Two Maryland-sired runners took home 1997 Eclipse Awards when Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies-G1 winner Countess Diana, by former Murmur Farm stallion Deerhound, was named champion 2-year-old filly, and Smoke Glacken, by Northview Stallion Station’s Two Punch, earned the title of champion sprinter.
Roanoke, set to stand his first season at Reigle Heir Farm in Pennsylvania after relocating from Kentucky, was the sire of Canada’s 1997 Sovereign Award-winning 2-year-old champion Dawson’s Legacy.
Maryland-bred Smoke Glacken was the seventh Eclipse Award-winning sprinter from the Mid-Atlantic region, joining What a Summer, J. O. Tobin, Star de Naskra, Guilty Conscience, Safely Kept and Rubiano. Since the advent of the Eclipse Awards in 1971, regional-breds accounted for 25 percent in the sprinter division.
The Millers – “steeplechasing’s first family” – from Cochranville, Pa., participated in “20 questions you always wanted to ask about the Millers” with Joe Clancy. Bruce Miller, who sent out Lonesome Glory to his fourth Eclipse Award in 1997, his daughter Blythe and son Chip, all steeplechase champions, answered everything from “Are those their real names?” to “What’s the secret to their success?” to “How long will all of this last?”
The racing season of 1997 for Mid-Atlantic-bred horses and sires provided a bounty of facts and figures. Counted among the highlights: The richest runner of the year was Virginia-bred, Japan-based Seeking the Pearl, who amassed $2,084,09; Maryland-based Allen’s Prospect was the top stallion (with $3.6 million); 92 Maryland-breds–17 were graded winners – won 152 stakes; of Virginia’s 36 stakes winners, 11 were graded winners.
John A. Manfuso, who made his fortune in the pharmaceutical business, but pursued horses and horsemen’s causes as primary advocations, died at 93. His Osufnam Farm in Westminster produced a bevy of good runners, many given names beginning with the letter A, including Aneroid, All Brandy and A Magic Spray. He helped found the Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association in the 1940s, served as its national president and chairman of the board for 20 years, and was inducted into the Horsemen’s Hall of Fame. His sons, John A. “Tom” Manfuso Jr. and Robert T. Manfuso, were also prominent owner/ breeders as well as former part-owners of Laurel and Pimlico racetracks.