08/07/2003 11:00PM

Statebreds sweep top two spots at Spa


Maryland-breds often distinguish themselves at Saratoga, but rarely does it happen this way.

Two 2002 Maryland-bred champions - Willa on the Move and Shine Again, a daughter and granddaughter of Maryland sire Two Punch - crossed the wire one-two in the Grade 3 Honorable Miss Handicap on Aug. 1.

Bettors made last year's statebred champion older mare and sprinter, Shine Again, a multiple Grade 1-winning millionaire who traditionally has enjoyed her finest moments at the Spa, an 8-5 favorite.

Shine Again's most serious rival in the six-furlong Honorable Miss figured to be Willa on the Move, the Two Punch filly who earned 2002 champion Maryland-bred 3-year-old filly honors. In her only other start this year, Belmont Park's June 27 Xtra Heat Stakes, Willa on the Move finished a close second to Redhead Riot and was moved up to first via disqualification.

Shine Again, the highweight at 120 pounds - giving between two and seven pounds to each of the five other starters, including six to Willa on the Move - appeared to have the race well in hand throughout the early stages. After racing just off the pace set by Redhead Riot, Shine Again and rider Jean-Luc Samyn had only to make their final move and fight off the determined efforts of Smok'n Frolic (also a granddaughter of Two Punch, by Two Punch's champion son Smoke Glacken).

Then came Willa on the Move, and rider Edgar Prado. Nearing the shadow of the wire, the younger Maryland-bred burst into contention on the outside and captured the race by a half-length. Shine Again finished second, outfinishing Smok'n Frolic by a nose.

Willa on the Move and Shine Again both represent families that have deep roots in Maryland.

Willa on the Move runs for Peter Angelos, a Baltimore attorney and majority owner of the Baltimore Orioles. Angelos bought Willa on the Move for $47,000 at the 2000 Fasig-Tipton Midlantic Eastern fall yearling sale, where she was consigned by her breeder, Robert Quinichett. Angelos named Willa on the Move after a top-flight filly from the same family who was bred and raced by Quinichett in the 1980's.

The first Willa on the Move, a 1985 daughter of Assert, won five stakes races, including the Grade 1 Ashland. The current Willa on the Move's dam, Willa Joe (by El Gran Senor), is an unraced half-sister to the first Willa on the Move.

The lineage may be confusing, but the quality has never been in doubt. Willa on the Move finished first or second in six of seven starts last season, including a commanding victory in the Politely Stakes against statebreds and three graded stakes placings. She was trained throughout 2002 by Rodney Jenkins, but reappeared this season with Tony Dutrow. She has earned $301,440.

Shine Again carries the famously well-traveled yellow and gray colors of her breeder, Allaire duPont, and is trained by Allen Jerkens. A fourth-generation homebred from duPont's Woodstock Farm in Chesapeake City, Md., Shine Again (by Wild Again out of the Two Punch mare Shiner) rose to prominence with a grand upset in the Grade 1 Ballerina Handicap in 2001. Last year, she returned to win the race again.

Shine Again has won or placed in 16 stakes races; she finished second to Mandy's Gold in last year's Honorable Miss. Shine Again passed the million-dollar mark in earnings in her first start of 2003, an allowance score at Aqueduct on April 19. She led up to the Honorable Miss with a victory in the Grade 2 Genuine Risk Handicap, defeating Carson Hollow.