Motion gets Necklace winner

For the past few years, Dale Capuano has worn the mantle of Maryland's up-and-coming young trainer.

Now he's got quite a worthy rival in Graham Motion, 31, who differs in both style and stable strategy.


Capuano has shown he can bring along young horses and win stakes, but he still deals mostly in volume and claimers.

Motion strictly develops young horses, mostly for breeders, and has a proven high win percentage -- about 39 percent so far at Laurel this summer with seven winners from 18 starters.


The Motion method was evident yesterday when Our Friend Hidayet (pronounced Hi-Da-Ya) rallied from off the pace under Larry Reynolds and scored her first added-money victory in the $60,000 Pearl Necklace Stakes at Laurel Park.

The filly was precocious enough to win her first start last June as a 2- year-old. But she has been conservatively brought along with time off and patiently-spaced races to reach stakes winner status a year later.

"I like to think I'm a happy medium between Jonathan Sheppard and Bernie Bond," said Motion, who was a former No. 1 assistant to both men. Sheppard is a Hall of Fame steeplechase trainer who excels with turf runners. The late Bernie Bond was a master developer of quick 2-year-olds.

"But," Motion hastens to add, "you've got to have owners that allow you do what you think is best and place horses in spots where you think they can win."

Motion inherited his core group of owners -- Gertrude and Skip Leviton, Eugene Ford and Tom Bayliss -- from Bond and has added some impressive new ones -- Richard Golden, the mastermind behind Cecil County's successful Northview Stallion Station and Joseph Allbritton's Preakness-winning Lazy Lane Farm.

It was Ford, a developer from Bethesda, who stood in the winner's circle yesterday.

He named the filly -- a product of his stakes-winning mare, Sergalio, who won the Hilltop Stakes at Pimlico for Bond -- after a family friend who lives in Syria.

It was Ford's first homebred stakes winner and the first added-money winner Motion has saddled for him.


"We thought she was going to be a nice filly last year," Motion said. "But she bled in the Heavenly Cause Stakes. I was thinking then of running her in the Maryland Juvenile Championship, but we scoped her and she was still bleeding. So I suggested we give her the winter off and Mr. Ford agreed."

The filly is Motion's third stakes winner this year. He also won the Star De Naskra Stakes for the Levitons with Gala Knockout and the Sir Barton Stakes with Star Tracer for Larry Johnson. Star Tracer is recuperating from ankle surgery.

Among the 35 horses Motion has at Laurel is the Leviton's former Maryland-bred champion, Gala Spinaway. The horse breezed a half mile yesterday and is working his way back to the races after a failed attempt at a stud career.

NOTE -- Laurel presents a simulcast-only card today. Live racing resumes tomorrow with the $100,000 Fort McHenry Handicap. Ryehill Farm's Awad is entered for the race, but is a likely scratch after finishing second on Saturday at Belmont Park in the Bowling Green Handicap.