05/27/2005 12:00AM

Turf promise comes true for Gabianna

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Good efforts often get overlooked at Pimlico when the focus is on the Preakness. It was hard not to notice, however, the result of the $75,000 The Very One Stakes, the 12th and final race on the Friday, May 20, Pimlico Special card.

Gabianna, by far the longest shot in the field of 11 at nearly 89-1, dug in down the stretch to win the five-furlong cavalry charge on the turf by a neck, paying $179.80 for the win. The 5-year-old mare, owned by Vision Realty Stables and trained by Jorge Prado, the brother of leading rider Edgar Prado, was making her stakes debut. Surprisingly, Jorge Prado had not named his illustrious brother to ride - Horacio Karamanos guided Gabianna home.

In hindsight, Gabianna looked to have an affinity for the turf. And although she was as surprised as anyone else with the result, Gabianna's breeder, Carol Kaye-Garcia, can readily point out Gabianna's strengths.

Kaye-Garcia, who along with her husband, longtime Maryland trainer Carlos Garcia, owns and operates Wellington Park near Woodbine, Md., had planned to try Gabianna on the grass, but lost the filly at the claim box before getting the chance. Trainer Ann Merryman claimed Gabianna in March 2004 at Laurel for $15,000, and in her next start the filly was entered in a five-furlong turf allowance at Pimlico on May 7, 2004, where she rallied to finish second. Merryman continued to find races on the turf for Gabianna until losing her for $7,500 in November at Pimlico.

A daughter of former Maryland stallion Deerhound (by Danzig), Gabianna is out of the stakes-placed turf mare Gabby's Love, herself a daughter of the somewhat obscure Perkin Warbeck, who stood at Eddie and Linda Gaudet's Schelford North Farm in Upper Marlboro until he was sold and moved out of state in 1997.

Perkin Warbeck was a good allowance winner in England and won once on the turf at Delaware Park, but more importantly, he was a son of longtime successful sire Vaguely Noble out of a Quack mare. Perkin Warbeck's third dam was a top-class producer, Nalee. The best runner of the stallion's 75 registered foals was $223,890-earner and two-time stakes winner War Hostage, a full brother to Gabby's Love who won nine races, all on the turf.

Gabby's Love earned $108,275 and finished third in the Maryland Million Ladies Handicap and Summertime Promise Stakes, both on the grass. At the end of her racing career, the mare was purchased privately by Kaye-Garcia. Now 14, Gabby's Love has kept the family active - her first four foals are fillies, and all but Gabianna are still owned by Kaye-Garcia.

Gabianna's year-older full sister, Little Gabby, is a winner of 4 of 18 starts and is still in training. The 4-year-old filly Love Me Twice (by Not for Love) is unplaced in two starts and was given some time off, but is due back to the track soon. A 2-year-old filly by Bianconi named Bianca Love has yet to start.

"If I didn't have so many members of the family, I'd be kicking myself," said Kaye-Garcia after watching Gabianna's score.

Kaye-Garcia oversees all activities at Wellington Park, including this week's final foaling of the season. More than a dozen mares foaled at the farm this spring, many owned by various partnerships. "It's fun to have the owners come out to the farm to see their horses. They are involved for the sheer pleasure of owning horses," said Kaye-Garcia.

The latest foal out of Gabby's Love, a colt by Malibu Moon, was co-bred by Kaye-Garcia with Barbara Smith. The two met years ago when they were both exercise riders at the local tracks. The partners have bred Gabby's Love back to the Danzig stallion Monashee Mountain.