Post Time looking to shine spotlight on Maryland racing at Belmont at Saratoga Festival

Post Time was trained by Cary Frommer
Courtesy of the DRF

Maryland took center stage three weeks ago, with national attention on 15 stakes races, topped by the Preakness Stakes. But as the traveling circus of the Triple Crown moves to New York, Maryland comes along seeking a bit of the spotlight. The lightly raced and unbeaten Maryland-bred Mindframe runs in the Belmont Stakes on Saturday at Saratoga; two races prior, fellow statebred Post Time, a multiple graded stakes winner, starts in the Grade 1 Metropolitan Handicap.

There have only been two Maryland-bred winners of the Belmont Stakes in more than a century and a half – Cloverbrook in 1877 and Caveat in 1983. The Metropolitan Handicap has been a Grade 1 race since the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association took on that project in 1973; no Maryland-bred has won the historic race in that span.

Both Mindframe and Post Time are multi-generational products of prominent Maryland programs. Mindframe was bred by R. Larry Johnson before being purchased for $600,000 by Repole Stable and St. Elias Stable out of the 2022 Keeneland September yearling sale. The colt’s first three dams – Walk of Stars, Star Kell, and Special Kell – were all homebreds for Johnson. Mindframe’s fourth dam is Johnson’s foundation mare Ran’s Chick, purchased for $2,400 by the owner as a 2-year-old at a Timonium sale in 1978.

Post Time was bred by Dr. and Mrs. Thomas Bowman, Dr. Brooke Bowman, and frequent partner Milton P. Higgins III. Post Time is out of Vielsalm, also bred by the Bowmans, and the next dam is Merriweather, bred by the Bowmans with Higgins.

“With how challenging the breeding industry is, to see familiar names who have done this a long time be on the national radar, it’s a celebration,” said Cindy Deubler, a research specialist for the Maryland Horse Breeders Association and Maryland Million, among other titles.

“And these breeding programs show the success from different approaches,” Deubler added. “The Bowmans generally breed to sell and have teamed up with Larry Johnson with great success in the past. Larry races many of his homebreds, so they often remain as part of his breeding program.”

Post Time, who has won 8 of 10 career starts, is based at Maryland’s Fair Hill Training Center with Brittany Russell. He was an $85,000 purchase by Cary Frommer out of the 2021 Fasig-Tipton Midlantic Eastern fall yearling sale in Maryland, on behalf of the Hillwood Stable of Ellen Charles. A Met Mile victory for the current stable star would be the icing on the cake of a big spring for that longtime horsewoman and philanthropist. During Preakness week, Charles was honored with the Special Award of Merit, given to those who have made a positive impact on the racing industry, at the Alibi Breakfast at Pimlico.

Charles followed her mother, Adelaide Close Riggs, a supporter of Maryland’s breeding and racing industry for nearly 70 years, and father, Merrall MacNeille, whose roles in racing included 20 years as a steward in Maryland, into the sport. Charles has raced since 2004 as Hillwood, and Post Time joins graded stakes winners like Bandbox and Cordmaker and other standout statebreds like Hello Beautiful and Phlash Phelps in her stable’s history. Charles has sat on the Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association’s board of directors, and currently serves on the MTHA’s finance and aftercare committees.

“Ellen Charles is an animal lover who adores her horses, and she’s dedicated to her stable of runners, broodmares, and retirees,” Deubler said. “She not only adds to the local industry, but is an example of doing things right by her horses.”