09/02/2005 12:00AM

William Boniface dead


William Boniface - longtime racing editor of Baltimore's Evening Sun newspaper, founder of Maryland's prominent Bonita Farm, and co-owner of the 1983 Preakness winner, Deputed Testamony - died Thursday at age 89.

Boniface was well known as the patriarch of one of Maryland Thoroughbred breeding and racing's leading families. His son, J. W. Boniface, trained and co-owned Deputed Testamony and also trained the 1995 Preakness runner-up, Oliver's Twist. His children, William Boniface's grandchildren, now help run the Bonita Farm in Darlington, Md.

William Boniface was the son of Fritz Boniface, who managed Prospect Hill Farm in Bel Air, Md. A rider himself, William Boniface brought hands-on knowledge to his work as a racing writer and editor for the Evening Sun. He began covering races for the paper in 1937 and kept it up for most of five decades, finally retiring in 1982, according to the Baltimore Sun. He had been named the paper's racing editor in 1941.

The following year, he campaigned Deputed Testamony with his son and Francis P. Sears, who died last year. Deputed Testamony was bred at Bonita Farm, which William Boniface had founded in the 1960's in Harford County. The operation has since moved to Darlington and grown to 400 acres. Now owned by J. W. Boniface and his wife, Joan, Bonita was featured in recent years on a 13-episode television documentary series on the Animal Planet network.

Funeral services were set for 10 a.m. on Monday at McComas Funeral Home in Abingdon, Md. Viewing is scheduled for Sunday from 2-4 p.m. and 7-9 p.m. at the McComas Funeral Home in Abingdon, with funeral services to be held there Monday at 10 a.m.