07/01/2004 11:00PM

Two Punch yearling garners top laurels for Silverman


Well-known sales agent Marshall Silverman has had his hands on many good horses. After spotting a Two Punch colt this past winter at a farm in Chesapeake City, Md., Silverman knew he had to make an offer to buy him. Less than six months later, Silverman's bay colt was selected grand champion of the Maryland Horse Breeders Association's 70th annual yearling show on June 27 at the Maryland State Fairgrounds in Timonium.

Hall of Fame trainer Jonathan Sheppard took on the arduous task of judging 132 Maryland-bred yearlings, shown in six classes. Of his top pick, who took home the Chanceland Farm Challenge Trophy, Sheppard noted that the Two Punch colt "was the one most combining quality with professionalism."

Silverman pointed out that his colt, consigned to the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky yearling sale in July, had seven weeks of sales prepping and may have been a little ahead of others at the show. But this colt has always stood out.

"He is athletic and well balanced," said Silverman. "When we have a Maryland-bred eligible for the show who we think can win, we'll enter. Before this show, I thought he could win."

Out of the Wise Times mare Wise Baroness, the colt was bred by Dr. and Mrs. Thomas Bowman and Dr. Jason L. Layfield. Silverman, who has sold many of Two Punch's top runners over the years, also knew Wise Baroness well and was close to buying her in partnership when the mare sold at the 2002 Keeneland November sale with the yearling show champion in utero.

Silverman and his wife, Ginger, had two entrants in this year's show. After their Two Punch colt won the first class of the day, the couple finished second in Class II with an Our Emblem colt they had also purchased privately.

A. Brice Ridgely, the owner and breeder of last year's grand champion, sent out the winner of Class II. Dave's Jet, by Unbridled Jet, is the third foal out of Ridgely's homebred mare Vee Vee Star. A year ago, Vee Vee Star's son by Malibu Moon, Declan's Moon, took Class I, while Katie's Love, a half-sister to Vee Vee Star (by Not for Love out of Fabulous Vee) was named grand champion. Ridgely sold the gelding Declan's Moon at last fall's Fasig-Tipton Midlantic yearling sale for $125,000.

Ridgely nearly took top show honors again with a Mojave Moon filly, the winner of Class IV, who was named reserve champion. From the first crop of the impeccably bred Mojave Moon out of Phalarope, by Sitzmark, the chestnut filly was purchased by Ridgely as a weanling for $3,000 at last December's Fasig-Tipton Midlantic mixed sale out of the dispersal of breeder Plane Tree Farm. She earned $1,600 in prize money at the show.

A Bonita Farm stallion, Mojave Moon is a son of Mr. Prospector and champion East of the Moon (by Private Account out of famed racemare and producer Miesque). He earned the Worthington Farms Challenge Trophy, presented to the top Maryland stallion of the show. In addition to siring the top two ribbon-winners of Class IV, Mojave Moon had a daughter out of Bet Numbers (by Polish Numbers) as the winner of Class V. She was bred and is owned by Kennard Warfield Jr.

Awarded first place in the classes for Maryland-bred yearlings sired by out-of-state stallions were a colt by Phone Trick (Class III) and a filly by Brahms (Class VI). The chestnut Phone Trick colt, out of the Medieval Man mare Medieval Princess, competed for owner-breeder Phillip G. Tremper.

The Brahms filly, bred and owned by Robert Manfuso and Christopher Elser, is out of Katerina's Song (by Seattle Song), and is a half-sister to multiple Grade 1 winner Influent.

In addition to the trophies and more than $11,000 in prize money handed out on the day of the show, each yearling judged by Sheppard is now eligible for the $40,000 yearling show premium. The premium will be split, with $20,000 divided among the top four earners in North America at 2, and another $20,000 divided among the top earners the following year at 3.