12/30/2005 12:00AM

Two Virginia-breds make their mark at Laurel


Providing restricted stakes races for 2-year-olds is always a challenge for the Virginia Breeders Fund.

"It has taken a bit of creativity on our part," said the fund's field director, Mark Deane. "Because the Colonial Downs meet" -Virginia's only parimutuel racing - "takes place early in the summer, when most of our 2-year-olds are not ready for that kind of competition."

This year, Virginia's showcase events for statebred and/or state-sired juveniles, the Pin Oak Stud LLC/Hildene Stakes for filllies and the Northview Stallion Station/M. Tyson Gilpin Stakes open to either gender, took place on consecutive weekends, Dec. 11 and 18, respectively, at Laurel Park. In previous years, the races had been run at Delaware Park.

Each race was worth $50,000, with the Virginia Breeders Fund putting up the entire purse. In naming the races, the fund honored Pin Oak Stud and Northview for their strong support of the Virginia Thoroughbred Association's annual stallion season auction.

The Hildene could not have arrived at a better time for the Robert Klesaris-trained filly Cinnamon Charlie, who kept her undefeated record intact, winning by a dominating 4 1/4 lengths as the odds-on favorite in a six-furlong time of 1:13.31 that was nearly one second faster than the time recorded by the colt North Beach Condo in winning the Gilpin a week later.

Bred by Carter and Charles McNeely at their Morrowdale Farm near Charlottesville, Va., Cinnamon Charlie (by Indian Charlie) was sold by the McNeelys for $17,000 at the 2004 Keeneland September yearling sale and resold for $25,000 at this year's Ocala Breeders' Sales Company's March sale of 2-year-olds in training. She races for the C D and G Stable of New York residents Chris and Dan Gallagher. Entered for a $35,000 claiming price when she won her maiden at first asking, on Oct. 26 at Belmont, Cinnamon Charlie stepped up to allowance company on Nov. 11 at The Meadowlands and improved her resume with a half-length victory. The Hildene was her third start, and her win there boosted her earnings to $91,800.

"We're just thrilled with what she's been able to accomplish," said Carter McNeely, who has been in the breeding business for about 20 years, after being introduced to it by her late father, noted Virginia horseman P. Hunter Faulconer.

The McNeelys bred but did not race multiple stakes winner Just Call Me Carl. Cinnamon Charlie's dam, This One's for Us (by Cox's Ridge), remains in production at their farm, where she is in foal to Stroll and due in early February. This One's for Us brought $100,000 at the 1990 Saratoga yearling sale.

"We bought This One's For Us at a sheriff's sale at Fair Hill," McNeely said. "We had seen her at the Saratoga yearling sale and really liked her. Then this opportunity came up when she was a 2-year-old, or maybe just turned 3."

This One's for Us raced for the McNeelys, winning 2 of 12 starts including Garden State's Cherry Blossom Stakes and earning $40,608. She has produced eight foals of racing age, all winners, and has a 2005 filly by Van Nistelrooy.

Klesaris had intended to run Cinnamon Charlie back against males in the Gilpin, but she developed a fever the day before the race.

"It was a tough spot to pass up," Klesaris said, adding that Cinnamon Charlie is now fully recovered.

North Beach Condo, meanwhile, faced little threat from his five rivals in the Gilpin. Dispatched as 1.30-1 favorite, he took command in the upper stretch and had a 3 1/4-length advantage at the wire.

Claimed by Nick Sanna Stables and trainer Mike Pino for $25,000 while winning his maiden in his previous start, on Nov. 12 at Delaware Park, North Beach Condo has earned $42,850 in his three career outings.

North Beach Condo (by Out of Place) was bred by Dr. E.C. and Susie Hart, in the name of their South Gate farm in Millwood, Va. The Harts sold him as a weanling for $9,000 at the 2003 Fasig-Tipton Midlantic December mixed sale, and he was resold for $29,000 at the 2004 Fasig-Tipton Midlantic Eastern fall yearling sale.

North Beach Condo's stakes-placed dam, Star One One (an earner of $100,238), by Caller I. D., was bred by South Gate in Florida. However, the Harts no longer own any members of the family.

"We sell more than 50 horses a year, and they were in the pipeline," said Susie Hart. "North Beach Condo was not a good sales horse, but obviously he has a ton of talent, and it appears that he will get better with distance and age."