Ops Smile, at age 5, graduated into the top ranks of the nation’s turf performers when the late-running son of Maryland sire Caveat, sent out by classic-winning trainer J. William Boniface, won Belmont Park’s Grade 1 Manhattan Handicap. Boniface won stakes with three horses on four consecutive weekends in May and June. Ops Smile started with a victory in the Dixie Stakes-G2 on Preakness Day; Winsox took Pimlico’s Riggs Handicap over reigning Maryland-bred turf champion Awad; and Earth to Jackie deadheated with Cozy Blues in the Hilltop Stakes.
Two planeloads – each carrying about 85 young racehorses – were exported to Korea by S & K Trading and Consulting Company of Ellicott City, Md. Two more shipments, one to include broodmares, were planned to leave for Korea in October. With the growing popularity of horse racing in Korea, the Korean Racing Association needed to look beyond their own borders in order to keep up with demand. “The potential for this program just keeps expanding,” said the Maryland Department of Agriculture’s director of international marketing, Errol Small. “In addition to the exports, a Korean owner has purchased a horse who is racing here in Maryland – and winning – and other Korean individuals are interested in buying horses to keep in this country.”
The Maryland Horse Breeders Association’s Board of Directors decided, starting with the September 1997 issue, to make the Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred a monthly magazine and convert the Maryland Horse into a monthly newsletter. “We are making changes in our publications that we believe will make them even more valuable to our readers and better positioned to respond to changes in the equine marketplace,” wrote editor-publisher Tim Capps.