BALTIMORE, SEPT. 7 -- The Pons family doesn't have horses in Sunday's Maryland Million so much as images. While their four stallions repose at Country Life Farm near Bel Air, Md., the Ponses will be at Pimlico to watch the blood run, they hope, very fast.

The Ponses stand two of Maryland's more precocious stallions -- Allen's Prospect and Carnivalay -- seven of whose offspring will compete in the nine-race affair. Carnivalay's daughter, Valay Maid, will be a strong favorite in the Oaks and Allen's Prospect's son, Xray, an expected force in the Nursery. But the Ponses are counting nothing in advance. History has seen to that.

Country Life Farm was on the edge of oblivion a decade ago, when Joe Pons struggled with alcoholism and the 120-acre spread, which his father had founded, sprouted just two aging stallions. (Twenty years earlier, it had held Saggy and Correspondent, whose sons Carry Back and Sherluck won the Triple Crown races in 1961.) Pons's sons -- Josh, Mike and Andrew -- returned to the farm in earnest after college, Joe confronted his drinking problem, and the family endeavored to salvage what it could.

"We had to rebuild the confidence and trust and all that which had been badly neglected," Joe Pons said.

But the breeding industry is often not quick to sow. Neophyte stallions can take years gaining acceptance while their foals come of racing age. The Ponses pursued well-bred steeds as potential stallions and took their time doing it.

In the mid-'80s they landed Carnivalay (by Northern Dancer) and Allen's Prospect (by Mr. Prospector), both of whom had short racing careers. Carnivalay's stock rose with the ascent of his half-sister, Go For Wand, champion 2-year-old filly of 1989 and the divisional leader at 3.

They scouted 75 Mr. Prospector sons over six months before finding Allen's Prospect, whom prominent owner Allen Paulson had shopped unsuccessfully in Kentucky. In his first two years Allen's Prospect begat more than 100 foals; he has two 2-year-olds in the Nursery -- including Xray and Calledons Prospect, who is owned in part by songwriter Burt Bacharach -- and two in the Lassie. Both are $100,000 races.

Adding the farm's other stallions, Assault Landing and Corridor Key, Country Life's studs serviced some 225 mares this year as business reached a new high. Josh has used his law degree to take control of contracts and marketing, Mike his economics degree to handle finances, and Andrew trains the family's few racehorses. To own runners, they say, can be uplifting; to create them is rewarding in a special way.

"It's a justification of your endeavors," Joe Pons said. "Everybody gets fired up. It's a win for the home team."

With Allen's Prospect only 8 years old and Carnivalay 9, Country Life's most lucrative days probably have not dawned, although the most fulfilling ones have. And with the dissolution of Windfields Farm, long Maryland's foremost stallion station, the market has become somewhat more accessible.

"We went through some pretty hard times," Mike Pons said. "We were wondering whether {the farm} would be around to run it. . . . Now it's all unfolding. We're in chapter 3 of what hopefully will become a nice big book." Racing Show Scratched

WFTY-TV-50 has terminated the "Maryland Racing" show, which replays each day's races at Laurel and Pimlico at 11 p.m.

According to program co-ordinator Sonya Long, the station was not aware that the half-hour program would not air during the recent 10-day Timonium meeting and was left with a void when it did not plan substitute programming. Track officials said they'll look into alternative programming. . . .

Jockey Mark Rosenthal, 17, got his first victory today as Beth's Champ ($32.40) outlasted Ancient Archie by about a length in the 10th race.