Breeders now will be paying more for the services of the stallion Citidancer.
When three of the horse's offspring -- Urbane, Mystic Rhythms and Short Stay -- won on Saturday's Maryland Million card, it was the best performance by a sire's progeny since four sons and daughters of the deceased stallion Rollicking won in 1988.
"It was a tremendous move," said Michael Pons, who manages the horse's career along with his brother, Josh, at the family's Country Life Farm in Bel Air. "Previously, he'd had stakes winners in Kentucky, New Jersey and the Midwest. But this was his first big day in front of a local crowd. It was important to ring his bell right here."
Fans who have been going to Maryland races long enough might remember Citidancer's debut at Laurel Park in 1989. Trained by Hank Allen, and owned by Bob Quinichett, the in-bred colt whose lineage can be traced to Northern Dancer on both sides of his pedigree, won by 12 lengths.
Right after the race, Quinichett sold the colt for $400,000 to Barry Irwin and Jeff Siegel, whose syndicated California-based operation, Clover Racing Stable, then raced its horses with D. Wayne Lukas. The outfit is now known as Team Valor, and recently announced that it is converting its holdings from general to limited partnerships with the idea of becoming a publicly held corporation by the year 2000.
Under Lukas' care, Citidancer won his next two starts by a combined total of 24 lengths and then finished second to champion sprinter Housebuster in the Grade I Jerome Handicap at Belmont Park. He came out of the race with a hairline fracture in a sesamoid. Ten days later, Irwin and Siegel, who still own a block of shares in the 8-year-old horse, sent him to stud at Country Life.
Pons said analysts think Citidancer's speed, short racing career and in-breeding follow the pattern of other important sires such as Raise A Native and that he might possess such genetic brilliance.
After the success of his off spring in the Million, Pons said the horse's stud fee will be raised from $5,000 to either $7,500 or $10,000 for 1996.
Hochmans' first stakes win
When Steve and Judy Hochman claimed the filly Saystar last year for $8,500, they thought she might make a nice broodmare since her half sister, Stars Knockout, had shown class by winning the Geisha Handicap.
Now nearly a year later, Saystar has joined the stakes ranks herself.
Under a strong ride yesterday from jockey Alcibiades Cortez, Saystar closed from about eight lengths off the pace and nipped the Alydar mare, Happenchance, by a neck at the wire in Laurel's $32,700 Moonlight Jig Stakes.
Hochman, a mechanical engineer in Washington, has three horses in training with Eddie Gaudet and keeps two broodmares at his 32-acre farm near Frederick.
As recently as a month ago, Saystar competed for an $11,500 claiming tag. "We thought yesterday's race might be too tough and thought about scratching her," Hochman said.
5) Saystar produced a $31.80 win payoff.