02/23/2007 1:00AM

Great Hunter gets nod over Hard Spun


Pennsylvania's 2006 champions are an impressive group that includes two Grade 1 winners and runners with combined earnings of more than $2.2 million.

Great Hunter, the California-based Grade 1 winner who finished third in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile, leads all Pa.-breds by 2006 earnings with $630,000.

Bred by Philip F.N. Fanning, the 82-year-old lifelong horseman who is now phasing out operations at his Ivy Dell Stud near Unionville, Pa., Great Hunter (Aptitude-Zenith, by Roy) was sold for $30,000 at the 2005 Keeneland September yearling sale. Owner Paul Reddam purchased him privately after he won his maiden at Lone Star Park in his second start.

Great Hunter, trained by Doug O'Neill, won the Grade 1 Breeders' Futurity at Keeneland after finishing second in three consecutive Grade 2 and Grade 3 stakes in California. He finished in the money in each of his seven starts.

Great Hunter took the title of champion Pa.-bred 2-year-old male. But in most years the honor would have gone to local sensation Hard Spun, who went undefeated through three starts in 2006, two of them stakes, including a stellar performance in the Pennsylvania Nursery.

Other champions, as chosen by the Awards Committee of the Pennsylvania Horse Breeders Association, are:

Two-year-old filly: Cajun Hottie (Dixieland Heat-Hot Little Dish, by Turkey Shoot). Bred and owned by Ron Glorioso and Mark Rosen, and trained by Glorioso, Cajun Hottie won 3 of 7 starts, highlighted by a victory in Pennsylvania's premier event for statebred 2-year-old fillies, the Blue Mountain Juvenile at Penn National. Her season's earnings were $55,210.

Three-year-old male: Arson Squad (Brahms-Majestic Fire, by Green Dancer). Arson Squad's breeder, Dr. Donald Dreyfuss (E & D Enterprises), is a Bloomfield, Mich., physician who also bred the 2002 Pa.-bred champion 2-year-old male, Yo. Sold for $20,000 as a weanling at the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky November mixed sale, Arson Squad campaigns for Samantha and Mace Siegel (Jay Em Ess Stable), who bought him for $100,000 at the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky July yearling sale.

Arson Squad, trained by Bruce Headley, won 4 of 9 starts, earning $372,450, with two stakes wins, including a victory in the Grade 2 Swaps BC, and two graded stakes placings. He came back strong this season at 4, winning the Grade 2 Strub Stakes at Santa Anita on Feb. 3.

Three-year-old filly: Hailie's Girl (Lucy North-Invite the Blues, by Cure the Blues). Bred by Kimberlite Farm LLC, owned by Secluded Stable and Hopes Racing Stable, and trained by Guadalupe Preciado. A Pa.-bred divisional champion for the second year in a row, Hailie's Girl won 2 of 10 starts, earning $110,240. She captured the Foxy J. G. Stakes and placed in four additional stakes.

Older male: Master Command (2002, A.P. Indy-Lady Lochinvar, by Lord at War). Bred by Brushwood Stable in Malvern, Pa., the major commercial breeding operation maintained by Elizabeth Moran, Master Command was sold for $650,000 at the 2003 Saratoga yearling sale. Like all of Moran's horses, he comes from illustrious stock. His dam is a full sister to Group 1 winner La Gueriere, and half-sister to Grade 1 winner and sire Al Mamoon.

Campaigning for owners Aaron and Marie Jones, Master Command won the Grade 2 Meadowlands Cup and Grade 3 William D. Schaefer Handicap, and placed third in the Philip H. Iselin BC Handicap, earning $466,098 in seven starts.

Older female: S W Aly'svalentine (2002, Malibu Moon-S W Phoebie, by Allen's Prospect). Racing as a homebred for Richard and Gale Reveley and trained by Amy Albright, S W Aly'svalentine earned divisional honors for the second consecutive season., capturing three stakes, including the unrestricted Kattegat's Pride, and earning $145,920.

Turf runner: Heavenly Ransom (2002, Red Ransom-Heavenly Cat, by Tabasco Cat). Bred by Brushwood Stable; owned by Mr. and Mrs. Vicken Meguerditchian and trained by Thomas Bell. Sold for a bargain $22,000 at the 2003 Keeneland September yearling sale, Heavenly Ransom won 3 of 4 starts, including a victory in the Grade 3 Wilshire Handicap, earning $132,520.

Steeplechaser: Mixed Up (1999, Carnivalay-Oh Nonsense, by Oh Say). A winning performance in the Grade 1 New York Turf Writers Cup at Saratoga highlighted a second consecutive Pa.-bred championship season for Mixed Up, who is bred and owned by the formidable Pennsylvania-based duo of Bill Pape and Hall of Fame trainer Jonathan Sheppard.

Sheppard sent out Mixed Up to win or place in 6 of his 7 starts, all stakes, earning $204,900. He also captured the Grade 3 Marcellus Frost Hurdle Stakes and Flatterer Hurdle Handicap and placed third in the Grade 1 BC Grand National Hurdle.

Claimer: Raging Rapids (mare, 2001, Roanoke-Enraged, by Pine Bluff). Bred by Fiasco Farms Ltd., owned by Victory Thoroughbreds LLC (Juanita Bennett). and trained by Ramon Preciado. Claimed for $10,000 in April, Raging Rapids went on to win seven races, including the Pistol Packer Handicap.