06/13/2002 11:00PM

Unprecedented Timonium magic


One of the most excited people without money riding on 70-1 Sarava as he drove to the finish in the 134th Belmont Stakes was watching from Maryland.

Mason Grasty, executive vice-president of Fasig-Tipton Midlantic, knew he was witnessing the first Triple Crown race winner ever to have walked through the sales ring in Timonium. Sarava, a son of Wild Again, sold as a yearling at Fasig-Tipton Midlantic's Eastern fall sale in 2000 for $190,000.

A graduate winning a classic race would be the high point of any year for Maryland's only sales company, but Sarava's victory was the icing on the cake of the most incredible weekend in Fasig-Tipton Midlantic's history.

Of the 11 graded races run across the nation on the weekend of June 8-9, six were won by horses sold at public auction, and four of those horses went through Timonium.

At Delaware Park, Running Tide ran his unbeaten record to five by taking his first graded race in the $250,000, Grade 3 Leonard Richards Stakes. Mandy's Gold gained her first official graded stakes victory as she fought to the line in the Grade 3 Chicago Breeders' Cup Handicap at Arlington Park.

And the indomitable Xtra Heat pushed her record to 21 wins from 27 starts in a courageous performance in the Grade 2 Vagrancy Handicap at Belmont Park on Sunday.

Adding a dot to the exclamation point was Willa on the Move, who finished second on Friday in the Grade 1 Acorn Stakes to You in only her fourth start.

Grasty, who has been with the Maryland sales since 1990, said, "As long as I've been here, we've never had a weekend like it."

The 2000 Eastern fall sale was the biggest auction ever held in Maryland, with 566 yearlings sold. Nineteen brought $100,000 or more, led by a Go for Gin colt at $315,000. The fourth-highest price of the sale was Sarava, Timber Bay Farm's Kentucky-bred colt by Wild Again consigned with Highclere Sales. Sarava was the only colt by his sire in the Maryland fall sale and his breeder, William Entenmann, felt the colt would stand out. Also, having connections to the region prompted Entenmann to support the local market.

Willa on the Move added to the total of the 2000 fall sale's top-grossing sire, Two Punch, but her price of $47,000 was below the $60,607 average of the 14 Two Punch yearlings sold. Consigned by Welker Sales Agency LLC, for her breeder Bob Quinichett, the Maryland-bred chestnut filly out of Willa Joe (Ire), a half-sister to a Grade 1 winner also named Willa on the Move, was purchased for prominent attorney and baseball mogul Peter Angelos. She is now trained by renowned equestrian Rodney Jenkins.

Jenkins also trains Running Tide, who campaigns for Dorsey and Christine Brown's On the Run Farm. Running Tide, a Kentucky-bred son of Run Softly, was consigned to the Fasig-Tipton May 2-year-olds in training sale by Hartley-DeRenzo Thoroughbreds, agent. Bloodstock consultant Bill Reightler signed the ticket for the Browns. A $50,000 investment, Running Tide has earned $248,670.

Mandy's Gold, bred in Virginia by Audley Farm, went through the sales ring as a yearling in Kentucky, but was bought back. Audley sold Mandy's Gold privately to James Day, who then sent the filly to Eddie Woods to be prepared for the 2000 May 2-year-olds in training sale. Michael Gorham purchased Mandy's Gold, a daughter of Gilded Time, for $87,000. Mandy's Gold has now earned $307,044 from 11 starts and has never been off the board. Her six victories do not include the Grade 3 Comely Stakes, in which she crossed the line first, but was disqualified and placed second.

The fabled story of Xtra Heat needs no repeating. Out of the same sale as Mandy's Gold, Xtra Heat was bought on a $5,000 bid by trainer John Salzman for himself and Marylanders Ken Taylor and Harry Deitchman. She has earned $1,823,305.