10/18/2007 11:00PM

Not for Love hits a triple in Million

EmailAny clouds on the Maryland breeding industry's horizon were nowhere to be found on Maryland Million Day 2007, held Oct. 13 at Laurel Park. This year's renewal was the most successful in the 22-year history of the event.

"Maryland needed Maryland Million Day this year," said Cricket Goodall, the event's executive director. "It was good news and continues to be the bright spot on the fall racing calendar."

Perfect weather boosted the exuberance of the record crowd of 26,788, and all-sources wagering on the 12-race card totaled $5,985,793, nearly $1 million over the previous record.

"It shows that when you put on an interesting and competitive card, the fans will pay attention," said Goodall. "We are proud of what we do here - the stallions that stand here, and the event that recognizes their importance."

The purpose of the Maryland Million program, launched by famed broadcaster Jim McKay, is to point the spotlight on the state's stallions and celebrate the breeders who support them. Ten stallions had winners on the card, with five gaining their first Maryland Million win.

Only one stallion had multiple scores: the state's leading sire, Not for Love. With three winners on the day, Not for Love now has sired the winners of 14 Maryland Million races, to rank second behind only longtime leader Allen's Prospect (with 21). Not for Love has had two or more winners on a card for six consecutive years.

Northview Stallion Station in Chesapeake City is home to Not for Love, whose winners were Love for Not in the Lassie for 2-year-old fillies, Forty Crowns in the Turf, and Akronism in the Distaff. Other Northview sires with winners were Two Punch, who got his 11th Maryland Million trophy with a victory by Grand Champion in the Sprint; Lion Hearted (Maddy's Heart, Ladies); the deceased Crowd Pleaser (Happy Surprise, Turf Sprint); and former resident Diamond (Be Oh Be, Sprint Starter Handicap).

One stallion who was represented for the first time on Maryland Million Day got his first winner - classic winner Louis Quatorze, whose first Maryland-sired crop are 2-year-olds. Louis Quatorze's only offspring entered, his son Regal Solo, captured the $150,000 Maryland Million Nursery after an eventful trip and a thrilling stretch run.

Audrey Murray bred and owns Regal Solo with her husband, Allen. Louis Quatorze stands at the Murrays' Murmur Farm in Darlington, Md. "I wasn't confident at all when I saw the field he was facing - it was a nice surprise," Audrey Murray said.

Jockey Ryan Fogelsonger was confident, however, and had Regal Solo, who broke from post 1 at odds of 9-1, tucked in behind the pacesetters along the rail during the early stages of the seven-furlong Nursery. But Fogelsonger had a lot of horse and nowhere to go as the field headed into the far turn.

When an opening finally materialized, Regal Solo shot through and put in an impressive drive down the middle of the track. He got up to win by a nose in a three-horse photo with Smooth It Over and odds-on choice Izzy Speaking, and survived an objection afterward.

The Maryland Million victory was the first for the Murrays, who had come close in the past, with two second-place finishes. And it followed an announcement the day before that Scipion, a graded stakes-winning son of

A.P. Indy, will be standing his first season at Murmur Farm.

"What a week for us - these are two wonderful horses," said Audrey Murray.

Scipion is a three-quarter-brother to champion juvenile Vindication, one of this year's leading freshman sires. Bred and raced by Virginia Kraft Payson, who is retaining a part interest, the 5-year-old Scipion is currently being syndicated. His 2008 stud fee has been set for $6,000 live foal, payable when the foal stands and nurses.