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Few people in the Bluegrass have fonder memories of Maria’s Mon than breeder Jim Squires. For Squires, the gray son of Wavering Monarch sired Kentucky Derby winner Monarchos, and that fleet gray colt put his sire’s name up in lights first as a G1 winner and then as a classic winner from the stallion’s first crop.

And you might say I was there from the beginning. After the initial meet and greet with Maria’s Mon when he retired to Pin Oak, the farm put on a catered dinner for breeders around the time of the November breeding stock. There, my wife and I met Jim and Mary Anne Squires who happened to be sitting at the same table.

It was a glittering evening of rich food and richer company. Always a raconteur, Squires entertained everyone within range with stories and colorful observations. And quietly, he arranged a season for his Dixieland Band mare Royal Band to the retired juvenile champion.

He said, “I was nearly the first in line, at least at the breeding shed, because Monarchos was an early foal the next year.”

The big colt grew off so well that Squires sold him out of the paddock at Two Bucks Farm to Murray Smith, who resold the colt as a 2-year-old in training to John Oxley, who still owns the majority of the stallion.

“When it came to breeding to Maria’s Mon,” Squires said, “my real interest was that he was out of a mare by a great broodmare sire, Caro, and by a great broodmare sire, Wavering Monarch. That and the $7,500 stud fee attracted me. Plus he was a hell of a racehorse.”

Squires believes that both Maria’s Mon and his son Monarchos ought to be equally successful as broodmare sires. He said, “I bred a mare to Monarchos this week, and he looks magnificent, just like his sire did in that beautiful picture they took of Maria’s Mon for the stallion ad.”

Monarchos, now standing at Nuckols Farm in Woodford County — not far from his birthplace — had the best year of his stud career last season with champion sprint filly Informed Decision. The stallion has a fee of $6,000 live foal and is covering a good-sized book of mares.

Now that Super Saver has become the second Kentucky Derby winner by Maria’s Mon, there will surely be continuing interest in the stallion’s first-crop star.