By Jessica Tugwell
One of the top potential contenders for the Maryland Million Sprint is 3-year-old Claudio Gonzalez trainee Fearless Terp, a son of Nicanor out of the Seeking Daylight mare Daylight Lassie. One of 13 Thoroughbred foals bred and sold to race by the University of Maryland, College Park over the past five years, Fearless Terp was what equine studies program coordinator Dr. Amy Burk called a “textbook foaling.”
He was foaled on the university’s on-campus farm on April 1, 2016, with nearly fifteen students and two faculty members on-hand to watch and help, if necessary. “Fearless Terp was up in the first 45 minutes and nursing within an hour. To this day, I tell people that he was the perfect foal, never taking a bad step or misbehaving. The only thing he ever did wrong was get upset when we were bathing him the day before the December Mixed Fasig-Tipton sale and he bit a student's hand pretty good and gave her a good bruising. Even at the sale, he was the picture of perfection, so much so that trainer Rodney Jenkins commented that he was one of the best sales-prepped weanlings at the sale. He brought $5,200 at the sale and has already generated over $16,000 in breeder's incentives, with all proceeds going back to the program,” said Dr. Burk.
The bay colt began his career with trainer Clovis Crane and owner Pinhook Racing last July, finishing fourth and second in two starts at Penn National. Two months later, Fearless Terp made his third career start at Timonium with new owner Joseph Besecker and trainer Claudio Gonzalez, breaking his maiden when first place-finisher Royally Cool was disqualified for interference out of the starting gate.
Following a six month break, the son of Nicanor has left a mark on the 2019 season with three wins, a third, and a fifth place finish at Charles Town and Laurel Park. Fearless Terp currently holds a record of 4-1-1 out of eight starts, with $104,542 in total career earnings.
Although the University of Maryland discontinued their Thoroughbred breeding program last year due to financial considerations, Dr. Burk believes that the five years spent breeding Thoroughbreds has been key in transforming the equine studies program, and she’s confident the experience of caring for pregnant Thoroughbred mares, and now following their careers on the racetrack, will still invoke a passion for breeding and training racehorses in the program's students.
“We now have students going to the track to watch homebred horses, students working at breeding farms in Maryland and Kentucky, and still others that are veterinarians with an equine reproduction focus. The program was essential to paving the way for us to now offer foaling services to a few privately-owned broodmares each spring as a part of our 20-student equine reproduction class. The class focuses on the science of equine breeding and has two industry field trips where we visit a breeding farm to learn how to handle foals and another that allows students to watch a breeding, see a pregnancy check, and learn about assisted reproductive therapies.”
Two pregnant Thoroughbred mares have already been booked for the 2020 class to assist with foaling.