02/13/2009 1:00AM

Rest of the Mid-Atlantic acts cautiously


Breeding operations in the Mid-Atlantic region, removing Pennsylvania from the equation, have been taking a precautionary approach to the 2009 season, with fewer new stallions settling into the region than in the past. Of those new for 2009, graded-stakes winners and durable runners make up the majority of the recent arrivals.


The number of stallions standing in Maryland dropped to a new low in 2008, with the connections of 45 submitting reports of mares bred to The Jockey Club. But the average book size per stallion once again far surpassed the surrounding states, with an average of 27 mares going to each of the state's stallions, compared to the next highest-ranked, Pennsylvania, with 14 mares per book. In fact, in the United States, only Kentucky stallions on average had larger books (67 mares per stallion).

Passage of a constitutional amendment authorizing slot machines to fund education, as well as support the Maryland racing industry, will allow as many as 15,000 video lottery terminals to be placed at five locations in the state, offering renewed hope for growth. But slots revenue is still some time off, and with the state of the current economy, Maryland stallion owners continue to tread cautiously.

Only two stallions have been announced as new to Maryland in 2009.

Allen and Audrey Murray's Murmur Farm is now home to Rush Bay. A graded stakes winner at 3 and 4 and the earner of $742,846, Rush Bay is standing his first full season after test breeding a handful of mares in Kentucky in 2008. One of the mares bred to Rush Bay last year is currently in residence at Murmur and due to foal in March.

Bred and campaigned by Mueller Thoroughbred Stables, Rush Bay excelled on turf, winning three stakes over the surface. However, at 2 he won a maiden special over the main track at Churchill Downs by nearly seven lengths and finished second in the Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes. By turf champion and major sire Cozzene, 7-year-old Rush Bay is out of a half-sister to millionaire Chorwon (by Cozzene). His stud fee is $3,500.

Unbridled Mate, owned by Joe Antao's J&S Stables, is by Unbridled's Song out of Bishop's Mate (by Lyphard), a full sister to multiple graded winner Fairy Garden.

An allowance winner of $107,229, Unbridled Mate is from the family of Dream Empress, Yonaguska, and Guided Tour. The 9-year-old gray stallion, whose oldest foals are now yearlings, is standing for $1,500 at Royal Wux Farm in Chestertown.

New Jersey

Graded stakes winner and $3.4 million sales yearling Sahara Heat is one of two new stallions standing his first season in New Jersey.

A son of A.P. Indy, Sahara Heat captured the 2007 Grade 3 Marine Stakes at Woodbine during his 3-year-old season. Compromised by a foot injury, he retired with earnings of $170,858.

Sahara Heat is out of graded stakes winner Sahara Gold (by Seeking the Gold); his second dam is Breeders' Cup Sprint winner Desert Stormer.

Currently being syndicated, Sahara Heat stands for $5,000, but with an added twist. The fee isn't due until the resulting foal wins a race.

New Jersey-bred stakes winner Hey Chub has been retired to Joe-Dan Farm in Medford, where he stands for $2,000. A homebred for Joe-Dan, Hey Chub, now 9, campaigned for six years, winning 7 races, with 16 seconds and 7 thirds from 36 starts, while earning $441,635.

By major sprinter Carson City out of stakes winner Donna Doo (by Spend a Buck), Hey Chub is a half-brother to stakes winner Saltwater Runner. Hey Chub's second dam, stakes winner Nasty Affair, also produced graded winner Mountain Affair as well as Shaunlee, the dam of 2008 Maryland Million Classic winner Cuba. Also found in the family is the very successful longtime Maryland sire Horatius, sire of Eclipse Award-winning sprinter Safely Kept.


Mid-Atlantic Stallion Station at Ravenwood Farm has jumped up as a stallion source in Virginia, standing four new stallions at the facility in Crewe. All four stand for $1,000.

Hydrogen is a multiple stakes winner closely related to top-class handicap horse Behrens. By classic-winning champion Pleasant Colony, 10-year-old Hydrogen earned $582,269 over six seasons of competition, winning or placing in 31 of his 48 starts.

Durable Favorite Sweep, a 10-year-old son of End Sweep, earned $422,587 the hard way, making 93 starts over seven seasons while winning or placing 40 times. A full brother to stakes-placed $296,750 earner Favorite Ending, Favorite Sweep is out of the General Assembly mare In Favor. His second dam, Optimistic Gal, was a six-time Grade 1 winner whose additional 10 stakes wins or placings were all graded races.

Winner Gold Avenue, by Polish Numbers, is a half-brother to stakes winner Slew o' Platinum from the family of Grade 1 winner Joe's Tammie. His dam is stakes winner Platinum Punch (by Two Punch).

Race to Arms is by Grade 1 winner Military out of stakes-placed Arm the Natives (by Native Uproar). Five-year-old Race to Arms is from the family of multiple graded stakes winner Beboppin Baby.

Also new to Virginia is B B Charm, by champion Silver Charm out of Conquering Duchess, by 1982 Horse of the Year Conquistador Cielo. He is standing at Hilltop Farm VA in Gordonsville. His dam is a half-sister to multiple graded-stakes winner J. T.'s Pet, an earner of $797,497, as well as to the dam of Grade 1 winner Got Koko. Seven-year-old B B Charm stands for $1,000.

West Virginia

Naylee Farm in Summit Point has added 10-year-old Vinemeister to the West Virginia sire ranks. A son of Williamstown, Vinemeister raced seven seasons, earning $420,700 from 66 starts. His nine wins included the Grade 3 Salvator Mile Handicap at 4 and the Storm Cat Stakes at 2. He is out of a Pleasant Colony half-sister to graded winner Thirst for Peace from the family of champion Painter. Vinemeister is offered for $1,000.

Ballado's Gold, by Saint Ballado out of Grade 1 winner Golden Ballet, is standing his first season at Witherow Farm in New Cumberland for $500. He is a half-brother to 2008 stakes winner and Grade 1-placed Stage Luck.

Dija Blue Farm in Charles Town stands recently retired Tapazoz. The 4-year-old by Desert Warrior (by Deputy Minister) is offered on a complimentary basis for mares foaling in West Virginia. Out of the Norquestor mare Winloc's Peggy, he is from the family of champion Lakeville Miss.

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