“Maryland Stallion Station overcomes the odds” was the headline about the challenges of growth of one of the newest, and busiest, stud farms in the region. Despite a tough economy, indications were that the operation on the “handsome, immaculately tended 99-acre facility in Maryland’s Worthington Valley, overlooking historic Sagamore Farm” was on the rise, with 2008 having been its best breeding season yet, as eight stallions covered 378 mares, 21 more than the year before despite a dwindling broodmare population in the state.
The Glyndon farm, which opened its doors for the 2005 breeding season, was the first major Thoroughbred breeding establishment built from the ground up in Maryland since the mid-1960s, when the late E.P. Taylor established Windfields Farm in Chesapeake City. The farm’s flagship stalllion was Outflanker, the second-leading sire in the state behind only Not For Love. It was also the first Maryland stallion operation to have a close alliance with a Kentucky farm (Lane’s End) and in its short history, launched the stud career of Bowman’s Band (who eventually moved to Lane’s End).
The challenges proved too great, and by the start of the 2009 breeding season, the Glyndon location was closed and the resident stallions split up to stand at Shamrock Farm in Woodbine and Bonita Farm in Darlington, while remaining under the Maryland Stallion Station banner. Two years later the ownership in the stallions was also dissolved.
Jerry Hollendorfer returned to Delaware Park to capture the Delaware Handicap-G2 with his Grade 1 winner Hystericalady, whom he trained, and co-owned with Rancho San Miguel and George Todaro. Two years earlier, he shipped the Distorted Humor filly from his California base and watched her finish fifth in the Delaware Oaks-G2. “It was very hot and humid that day, from what I remember,” he said. “She just didn’t run well. But she’s a good shipper, and we thought we’d try our luck at Delaware a second time.”
Brereton Jones’ homebred filly Proud Spell made her only sophomore appearance at the track where she won her first two starts as a juvenile and won the Delaware Oaks. Trained by Larry Jones, the daughter of Proud Citizen was on a streak of never finishing worse than third, and earlier in the year won the Kentucky Oaks-G1.
By year’s end, Proud Spell was named the nation’s champion 3-year-old filly after adding a victory in the Grade 1 Alabama Stakes to her list of accomplishments. She retired with a record of 13-7-4-2 and earnings of $2,131,610.
In his second start of the year, Castleton Lyons’ Gio Ponti battled Court Vision to the wire to win the Grade 2 Virginia Derby by a nose at Colonial Downs. It was the fourth win in five starts for the Christophe Clement-trained son of Tale of the Cat, who was twice offered for sale at auction but didn’t sell.
A $95,000 RNA as a yearling, and a $45,000 RNA at 2, Gio Ponti was a home run for his connections – an Eclipse Award-winning grass horse at 4 and 5, and champion older horse at 4, he won or placed in 23 of 29 starts, won seven Grade 1 races, and retired with career earnings of $6,169,800.