02/20/2003 1:00AM

New Maryland sires follow big footsteps


Over the years, Maryland breeders have been able to find diamonds in the rough among young stallions, and local support has helped to create more than a few leading sires.

Back in the 1930's, it was Challenger II, who was imported by William Brann and Robert Castle to stand at Glade Valley Farms near Frederick. Challenger II became the nation's leading sire with such champions as Challedon and Gallorette. In recent years, Country Life Farm's Allen's Prospect has been the nation's perennial leading sire of winners, holding that distinction for the past five years.

Maryland's top five sires by money won in 2002 - Allen's Prospect, Not for Love, Two Punch, Polish Numbers, and Citidancer - all have stood exclusively in Maryland. Maryland's new additions this year will look for their place in history.

Northview Stallion Station in Chesapeake City has consistently produced top-class sires since opening its doors in 1992. Northview hit immediately with the first stallion the farm syndicated, when Polish Numbers entered stud that season.

Polish Numbers rose to the top of the Maryland ranks, becoming the state's leading sire in 1998. Thus, the death of Polish Numbers last November at the relatively young age of 15 was a blow to Maryland breeders.

Northview had already announced the addition of a new stallion - Polish Miner - only weeks before Polish Numbers's death.

Polish Miner, like Polish Numbers, is a son of sire of sires Danzig. Both were bred by Ogden Phipps and his family. Polish Numbers is out of a daughter of Buckpasser, while Polish Miner is out of a granddaughter of that legendary Phipps runner.

Polish Miner put together a longer racing campaign than did Polish Numbers, who placed in one stakes race during his 11-race career. Polish Miner made 30 starts and was stakes placed five times, while racing from age 2 to 5, earning $344,646. During his juvenile season, Polish Miner was never off the board, winning his maiden by nearly 10 lengths and finishing in the money in the Nashua and Remsen Stakes, both graded races.

Six-year-old Polish Miner is out of Mr. Prospector's daughter Miner's Game, a full sister to champion and top sire Seeking the Gold and a half-sister to stakes winners and sires Fast Play and Stacked Pack. Polish Miner's third dam, Broadway, produced four stakes winners, including champion Queen of the Stage and Reviewer, sire of Ruffian.

As it did with Polish Numbers, Northview offers Polish Miner for $3,500 his first year, payable when the foal stands and nurses.

Thornmar's newest a son of Storm Cat

Another farm to stand a top Maryland sire is Thornmar in Chestertown. Cynthia and Charles McGinnes's farm is home to the retired stallion Horatius, sire of Eclipse Award winner Safely Kept. Thornmar's newest stallion is 7-year-old Cyclone Cat, a son of Storm Cat.

An allowance winner of $33,340 in nine starts, Cyclone Cat is out of graded stakes winner Highland Crystal. A course record-setter at Gulfstream Park and an earner of $380,910, Highland Crystal is a half-sister to Grade 1 winners Miss Josh ($758,202, winner of the Grade 1 Gamely Handicap) and Royal Mountain Inn ($433,194, winner of the Grade 1 Man o' War Stakes), as well as graded winner Highland Spring ($403,579, winner of the Grade 3 Appleton Handicap) and stakes-placed Rejoyced and Royal Highlander. The six stakes runners are out of the Pia Star mare Highland Mills, a half-sister to graded winner Le Slew.

Back to the international well

William Rickman Sr. has twice gone to a source of international top-class pedigrees to find new stallions. Last year, Rickman brought in the Juddmonte Farms-bred Dumyat to stand at his William's Grove Farm in Chesapeake City.

This year he adds Gyrfalcon, who also stands for private contract. A 5-year-old winning son of champion Zafonic, Gyrfalcon is out of Monroe, a group-winning daughter of Sir Ivor. Gyrfalcon is a full brother to Xaar, a 2-year-old champion in Europe who won two Group 1 races - the Prix de la Salamandre and Dewhurst stakes. Monroe produced a total of seven stakes horses from 15 foals, including additional group winners Masterclass, who was second in the Group 1 Grand Criterium at 2, and Diese, dam of the Grade 1 United Nations Handicap winner, Senure.

Kenneth Tucker stands first-year stallion Precious Marque at Taino Farms in Bowie. A 5-year-old winning son of Marquetry, Precious Marque is out of Set for Gold (by Java Gold), a half-sister to millionaire Twice the Vice.

Precious Marque stands for $500 live foal.

Trim Account begins his career at Penny Ante Acres in Whiteford. A 10-year-old son of Private Account, Trim Account campaigned for eight years, and the stakes-placed runner retires with earnings of $132,678. Out of stakes winner and Grade 1-placed Trim Colony (by Pleasant Colony) from the family of champion and leading sire Hoist the Flag, Trim Account stands for $1,000 live foal as the property of Catherine Herbert.

Two proven stallions move to Maryland

Two stallions who moved to Maryland for the 2003 season are Smart Guy and Prussian Blue.

Smart Guy, who stood in Pennsylvania last year, earned $462,740 during a career in which he won four stakes and placed in six others. Smart Guy's biggest score came in the Grade 3 Pennsylvania Derby. He also won the Northern Dancer Stakes, Francis (Jock) Labelle Memorial Stakes, and Deputed Testamony Stakes - by a combined margin of nearly 24 lengths. By Smarten out of Royal Tali, by Talc, 7-year-old Smart Guy is a full brother to Maragold Princess. He stands for $1,500 live foal at Conowingo Lake Farm in Conowingo as the property of David M. Malatesta.

Prussian Blue, a graded stakes winner of $225,341, stands at Glasgow Farm in Millington after standing in North Carolina last year.

Winner of Santa Anita's Grade 2 Carleton F. Burke Handicap and a stakes winner in France, Prussian Blue earned $225,341. An 11-year-old son of Polish Navy, Prussian Blue is out of Lit'l Rose, who is also the dam of stakes winner Handsome Hunk. Owned by Tamarack Hill Farm Inc., Prussian Blue stands for $1,000 live foal.