Freshman sires Maria's Mon and Signal Tap were represented by their first winners on the racetrack Wednesday. Lil Punkindo, a 2-year-old filly out of the Lion d'Or mare Bessiepunkindo, won a six-furlong maiden race at Laurel Park to become champion Maria Mon's first winner. The even-money favorite, Lil Punkindo won by 3 1/2 lengths after stopping the clock in 1:12.05. Trained by Hamilton Smith for owner Skeedattle II, Lil Punkindo was bred in Kentucky by Larry Craig.
Maria's Mon (Wavering Monarch--Carlotta Maria, by Caro) won four of five races as a juvenile, including the Moet Champagne Stakes (gr. I) and the Futurity (gr. I), before being named champion 2-year-old colt. He retired after a sixth-place finish in the Jim Dandy Stakes (gr. II) with earnings of $507,140. He was bred in Kentucky by Morton Rosenthal. Maria's Mon stands for a fee of $7,500 at Pin Oak Stud near Versailles, Ky.
Signal Tap's (Fappiano--South Sea Dancer, by Northern Dancer) first winner came when Bensonhurst's Baby went wire-to-wire to earn a 1 3/4-length victory in Belmont Park's second race Wednesday. Bensonhurst's Baby (Signal Tap--Lahaina Pearl, by Bold Ruckus) is trained by Todd Pletcher and was bred in New York by Charles Jacobi. He was purchased as a 2-year-old for $330,000 by Antsu Stables. He completed the five furlongs in :58.90 with Jerry Bailey in the irons.
Signal Tap won seven of 25 races and $429,108 in a four-year career. He was bred by William Farish, E.J. Hudson, and W.S. Kilroy. He won the 1996 Hialeah Turf Cup Handicap (gr. IIIT) and the 1996 Bougainvillea Handicap (gr. IIIT), setting a Hialeah turf course record of 1:46.04 for 1 1/8 miles in the latter. As a 4-year-old in 1995, he finished third in the Man O' War Stakes (gr. IT) at Belmont Park. He stands in New York at Questroyal Stud for a $5,000 fee.