06/12/2003 11:00PM

Rubiyat, Diamond lead booming first-year sire class


Maryland's 2003 freshman sires, one of the largest such groups in recent memory, have launched their careers quickly. Four first-year stallions have had a winner since May 1, and two rank among the top 20 freshmen sires in the nation.

Leading the earnings list is perhaps the least-known of the group, Rubiyat. A son of champion sprinter Rubiano, Rubiyat has only eight foals in his first crop, but he hit big with his first runner.

Rubi Echo made his debut on June 1 at Belmont Park. Rallying four wide heading into the stretch, he won the five-furlong maiden special weight by three-quarters of a length. The victory was worth $25,800, enough to elevate Rubiyat to 19th on the national freshman sires lists.

Rubiyat stands at Laurie and Jerry Calhoun's Summer Wind Farm in Libertytown. Rubi Echo was foaled at Summer Wind and was sold as a yearling out of the farm's consignment for breeders Robin and Matt Turner. The only foal out of the winning mare Krisard (by Eastern Echo), Rubi Echo was purchased at the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic Eastern fall yearling sale for $6,500 by his current owner, Michael Marceda.

Rubiyat showed talent as a racehorse from limited opportunity. He made a total of six starts and was never worse than second, earning $105,760. A winner of a Gulfstream Park allowance and an Aqueduct maiden special weight, both at seven furlongs, Rubiyat was second in the Peter Pan Stakes to Grand Slam and in the Withers Stakes to Dice Dancer. Both were Grade 2 races. An 8-year-old stallion, Rubiyat is a half-brother to graded stakes winners Boston Party and Man's Hero. He stands for $2,000 live foal.

The most recent Maryland sire to hit the charts is Diamond, who stands at Northview Stallion Station in Chesapeake City. True Gem, the first starter for her sire, battled throughout a five-furlong maiden special weight at Delaware Park on June 11 on the way to a three-quarter-length victory. A dark bay filly out of multiple stakes winner Stay Home, by Count Brook, True Gem was purchased for $9,000 by Kenyon Furlong at the same sale as Rubi Echo. Diamond's second starter, Our Diamond Girl, finished second later that same evening at Charles Town, and the two runners pushed Diamond to 20th on the nation's sires list.

An 8-year-old son of Mr. Prospector out of the Key to the Mint mare Pure Profit, Diamond is a stakes-winning full brother to millionaire Educated Risk and graded stakes placed Hidden Reserve. Diamond also is a half-brother to champion Inside Information, winner of the 1995 Breeders' Cup Distaff and an earner of $1,641,805.

Diamond has 59 registered 2-year-olds and stands for $5,000 live foal.

The Country Life Farm stallion Malibu Moon is the first Maryland freshman sire to get two winners. His first came at Hollywood Park May 14, when trainer Mel Stute sent out Perfect Moon to a two-length score in a $40,000 maiden claiming race at 4 1/2-furlongs. Perfect Moon had made three previous starts, the first on March 20, but his win was his first start beyond two furlongs. Perfect Moon, out of Perfectly, by Parfaitement, was another purchase from the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic Eastern fall yearling sale, picked out by Stute for $4,700. Stute also trained Malibu Moon.

Malibu Moon got his second winner on May 30, when his daughter Culpeper Moon drew off to a 5 3/4-length win at Ruidoso Downs.

Malibu Moon was a precocious individual as well, winning his maiden at Hollywood Park in May of his 2-year-old year. But an injury halted his racing career and he entered stud as a 3-year-old. Now 6, Malibu Moon, a son of A.P. Indy out of Group 1 winner Macoumba (by Mr. Prospector), has 60 2-year-olds in his first crop, He stands at Country Life in Bel Air, Md., for $3,000 live foal.

Crypto Star's quick start was the most surprising of Maryland's class of 2003. He hit on May 1 at Pimlico, with Nagem Nagem Nagem. Nagem Nagem Nagem, out of the Flying Pidgeon mare Wicklow Flyer, won her debut by a neck at 4 1/2 furlongs.

A rangy bay son of Cryptoclearance, Crypto Star began his racing career late in his 2-year-old season and excelled at longer distances at 3. He earned $730,090 from 14 starts, and won the Grade 2 Arkansas Derby and Grade 3 Louisiana Derby. Nagem Nagem Nagem is Crypto Star's only starter to date, but he has more than 40 other 2-year-olds in his first crop. Standing at Murmur Farm in Darlington, the 9-year-old Crypto Star has a stud fee of $3,500.