03/11/2005 12:00AM

Parole Board bursts onto the scene


With the injured Declan's Moon sadly removed from the Triple Crown trail, another colt could fulfill Kentucky Derby dreams for Marylanders in 2005.

A previously unheard-of Maryland-bred has established himself as the likely favorite for the $2 million, Group 2 United Arab Emirates Derby on Dubai World Cup Day, March 26.

The horse is Parole Board, a 3-year-old colt by Dynaformer, who burst on the scene March 5 with a victory in the Al Bastakiya, a $150,000 race at Nad al Sheba that is considered the second leg of the United Arab Emirates Triple Crown.

Owned by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum, Parole Board was unraced at 2, and has risen high in only three starts this season. He finished second in his debut at Nad al Sheba on Jan. 27, then scored an easy 4 1/2-length victory in the San Isidro International Stakes at that track on Feb. 24.

Like just about everyone else in the United States, Parole Board's breeder, Dan Ryan, is amazed by the sudden turn of events.

Russell Jones was the bloodstock agent who advised Ryan on the purchase of Parole Board's dam. When he faxed Ryan a copy of the chart after the colt won his first race, "it took me a week to figure out what racetrack it was," said Ryan.

"Now we are all very excited," he said.

Ryan has owned and bred horses in Maryland for about 20 years, but until now his closest brushes with fame in the horse world have come through his parents, Jim Ryan and the late Eleanor Ross, who bred and raced champions Heavenly Cause and Smart Angle, and 1983 Belmont Stakes winner Caveat.

Dan Ryan was 24 when he watched Caveat win the Belmont. "It was exhilarating," he said, "and it definitely made me think this was something I wanted to do."

He is the second-oldest of five children, three of whom are owner-breeders. Jim Jr., the oldest, once maintained a sizable operation at his Ryver Meadow Farm in Maryland. And Barbara, the youngest sibling, is the proprietor of Thunder Hill Farm in Myersville, Md.

"Barbara is the horse lover of the family," said Dan Ryan, who maintains most of his breeding stock at Thunder Hill, where Parole Board was foaled. "I wouldn't be in the horse business today, if it weren't for Barbara and Thunder Hill."

Along with his breeding operation, which includes nearly 20 mares, Ryan has about 20 horses in training with three different trainers - Mike Pino at Fair Grounds and Philadelphia Park, Ronney Brown at Charles Town, and Michelle Sharp at Tampa Bay.

Ryan followed his father's lead in the home-building business, starting his own company, Dan Ryan Builders, based in Mt. Airy, Md., in 1990.

Three years ago, Ryan set about upgrading his broodmare band, and as a result of that move purchased Parole Board's dam, the Irish-bred Forget About It, by Be My Guest, for $75,000 at the 2002 Keeneland January sale. The mare was carrying Parole Board, her third foal.

"Russell [Jones] chose her, along with two others," said Ryan. "He tends to like Irish-breds."

Forget About It, a half-sister to Group 3 winner Camargo, won or placed in 5 of her 7 starts in the United Kingdom, earning $46,189.

Ryan sold Parole Board for $180,000 at the 2003 Keeneland September yearling sale. The mare's current 2-year-old colt, by Chester House, failed to meet his reserve at Keeneland the following year, and is in training for Ryan at the Webb Carroll Training Center in South Carolina.

Forget About It, 10, did not have a foal in 2004, but has a Mizzen Mast filly at her side, and is expected to be bred back to Dynaformer.