03/28/2003 12:00AM

Maryland breeding: New York Hero has roots elsewhere

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Don't be misled by the name. New York Hero, the colt who vaulted several spaces ahead on the Triple Crown trail with his victory in the Grade 2 Lane's End Stakes on March 22, is totally a product of Maryland breeding.

More specifically, he owes his origins to the well-represented breeding program at David and JoAnn Hayden's Dark Hollow Farm in Upperco, Md.

The Haydens overcame all odds as the breeder of 1989 Eclipse Award-winning sprinter Safely Kept, produced from a hard-hitting though modestly pedigreed mare, Safely Home, whom they claimed for $11,500. New York Hero - the fifth graded stakes winner to represent the Haydens as breeders - is cast from that mold.

New York Hero is from the first crop of his sire, Partner's Hero (by Danzig), a half-brother to Safely Kept. Sold by the Haydens for $390,000 at the 1995 Saratoga yearling sale, Partner's Hero proved an accomplished sprinter in his own right, winning or placing in 13 stakes, including the Grade 2 Kentucky Cup Sprint, and earning $544,731. Standing at Northview Stallion Station in Chesapeake City, Md., Partner's Hero led the list of Maryland's freshman sires in 2002, and currently ranks as the third leading second-crop sire in the nation.

The Haydens, who own two shares in Partner's Hero, credit Bill Beatson for steering them toward the mating that resulted in New York Hero.

David Hayden recalled running into Beatson at the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic February mixed sale in 1998: "He asked me to look at a mare he owned part of, who was being sold to dissolve a partnership."

The mare, Nin Two (by longtime Maryland stallion John Alden), was offered along with her just-turned-yearling colt by Smarten.

"The colt really impressed me," said Hayden. "I thought he was the best yearling at the sale."

Nin Two, sold on a final bid of $19,000, left the sale with the Haydens and Beatson as equal co-owners. The Haydens also privately purchased a half-interest in the Smarten colt, who did not meet his $15,000 reserve, and took a quick profit when the colt sold for $30,000 at the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic Eastern fall yearling sale. Resold for $95,000 at the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic 2-year-olds in training sale, the colt, named Trams, developed into a stakes-placed earner of $91,470.

Like the Haydens' legendary broodmare, Safely Home, Nin Two was a hard-trying if unspectacular performer on the racetrack. She campaigned for six seasons, making 85 starts, winning 17 races, placing in 25 others, and earning $80,639. There is class in her pedigree, though: Her dam, Snared (by Insubordination), produced three stakes horses, including Ms. Rutledge, winner of the 1987 Maryland Million Distaff Handicap.

New York Hero is the second foal Nin Two produced for the Hayden/ Beatson partnership. Sold for only $6,000 at the 2001 Keeneland September yearling sale, New York Hero then was consigned to the 2002 Fasig-Tipton Midlantic 2-year-olds in training sale at Timonium, where agent Buzz Chace, acting on behalf of owner Ernie Paragallo, bought him for $135,000. He was the sixth-highest-priced colt in the sale.

Unraced at 2, New York Hero has finished first or second in each of his five starts, and captured the Lane's End in his stakes debut.

Some might see him as the Hero who got away. But not David Hayden. "We still have the mare - and the stallion," Hayden pointed out.

The Haydens and Beatson plan to sell Nin Two's 2-year-old Wekiva Springs filly at the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic 2-year-olds in training sale. They also have a Runaway Groom yearling colt out of Nin Two. The mare does not have a 2003 foal, but conceived this year to Not for Love on a February cover.