10/14/2004 11:00PM

Three stallions win twice on Million Day


The 19th annual Maryland Million Day, Oct. 9 at Pimlico, was a blend of old guard and new.

The first of the 12 races brought nostalgia, as Drum Roll Please, a 4-year-old son of 1983 Preakness winner Deputed Testamony, cruised to a three-length victory in the Sprint Starter Handicap. The first stakes winner for his owner, Richard Shannon, Drum Roll Please recorded the 11th Maryland Million win for the 24-year-old Deputed Testamony, giving the recently pensioned Bonita Farm stallion sole possession of second place on the Maryland Million's leading sire rankings.

The Pons family's Country Life Farm has had a long, successful association with the Maryland Million, but this year's renewal was one of the best. "We brought 100 guests to the track and everyone had a good time," said Mike Pons, who is also the Maryland Million's president.

Pons had the enjoyable task of presenting the winner's trophy with Gov. Robert Ehrlich after the $100,000 Distaff. The recipients were members of the Pons family, when Merryland Missy, by the farm's stallion Citidancer and owned by a Country Life partnership, won the six-furlong sprint for fillies and mares.

Merryland Missy was bred by Jim Dresher's Huckleberry Farm, and was foaled and raised by Country Life. The Ponses purchased Merryland Missy for $23,000 at the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic Eastern Fall Yearling Sale in 2001, and Dresher retained a quarter interest.

Citidancer, 17, was one of three stallions with multiple winners on the card after his son Dixie Colony, owned by Debra Kachel, rallied to take the final race, the $50,000 Starter Handicap, by two lengths.

Another stallion with two winners was Maryland sire star Not for Love. A 14-year-old son of Mr. Prospector who stands at Northview Stallion Station, and who is 12th on the nation's leading sire list, Not for Love had favorites Presidentialaffair and My Poker Player win the $200,000 Classic and $100,000 Sprint Handicap, respectively.

Leading the entire trip, Presidentialaffair held off the persistent second choice, Aggadan (by Carnivalay), to win by nearly two lengths. It was a vindication for Presidentialaffair, owned by Edward Ciresa and Vincent Papandrea. The horse led all but the last stride of the 2003 Classic, losing by a nose to Docent.

Not for Love got his second consecutive Sprint winner, following Michael's Pride a year ago, with My Poker Player's rousing 1 1/4-length score. The chestnut was claimed by owner Roddy Valente for $50,000 at Del Mar on Aug. 28 and has won his first two starts for his new connections.

Not for Love's Maryland Million success has paralleled his rise on the state's sire list - all six of his winners have come in the past three years.

The youngest stallion with multiple winners was Murmur Farm's Yarrow Brae. A 9-year-old son of Deputy Minister, he had a repeat winner when Hail Hillary, 4, successfully defended her title in the Ladies at 1 1/8 miles on the turf. The Larry Slavin-owned Hail Hillary shipped in from her Midwest base and won by a length, a more comfortable margin than her neck score in 2003.

Yarrow Brae's second winner, William Cook's 3-year-old filly Hunka Munca, took the Distaff Starter Handicap.

Northview Stallion Station's first-year sire Lion Hearted got a win in the Lassie, for 2-year-old fillies, when Hear Us Roar made a remarkable deep-stretch surge to get up in time. She is owned by longtime Maryland owner-breeder Rosalee Davison.

The amazing accomplishments of Allen's Prospect, a Country Life Farm stallion, grew when What's Up Lonely drew off to win the Nursery for Fortunate Stable. Allen's Prospect, who died just over a year ago at age 21, is the Maryland Million's all-time leading sire, with 16 winners, half of them coming in the juvenile races.

Audrey and Allen Murray's Murmur Farm earned two additional Waterford Crystal trophies when Namequest, an 8-year-old son of the farm's deceased top sire, Norquestor, captured the Turf Sprint for owner Taking Risks Stable LLC; and when Dr Detroit, Richie Blue Jr.'s homebred by the Sadler's Wells horse Wayne County, captured the Turf, winning by the shortest of noses at 23-1.

Northview Stallion Station's second-year stallion Diamond, who had his first, and so far only, Maryland Million runner on this year's card, got his first winner: Silmaril, in the Oaks for 3-year-old fillies. The filly is owned by her breeders, Stephen Quick and Christopher Feifarek.