-- As schoolboys in Jamaica, Donnovan Haughton and Kevin Burton used to fight all the time. Now 37 and grown, the two put down their hostilities years ago, but they retain a competitive streak.
Haughton trains Grant's Moon, whom he and Burton co-own, and the talented filly showed she will be an imposing presence in the Maryland Million next month by crushing nine other runners Saturday to win the $50,000 Alma North Stakes for fillies and mares at Timonium.
The race, shortened two years ago from 11/16 miles to a two-turn 61/2 furlongs, is the traditional centerpiece of the Maryland State Fair meet, which concludes Monday.
Stalking a fast pace set by Leavn Ona Jetplane and Rudbeckia, Grant's Moon raced four wide on the first turn before powering by on the second and pulling away under jockey Alberto Delgado to win by 33/4 lengths in 1 minute 17.73 seconds.
Haughton, based at the Bowie Training Center, doesn't train many horses, but he has shown his skill with Grant's Moon, a stakes-placed 2-year-old in 2003 who missed 14 months of racing following a condylar fracture in her right front ankle. After a corrective operation last year, Haughton didn't let Grant's Moon out of his sight.
"I kept her at the barn the whole time," he said in the winner's circle. "I was scared to send her to the farm. She stays with me."
Burton, who lives in Bowie and owns a flooring company, moved to Maryland in 1985. On a visit back home to Jamaica in 1997, he ran into his old friend Haughton, who was working as a jockey, and recommended he move to the United States. Burton asked trainer Eddie Gaudet to help him get started, and Haughton wound up riding at Charles Town and Timonium.
"It's great here," Haughton said. "In Jamaica you have 250 jockeys and one track, and they only run twice a week."
Haughton didn't have much impact as a jockey, but it appears he will as a trainer. He has won 19 races from just 62 starters this year -- an excellent 30.6 percent -- and Grant's Moon, a $3,000 auction purchase, has earned $176,730.
"He just doesn't have the horses," Burton said.
Racing Notes: Delgado, who used to dominate at Timonium, picked up his first win of the meet with Grant's Moon. . . .
William Boniface, who founded Bonita Farm in Darlington, Md., died Thursday at age 89 after a short illness. Boniface covered racing for the Baltimore Sun from 1937 until 1982.