10/16/2008 11:00PM

Yarrow Brae adds to his Million Day total


Maryland Million Day, which this year had its 23rd renewal on Oct. 4 at Laurel Park, celebrates the Maryland breeding industry, starting with the stallions. The 12-race card is dedicated to the offspring of stallions standing in the state who are nominated to the program. Winners on the 2008 card represented five Maryland farms.

Northview Stallion Station and Maryland Stallion Station led the way, with three winners each. Three other farms had two wins apiece - Bonita Farm, Country Life Farm, and Murmur Farm.

Supporting their own stallions, Allen and Audrey Murray, of Murmur Farm in Darlington, have bred three winners of Maryland Million Day races over the years. Celtic Innis, a 6-year-old son of their Deputy Minister stallion Yarrow Brae, became the latest when he ground out the victory in the Maryland Million Sprint.

Celtic Innis, sent off as third choice in the field of four, won for the first time in two years by defeating last year's second-place finisher, the rallying Lemons of Love, and 2007 defending champion Grand Champion, who finished third.

For the Murrays, Celtic Innis validates the faith they have had in Yarrow Brae. One of Maryland's underrated sires, 13-year-old Yarrow Brae now has his fifth Maryland Million winner, ranking him on even terms on the sire scorecard with the likes of his own sire, Deputy Minister (who launched his career at Windfields Farm), plus Maryland stalwarts Carnivalay, Norquestor, Polish Numbers, Rollicking, and Waquoit. Norquestor also stood at Murmur Farm before his unexpected death in 1999 at the age of 13.

With the victory in the $150,000 Sprint, Celtic Innis increased his career mark to $501,804 to rank as his sire's leading earner. A stakes winner at 3 and 4 and graded-stakes-placed those years as well, Celtic Innis had a frustrating run since his last score, which came in Delaware Park's Vincent A. Moscarelli Memorial Stakes on Sept. 16, 2006, in which he earned a 105 Beyer Speed Figure. In 2007, he suffered a slight fracture of the pastern bone and was off most of the year, trainer Tim Keefe said.

Racing primarily in stakes in his six starts this year, he finished second twice and third twice.

"He's the kind of horse that gives you 100 percent every time he runs - the kind that trainers wish they had a barn full of them," Keefe said.

In his two efforts leading up the Maryland Million, Celtic Innis was third in the Chesapeake Stakes at Colonial Downs and second in the Taking Risks Stakes at Timonium, having troubled trips in each.

The Murrays purchased Celtic Innis's dam, Harp Innis (by Phone Trick), for $47,000 at the 1997 Keeneland November sale. The first two times she was bred to Yarrow Brae, she produced Clever Yankee, a stakes winner of nearly $200,000, and Celtic Innis.

Celtic Innis has a 2-year-old full brother named Scottish Song, who has yet to start, and a yearling full sister. Harp Innis produced a Louis Quartorze colt this spring.

The Murrays also stand Preakness winner Louis Quatorze, who got his second Maryland Million winner with Sweet Goodbye's dazzling score in the Maryland Million Oaks for 3-year-old fillies. Sweet Goodbye, bred and owned by longtime Murmur Farm client William R. Harris and trained by Chris Grove, is from the first Maryland-sired crop by Louis Quatorze. Last year, the stallion's son Regal Solo, bred and owned by the Murrays, captured the Maryland Million Nursery for 2-year-olds.

Northview Stallion Station's Not for Love continued his rapid ascent up the leading sires list with two winners - Cuba in the $300,000 Classic and Broadway Producer in the $200,000 Turf. This was the seventh year in a row that Not for Love has had at least two winners on the card. He is now five wins behind all-time leading Maryland Million sire Allen's Prospect, who has 21 wins.

Retired multimillionaire Awad, who stood for many years at Northview, sired Starter Handicap winner Let Me Be Frank, the day's most dominant winner when soaring home by 10 lengths.

Awad was one of five stallions with a first Maryland Million win, joining Maryland Stallion Station stallions Jazz Club (Juke Joint in the Nursery), Outflanker (Kosmo's Buddy, Turf Sprint), Bowman's Band (Miss Charm City, Lassie), and former Country Life Farm sire Unbridled Jet (Miss Lombardi, Ladies).

Country Life Farm got a repeat winner with its own Spectacular Malibu, who captured the Distaff. The daughter of Malibu Moon won the Lassie in 2006.

Former Bonita Farm stallion Swear by Dixie had two starter handicap winners with Swear Allegiance (Distaff Starter) and He's a Dixie Boy (Sprint Starter).