08/01/2002 11:00PM

Look for the label 'Bred by Strawbridge'


To say that horses bred by Pennsylvanian George Strawbridge Jr. are on a hot streak is an understatement.

Five Strawbridge horses - all Pennsylvania-breds - won stakes during a 2 1/2-week span in July against some of the most highly rated performers in current competition.

The ultimate achiever, of course, is With Anticipation, a 7-year-old millionaire turf runner who campaigns as a homebred for Strawbridge's Augustin Stable. A son of Relaunch and top racemare Fran's Valentine (by Saros-GB), whom Strawbridge purchased privately in 1992, With Anticipation earned his third Grade 1 victory in Monmouth Park's United Nations Handicap on July 6.

Winning a Grade 1 race is always monumental, but this one was a monument to justice as well as talent, since With Anticipation lost last year's United Nations on a disqualification. A great gray running machine trained by Hall of Famer Jonathan Sheppard, With Anticipation won the Sword Dancer Invitational Handicap and Man o' War Stakes (both Grade 1) in 2001, and has finished first or second in his three starts this season. His lifetime earnings are $1,557,204.

Also holding the Strawbridge banner aloft in July were two 2-year-olds - Freedom's Daughter, a Grade 2-winning filly; and Rights Reserved, a gelding who won his maiden in Canadian stakes company - Rochester, another older turf specialist; and Invest West, a steeplechase runner. The 2-year-olds were sold at auction, but the other two race for Strawbridge, with Sheppard as their trainer.

Freedom's Daughter, sold for $525,000 at last year's Saratoga Yearling sale, carried the colors of Satish Sanan's Padua Stables to a front-running 1 1/4-length victory in the Grade 2 Schuylerville Stakes on opening day at Saratoga, July 24. Trained by Todd Pletcher, she is undefeated in two starts, having aired by 7 3/4 lengths at first asking on June 22 at Monmouth. Freedom's Daughter (by Saint Ballado) is the fifth foal and first stakes winner for her dam Carezza (by Caro-Ire), whom Sheppard purchased for $100,000 as a yearling (in the name of London Thoroughbred Services) at the 1990 Keeneland July sale. Carezza raced for Strawbridge in the U.S. and France, winning the Montclair State College Stakes and placing in eight other added-money races, including the Grade 3 Violet Handicap.

Rights Reserved won by 3 1/4 lengths in the Colin Stakes at Woodbine on July 14, making his mark after finishing second and third in maiden special weight races at that track in May and June. Sold for $14,000 at year's Keeneland October Yearling sale, Rights Reserved (by With Approval-Royal Reserves, by Forty Niner) is owned by J.P. Mitchell and Gail Casselman and trained by Casselman.

Rochester, a 6-year-old horse by Green Dancer out of English-bred group stakes winner Central City (by Midyan), whom Strawbridge acquired overseas, specializes in distance turf races. So it was no surprise when the Strawbridge-bred Rochester cruised to a 1 1/2-length score in the first division of Delaware Park's Cape Henlopen Stakes, a 1 1/2-mile race on the grass, on July 21. It was the second career stakes win for Rochester who won 5 of 10 starts in 2001, including the Sycamore Breeders' Cup at Keeneland. Rochester has lifetime earnings of $308,212.

Lastly, Strawbridge's Invest West - who two years ago won the Grade 1 Carolina Cup over jumps - added to his resume a victory in the Grade 3 David L. (Zeke) Ferguson Memorial Stakes at Colonial Downs on July 13.

Invest West (by Private Account-Seattle Way, by Seattle Slew) boasts an illustrious pedigree, as a grandson of the champion handicap mare Waya (Fr), who campaigned for Strawbridge in partnership with Peter Brant in the 1970's.

Strawbridge sold Invest West's half-brother by Kingmambo at last year's Saratoga Yearling sale. The price was a cool $3 million.