01/02/2009 1:00AM

Stallion Station moves stallions to other farms


It wasn't supposed to happen this way - the Maryland Stallion Station leaving its majestic site on the hillside overlooking Sagamore Farm in Maryland's Worthington Valley after only four years of operation and relocating its eight stallions to other facilities for 2009.

But the Maryland Stallion Station's founder and president, Don Litz, is surprisingly upbeat about the move, which was announced Dec. 24 and completed four days later.

"Economic considerations forced the decision," said Litz, "and many of those factors were beyond our control.

"Actually, our new situation offers several important positives. Maryland Stallion Station will continue as a business entity, with the majority of our original investors retaining their interest, but our operating expenses will be drastically reduced. And we are pleased that we were able to keep all of our stallions here in Maryland."

No doubt, the move has brought about an immediate and positive transformation at the Boniface family's Bonita Farm in Darlington, Md.

Bonita is the new home of Maryland Stallion Station's flagship horse Outflanker, as well as its rising freshman stallions Fantasticat, Gators N Bears, and St Averil.

Together those four stallions covered 249 mares in 2008.

Outflanker (by Danzig) ranked as Maryland's second-leading sire in 2007 and 2008, topped only by perennial leader Northview Stallion Station's Not for Love.

Standing for $6,500 live foal, Outflanker offers an economical alternative to Not for Love, whose fee is $25,000.

Bonita Farm, a showplace facility that for many years ranked among the state's thriving breeding operations, has seen its numbers dwindle since one of its long-successful sires, the homebred 1983 Preakness winner Deputed Testamony, was retired from stud duty following the 2004 breeding season.

Bonita stands two other stallions - the 1994 Kentucky Derby winner Go for Gin and handsomely bred Mojave Moon (Mr. Prospector-East of the Moon, by Private Account).

"We always intended to have six stallions," said Bill Boniface, who with his wife, Joan, developed the 400-acre Bonita Farm in the mid-1980s.

Bonita's breeding division relies on the efforts of three generations: Bill and Joan's oldest son, William K. Boniface, and his wife, Barbara, run that part of the farm with help from their 17-year-old son, Ben.

"The Maryland Stallion Station horses have settled in amazingly well," Boniface said. "They're all nice horses to be around and they're generating a lot of enthusiasm."

Maryland Stallion Station had ranked as the state's second-most-active stallion operation (topped only by Northview Stallion Station) since its Glyndon facility opened for business in 2005. But it was strictly a males-only residence for horses; mares shipped in for matings and left immediately afterward.

Owners who prefer to board mares on-site will find that opportunity at Bonita, which has as many as 100 stalls readily available.

Accommodations also are plentiful at Shamrock Farms in Woodbine, Md., which houses Maryland Stallion Station's proven sires Rock Slide and Seeking Daylight, along with Cherokee's Boy and Greek Sun, who entered stud in 2007 and 2008, respectively.

Shamrock is owned by the family of late Pittsburgh Steelers owner Art Rooney and managed by Jim Steele, who has had a key role in the Maryland Stallion Station from its beginning.

Steele managed the breeding operation at the stallion station's Glyndon location and also boarded many mares who went there to be bred.

"We're happy to do what we're doing, and we'll do well with what we've got," said Steele, whose wife, Chris, is an integral part of the Shamrock operation. "The secret of Shamrock is diversity; we do a lot of things for a lot of people, and the totality of everything keeps the farm going."

Shamrock currently stands two other stallions: M Eighty and Purple Passion.

Bowmans get four stakes winners in 2008

Leading Maryland breeders Tom and Chris Bowman were represented by their fourth stakes winner of 2008 when Peace Town scored by a half-length as the odds-on favorite in the Maryland Juvenile Championship Stakes on Dec. 27 at Laurel Park.

Bred in partnership with Milton Higgins III, Peace Town (Peace Rules-Darnestown, by Williamstown) was sold as a weanling for $37,000 at the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic December mixed sale and resold for $50,000 at the Keeneland September yearling sale.

Peace Town races for Vinery Stables LLC and Singer Stables and is trained by Mike Trombetta, who sent him out to win 3 of 5 starts last season and earn $88,850.