10/16/2003 11:00PM

Runyon's first foray a Million success story


Patricia Runyon makes the breeding and racing business look easy.

Maryland Million Day, Oct. 11 at Laurel Park, showcased wins by 11 Maryland-sired horses. But none of them was more impressive than Runyon's homebred Move Those Chains, a 4-year-old Polish Numbers colt who romped home by three lengths as the 7-5 favorite in the $100,000 Maryland Million Turf.

Move Those Chains, whose name was inspired by the Baltimore Ravens, dominated in an eight-horse field that included previous Maryland Million Turf winners Elberton (2001) and Private Slip (1999).

Move Those Chains is the first horse Runyon has bred, and her only runner in training, but he is not her first stakes winner. Four years ago, Runyon won a stakes with the first horse she owned, a filly named Christmas Shoes.

"I don't know how I got so lucky," said Runyon, who became involved in the horse business with her late husband, Willie Runyon. "But it has been wonderful. Winning a Maryland Million race - well, there's just nothing like it!"

Runyon, who owns and operates Best American Ambulance service in Baltimore, credits the Boniface family of Bonita Farm in Darlington, Md., for most of her success. "I just turn everything over to them; they make all the decisions," she said.

Bonita's breeding manager, William K. Boniface, privately bought Move Those Chains's dam Tettau (by Allen's Prospect-Slew the Queen, by Seattle Slew) on Runyon's behalf, with the Maryland Million winner in utero. Tettau, herself a modest winner, is a granddaughter of the outstanding racemare and producer Inca Queen, from the family of Grade 1 winner Catinca.

"We always knew Move Those Chains would improve with age, and with distance, and on the grass," said Bonita trainer Kevin Boniface. Although the Maryland Million Turf was his first stakes win, it was the eighth career victory for Move Those Chains, who has earned $227,004.

Boniface said that Move Those Chains should have won the Find Handicap against Maryland-breds on Aug. 22 at Laurel, "but he burst through the starting gate and ran off a little before the race."

Move Those Chains finished third in the Find, a length behind the winner, Certantee.

Move Those Chains gave Boniface his second Maryland Million win as a trainer. He long served as an assistant to his father, J. William Boniface, who leads the list of Maryland Million trainers with eight victories. J. William Boniface won the Maryland Million Turf twice (1997 and '98) with Winsox.

Tettau, 11, is one of two broodmares boarded by Runyon year-round at Bonita. She has a 3-year-old Ops Smile filly, Ops Run, who was claimed from Runyon. Barren for 2001 and 2002, Tettau has an Ops Smile weanling filly and is in foal for 2004 to Ops Smile - a Bonita stallion in whom Runyon owns a share.

Runyon's other broodmare is Christmas Shoes, a daughter of Valley Crossing purchased by Runyon for $22,000 at the 1998 Fasig-Tipton Midlantic Eastern fall yearling sale.

Christmas Shoes played one of the starring roles in the Animal Planet television series "Thoroughbred," filmed in 1999 at Bonita Farm. J. William Boniface had high hopes for the filly - a lovely individual with a remarkably long stride.

Christmas Shoes won the Blue Mountain Futurity at Penn National and earned $71,256, but was retired prematurely due to a paralyzed vocal cord. Her first foal is an Ops Smile yearling filly; she had an Ops Smile filly this year and is back in foal to Ops Smile.

Northview stallions dominate

Northview Stallion Station sires dominated 2003 Maryland Million Day competition, with their offspring accounting for seven of the 11 races, including the Classic, won by Docent, a son of Waquoit.

Polish Numbers, who stood at Northview until his untimely death last November, had three winners. Other Northview stallions represented were Not For Love, with two winners, and Two Punch.