson of Wade's foundation mare, Sunny Sparkler (by Sunny Clime).

Herself a granddaughter of champion handicap mare Blue Sparkler, Sunny Sparkler lived up to her name after Wade purchased her for only $5,500 at the 1992 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky January sale.

She produced three stakes horses, including Smart Sunny (by Smarten), a stakes winner of $368,072 bred in partnership with Golden, and the 2001 champion Maryland-bred filly Sparkling Number (by Polish Numbers).

Sparkling Number, a three-time stakes winner of $149,200, raced for Golden, who purchased her from Wade for $57,000 at the 1999 Fasig-Tipton Midlantic Eastern fall yearling sale.

Sunny Sparkler's third stakes performer is Canavakiss, a 1997 daughter of Rakeen who made her racing career for Wade. Trained by Graham Motion, Canavakiss won 3 of 8 starts and earned $63,650. She gained black type with a third-place finish in the Maryland Million Ladies Stakes.

One of two broodmares currently in production for Wade, Canavakiss produced Lycurgus as her first foal. Wade has sold two of Canavakiss's offspring at auction as yearlings for a total of $130,000. The more expensive of the two was Lycurgus, who brought $75,000 at the 2004 Keeneland September yearling sale and boasts career earnings of $213,737.

Still owned by Wade is Canavakiss's 4-year-old daughter Totally Toxic (by Not for Love), who did not make it to the races. Wade intends to breed her to Dance With Ravens in 2009.

Wade also has Canavakiss's yearling filly by Domestic Dispute and weanling filly by Lemon Drop Kid. The mare is in foal to Dance With Ravens.

Meanwhile, Sparkling Number is a member of Golden's broodmare band. Her Songandaprayer filly sold for $50,000 at this year's Eastern fall yearling sale. She has a weanling colt by Lemon Drop Kid and is in foal to More Than Ready.

For the record, Wade's other Maryland-bred champion is Celestial Legend, the state's juvenile filly star of 2005. Bred in partnership with William T. Fitzgibbons Sr., Celestial Legend (City Zip-Lunar's Legend, by Polish Numbers) was sold by the breeders for $45,000 at the 2004 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky July Yearling sale. In 9 starts, she won 4 stakes, placed in graded company, and earned $213,730.