Mervin Muniz Jr. Memorial H. (gr. II)

(gr. IIT , abt 9f ,)

PROUDINSKY (GER) (B h, 118 lb) $300,000
Silvano (GER) —Proudeyes (GER) , by Dashing Blade (GB)
B—Dr. Rolf Wilhelms, GER.; O—Gary A. Tanaka; T—Robert J. Frankel

French Beret (B g, 115 lb) $100,000
Broad Brush —Misty Mission , by Miswaki
B—Sam-Son Farm, ON.; O—Sam-Son Farms; T—Mark R. Frostad

Daytona (IRE) (CH g, 121 lb) $50,000
Indian Ridge (IRE) —Kyka , by Blushing John
B—Irish National Stud, IRE.; O—Davenport, Jeff, Lenner, Tom, Ravich, Jess and Murray, Thomas W.; T—Dan L. Hendricks

Margins: 1, head, 2½. Others: Fracas (IRE) 117($20,000) , Jazz Quest 117($10,000) , Elusive Fort (SAF) 116($5,000) , Twilight Meteor 116($5,000) , Yate's Black Cat 116($5,000) , Buffalo Man 117($5,000) , Brilliant 116 . Winning Jockey, Garrett K. Gomez.

After losing to Irish-bred Daytona Dec. 30 in the San Gabriel Handicap (gr. IIT), German-bred Proudinsky turned the tables on him in the Mervin Muniz Jr. Memorial Handicap (gr. IIT) at Fair Grounds March 8. In his 2008 debut, Proudinsky won the race by a length over French Beret, while Daytona checked in a head farther back in third.

Bobby Frankel trains the 5-year-old son of Silvano for Gary Tanaka, who bought the bay horse privately in 2006. Before being campaigned by Tanaka, Proudinsky began his career in Germany, and in his second start he finished second in a stakes race. It was then that Tanaka purchased him.

“I think we took a chance when we got him from Germany,” said Tanaka. “He won his maiden by 15 lengths, and his second time out, he was beaten by a half-length. The two of them were seven lengths clear of the third horse. We gambled that the winner was fairly decent, and if you look up Saddex (the winner), he turned out to be a group I winner.”

In his first start in North America, Proudinsky finished second by a nose in the 2006 Arlington Classic (gr. IIIT), and later that year he won the Bay Meadows Derby (gr. IIIT). After that race, Proudinsky was off for almost a year and only made three starts in 2007. But in addition to placing in the San Gabriel, he also finished third in the Citation Handicap (gr. IT).

“He had problems with his feet and some niggling things,” Tanaka said. “Bobby said, ‘let’s not rush the guy.’ You want to make sure these guys last as long as they can and be kind to them. Proudinsky is terribly consistent, and he is almost always in the money.”

Tanaka, who has a history of purchasing foreign horses and campaigning them to graded stakes glory, also won the Muniz (then named Explosive Bid) in 2001 and 2002 with Tijiyr and Sarafan, respectively.

Bred by Dr. Rolf Wilhelms, Proudinsky is out of the Dashing Blade mare Proudeyes. In addition to Proudinsky, the bay mare is also the dam of Proudance, a German group III-winning colt by Tannenkonig.

Proudeyes was not bred from 2004-06, but she produced a filly by Doyen last year. Blandford Bloodstock bought the filly for $25,906 at the 2007 Tattersalls December mixed sale from Ronald Rauscher, agent.

Rauscher also offered Proudeyes at the same sale, and she was sold in foal to Lomitas for $108,449 to Fred Seitz’ Brookdale Farm. Kept at the Versailles, Ky., farm, 12-year-old Proudeyes is booked to Corinthian.

German champion Silvano, who won the 2001 Arlington Million (gr. IT), is the sire of eight stakes winners. The 12-year-old son of Lomitas stands at Main Chance Farms in South Africa for a fee of 57,000 rands (about $7,125).—A.H.D.