Two Punch's offspring KO foes

April 24, 1994|By Ross Peddicord | Ross Peddicord,Sun Staff Writer

The offspring of a Maryland stallion delivered a one-two-three punch yesterday in the inaugural Maryland Spring Breeders' Challenge.

Multiple victories by the offspring of Two Punch, on the card that featured Maryland-bred horses at Pimlico Race Course, kept the sire in the national spotlight. Two Punch leads the country in the number of winners in 1994.

A son and two daughters of the 11-year-old horse, who stands at the Northview Stallion Station in Chesapeake City, won the first stakes races of their careers, sweeping three of four added-money events.

Taking Risks scored the most dramatic victory of the Two Punch progeny in the $100,000 Jennings Handicap. The 4-year-old gelding, claimed five months ago for $20,000 by King Leatherbury for the Lake- ville Stable, altered his normal front-running style and came from off the pace to defeat %J multiple-stakes winner Frottage by three lengths.

Leatherbury thought that Taking Risks would out-sprint one of ,, his other entries, Ameri Valay, and take the early lead. But jockey Mark Johnston said the horse stumbled slightly leaving the gate and was left behind.

Johnston said he saw how the pace developed -- Ameri Valay was challenged early by Kentucky invader Distinguished Bid -- and he decided to sit back and wait.

Taking Risks spent some time right after Leatherbury claimed him being treated at the New Bolton Center for an eye injury, but has now won five of six starts.

"This is just a running son-of-a-gun," Leatherbury said.

"He was a routine claim. We try to pick out horses just when they starting to run well. Sometimes it turns out good like this, sometimes it doesn't."

Earlier on the card, two daughters of Two Punch scored similar front-running victories. In the $100,000 Geisha Handicap, New York-based mare Stars Knockout out-sprinted the Leatherbury-trained Buffels and then drew off in the stretch from the favored pair of Robert Meyerhoff-owned closers, Broad Gains and Fleet Broad, who finished second and third, respectively.

The gray mare, owned by Barry Schwartz, a partner of clothing designer Calvin Klein, almost didn't run. The horse's trainer, Michael Hushion, was perturbed that Pimlico officials wouldn't allow Stars Knockout to compete with "turned-down" shoes. But he relented and allowed the turn-downs to be filed to an acceptable level.

Jockey Richard Migliore said the mare felt so good yesterday "that she could have run on broken glass and still won."

It was Migliore's first Pimlico stakes victory.

In the $75,000 Caesar's Wish Stakes, trainer Bud Delp unveiled a potential new star when Mrs. James Bayard's Calipha led wire-to-wire in her first start around two turns and defeated Dance A Go Go by nine and one-half lengths.

Delp has trained for Mrs. Bayard, and her late husband, for 32 years. "This filly might be the best horse the Bayards ever bred," he said. She was ridden yesterday by Rick Wilson.

Invincible Sue, sired by Virginia stallion, Banmyrh, but foaled in Maryland, won the fourth state-bred stakes on the Breeders' card. The 3-year-old colt defeated Foxie G. by a head in the six-furlong Star De Naskra Stakes.

The horse's breeder and owner, William R. Harris of Richmond, Va., has raced horses in Maryland for several decades.

"Mr. Harris has so many horses that he thought this was a filly at first instead of a colt. That's why he named him Sue," said trainer Robert Bailes. Harris cut back on his large breeding operation a few years ago, but has now gotten back into the business full swing. "He has 17 2-year-olds coming to me this year and he has 17 yearlings on the farm," Bailes said.

Officials with both Pimlico and the Maryland Horse Breeders' Association said they thought the initial Breeders' Challenge card was a success. "We need more big days like this if we are going to have year-round racing," said MHBA executive vice president Rich Wilcke. Lenny Hale, vice president of racing at Pimlico, wants to expand the program next year and seek sponsors.

More than $3 million was bet on the card, including $1.7 million on the live races, more than double the amount bet on the out-of-state simulcasts.

MARYLAND SPRING BREEDERS' CHALLENGE

Race .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. Winner

Caesar's Wish Stakes .. .. ... ... Calipha

Star De Naskra Stakes .. .. .. ... Invincible Sue

Geisha Handicap .. .. .. .. .. ... Stars Knockout

Jennings Handicap .. .. .. ... ... Taking Risks

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