Fourbros Stable ends 2-decade run

February 08, 1993|By Ross Peddicord | Ross Peddicord,Staff Writer

When the auctioneer's hammer dropped after the 3-year-old gelding Royal Edict sold at the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic Winter Mixed Sale at the Timonium Fairgrounds last night, it brought to an end one of Maryland's most successful racing partnerships.

The thoroughbred gelding was the last horse of racing age offered by the Fourbros Stable, comprised of two sets of brothers, Tom and Bob Manfuso and George and Geoff Hugueley.

The Manfuso brothers are well-known in racing circles as part owners of Laurel and Pimlico race courses. Geoff Hugueley is a former president of the Maryland Million.

But their racing involvement pre-dates their current high visibility.

"We were just a bunch of guys that got to know each other after college," Geoff Hugueley said. "Tom and George are about the same age and so are Bob and I. We all grew up in the Washington suburbs. I remember jumping in cars all the time and going to Charles Town to bet on horses owned by Bobby's dad [John Manfuso]."

The group enjoyed the sport so much that in May 1971 they decided to band together and buy their first horse at the suggestion of trainer Bernie Bond.

"One of his owners, Horace Dietrich, had an unraced 2-year-old that he wanted to sell. So we bought her," Hugueley said. "Her name was Crackerfax."

Immediately the Fourbros partnership experienced good luck. Crackerfax won stakes races, including the Geisha Handicap at Pimlico, and about $140,000.

"We plowed that money back into more horses. When fillies were retired, we bred them and one thing just led to another," Hugueley recalled.

That was 22 years ago.

During that period, they bred and raced three winners of the Tri-State Futurity at Charles Town; bought a yearling named Shelter Half, who ended up winning the Phoenix Stakes at Keeneland and became a leading Maryland sire; and won a number of stakes with horses like Midas and Jeweler's Choice.

But one of the four brothers, George Hugueley, now enjoys golf more than horses.

"And we always had one good horse that carried the operation [financially]," Geoff Hugueley said. "But we haven't had one lately. So from a business standpoint, it just seemed a good time to sell."

Last night the Fourbros outfit sold five yearlings for $60,000; five 2-year-olds for $60,500; and five older horses for $90,000 for a total of $210,500.

The top price of $27,000 was brought by the 3-year-old filly, Latin Prospect, who had just raced and finished fourth at Laurel on Saturday. She was purchased by Fred Hughes of Gettysburg, Pa.

Midas, now 7, was bought by New Jersey owner-trainer Dennis Manning for $22,000.

"That was the tough part, seeing some of the old horses that we raced for so long, sell," Geoff Hugueley said.

But the end of Fourbros doesn't necessarily mean the end of the group's participation in racing. Bob Manfuso has his own large farm in Howard County. Tom Manfuso operates his own separate racing stable and bought one of the group's yearlings last night. Geoff Hugueley said he still owns a number of horses. And the Fourbros Stable has five broodmares, which will be sold next fall.

During the two decades of operation, Fourbros had three trainers: Toughy Hacker, Tom Patterson and John Hicks.

"Any success we had, we owe to them," Hugueley said.

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