Updated on 09/16/2011 7:02AM

Proud Greida's amazing story


Proud Greida could be just another face in a crowd, but she has been at the center of one amazing story after another at the Boniface family's Bonita Farm in Darlington, Md.

A 12-year-old gray daughter of Proud Truth, Proud Greida was a modest winner and had produced just one foal before the Bonifaces purchased her for $7,000 in 1996 at the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic December mixed sale.

"We thought she would cross well with our stallion Swear by Dixie," said Billy Boniface, who is in charge of Bonita's breeding division. In the Bonifaces' first attempt at that mating, they got an unexpected surprise when Proud Greida foaled a pint-sized colt. Nicknamed Patrick, the colt became one of the most intriguing story lines in the critically acclaimed television series "Thoroughbred," which aired on the Animal Planet cable channel a year ago and examined life on a Thoroughbred farm.

Proud Greida was carrying a foal by Press Card at the time of her purchase: First Amendment. Now 5, First Amendment dominated last week's 1 1/8-mile Harrison E. Johnson Memorial Handicap at Laurel Park for his first added-money victory. He led every step to score by 3 1/4 lengths over an evenly matched field of six accomplished stakes winners.

First Amendment competed for Bonita Farm and client Betsy Sapp early in his career, winning a maiden special weight on Dec. 29, 1999, at Laurel Park.

"I believe that win was also shown on the series," said Billy Boniface.

Three months later, in his first attempt at a distance of ground, First Amendment aired by 8 1/2 lengths and was claimed for $14,500 by trainer Dale Capuano for owner Harvey Linden. He went on to win half of his six starts during the rest of the season, all at 1 1/16 miles in allowance and high-priced claiming company.

After nearly a year off, First Amendment returned to competition, winning back-to-back 1 1/16-mile optional claimers at Delaware Park late last summer. In October, he was dropped in for a $50,000 claiming price at the same track, and was taken by Massachusetts businessman Michael Gill. In his next five starts, First Amendment won twice at the $50,000 claiming level, and attempted the Native Dancer Handicap in January, in which he finished fifth.

Gill, currently ranked second on the nation's leading owners list by number of wins behind 2001 Eclipse Award winner Richard Englander, keeps seven mares at Bonita Farm. He told the Bonifaces to keep an eye out for First Amendment, that the horse was capable of a stakes win.

First Amendment went off as fifth choice of the six betting interests in the Harrison Johnson. With the victory, First Amendment boosted his earnings to $204,150 and has won 10 of his 22 lifetime starts.

Proud Greida has produced two winners from her first two foals, but her luck took a bad turn. Her 1998 Valley Crossing filly broke down in a training accident and was euthanized. The mare was barren in 1999.

When Roundabout Productions was shooting "Thoroughbred" in 2000, they wanted to film a foaling. Proud Greida was close to her due date, so they followed her. And waited. And waited.

After more than a month, on March 17, the mare finally produced a tiny foal, a surviving twin, who fought for his life every day. Nurtured by Billy Boniface and the rest of the crew, little Patrick held his own, exhibiting a feisty attitude and an incredible will to live.

Now 2, Patrick, or officially Patrick's Luck - "The Jockey Club said Patrick was already taken," said Boniface - has been broken and is turned out, with hopes he will grow.

"If he grows, he'll be a race horse, if not, he'll be a racing pony," said Boniface. Patrick currently stands at 13 1/2 hands. "He's feisty and sound, he's just really small," he continued.

Patrick made such an impression on those who watched the series that he continues to get e-mails every day from fans who want to know his progress. And Roundabout Productions continues to film Patrick as he matures, for a possible follow-up episode in the future.

Meanwhile, Proud Greida, carrying her first foal since Patrick, is once again slightly overdue and expected to go any day. In foal to Valley Crossing, she is scheduled to be bred back to Swear by Dixie.