11/14/2003 12:00AM

At last, Elk Manor has its stars


Jim Moran has been waiting for a good horse to come along and help put his Elk Manor Farm in Northeast, Md., on the map as a commercial breeding operation. Now it's happened - twice.

The season's first two Maryland Fund stakes for 2-year-olds - the Heavenly Cause Stakes for fillies on Nov. 1, and Rollicking Stakes on Nov. 8 - were won by horses bred and sold by Elk Manor.

So far, the standout between the two winners is Richetta, a daughter of Polish Numbers who packed a wallop in winning the Maryland Million Lassie Stakes on Oct. 11, and was equally convincing when she scored at 1-10 odds in the Heavenly Cause.

Richetta, owned in partnership by Tom Bowman and Milton Higgins and trained by Robin Graham, has earned $108,110 from four career starts and is on track to be the champion Maryland-bred 2-year-old filly of 2003.

But that's not to discount the merits of White Mountain Boy, who remained undefeated in two starts after being given the victory in the Rollicking via a disqualification.

"We're excited about both of them," said Moran, who maintains about a dozen broodmares, and began selling yearlings in the commercial market in the mid-1990's. "Both of these horses are out of young mares that we still own."

Moran is a son of Elizabeth Moran, whose Brushwood Stable in Malvern, Pa., has long ranked among the nation's premier auction buyers and sellers.

After establishing Elk Manor in 1993, Moran began acquiring fillies with strong racing and breeding prospects. His early purchases included Richetta's dam, Riscay (by Rahy).

Purchased for $100,000 from the Clovelly Farm consignment at the 1995 Keeneland September yearling sale, Riscay campaigned for Moran for three years. Riscay won or placed in 10 of 19 starts, including a second in the 1998 April Run Stakes, for earnings of $90,669.

Riscay produced Richetta as her first foal, and Richetta passed through the auction ring at Timonium twice. Elk Manor sold Richetta for $22,000 at the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic Eastern fall yearling sale, and she was resold for $100,000 at the 2-year-olds in training sale.

Elk Manor sold Riscay's current yearling, by Two Punch, for $95,000 at Keeneland September. Now owned by Jim Moran and his brothers Mike and Ranney, Riscay has a Two Punch yearling filly and is in foal to Carson City.

Elk Manor mares always foal at home in Maryland, but are mostly bred to Kentucky sires, said Moran.

"It varies," said Moran. "We own a share in Two Punch, so we breed to him every year. And I was a big fan of Polish Numbers. This year we bred a mare to Unbridled Jet. We like to send the younger mares to proven stallions, and older mares to younger, unproven stallions."

White Mountain Boy is the product of Kentucky sire Meadowlake and La Sarto, who already represents a marketing success story.

Moran acquired La Sarto (by Cormorant), via the claim box, for $25,000 at Saratoga in August 1994, in the middle of her 4-year-old campaign.

Moran has sold three of La Sarto's foals as yearlings, for a combined total of $390,000. Her first foal to sell at auction was a Polish Numbers colt, Allthemoney, who brought $200,000 at the 1999 Eastern fall yearling sale.

White Mountain Boy was sold for $50,000 by Elk Manor at the 2002 Keeneland September yearling sale, and resold for $50,000 at the 2003 Fasig-Tipton Florida February 2-year-olds in training sale. White Mountain Boy campaigns for owner Mike Gill, his purchaser at that auction.