03/14/2003 1:00AM

Penn. breeding: Top honor for With Anticipation


With Anticipation, winner of three consecutive Grade 1 races last year, is the standout on the list of 2002 Pennsylvania-bred champions announced this week by the Pennsylvania Horse Breeders Association. The PHBA will present awards to breeders of the statebred champions at the Iroquois Awards Banquet on May 23 at the Hotel Hershey, in Hershey, Pa.

Bred and raced by longtime leading Pennsylvania breeder George Strawbridge Jr., With Anticipation (Relaunch-Fran's Valentine, by Saros) earned $1,507,700 in eight starts as a 7-year-old in 2002. He now ranks as the third-leading Pennsylvania-bred money earner of all time with career earnings of $2,641,204. The only Pennsylvania-breds to top With Anticipation in earnings are Nobo Jack ($3,385,388), who campaigns in Japan, and 1996 Breeders' Cup Classic winner Alphabet Soup.

Campaigned exclusively on turf under the care of Jonathan Sheppard - a Hall of Fame trainer based in Unionville, Pa. - With Anticipation had the best season of his career in 2002. In rapid succession, he won Monmouth Park's Grade 1 United Nations Handicap (in a course-record-setting time of 2:12.81 for the 1 3/8 miles), the Grade 1 Sword Dancer Handicap at Saratoga (defeating eventual Breeders' Cup Classic winner Volponi), and the Grade 1 Man o' War Handicap at Belmont Park.

With Anticipation came on in the stretch to finish second behind High Chaparral in the Breeders' Cup Turf, and was runner-up to High Chaparral for the Eclipse Award as the nation's champion turf male.

With Anticipation is Pennsylvania's champion older male. Other Pennsylvania-bred champions are:

Yo: 2-year-old male. Winner of two Pennsylvania-bred stakes, the Storm Cat and Pennsylvania Nursery at Philadelphia Park, Yo (Valid Wager-Talcum Dee, by Talc) won 3 of 4 starts for earnings of $87,640. He was bred by Michigan resident Dr. Donald Dreyfuss in the name of E & D Enterprises.

Freedom's Daughter: 2-year-old filly. Bred by George Strawbridge, Freedom's Daughter (Saint Ballado-Carezza, by Caro) had a sensational, though brief, campaign for owner Satish Sanan's Padua Stables and trainer Todd Pletcher. She went undefeated in two starts, one of which was a front-running victory in the Grade 2 Schuylerville Stakes at Saratoga, before contracting a fatal illness. She earned $109,200.

Della Francesca: 3-year-old male. Pennsylvanian Elizabeth Moran bred Della Francesca (Danzig-La Affirmed, by Affirmed) in the name of her Brushwood Stable and raced him in Ireland in partnership with Susan Magnier and Michael Tabor. He won the Group 3 Gallinule Stakes at Leopardstown and placed in two other group stakes, including a third in the Group 1 Irish 2000 Guineas, and earned $106,751.

Caught in the Rain: 3-year-old filly. Ron Perozzi's Casino Royale Farm homebred Caught in the Rain (Petionville-Jinger Feathers, by Fred Astaire) accounted for the most famous upset of any Pennsylvania-bred last year, winning the Grade 2 Mrs. Revere Stakes ($66.20 mutuel payoff) in her first attempt outside of restricted company. She also won the Mrs. Penny Stakes at Philadelphia Park and two of her other six starts, earning $195,506.

Malvern Rose: older mare. A multiple stakes winner who races for her breeder, Patricia Brunstetter, Malvern Rose (1997, Carnivalay-Igotnothingtolose, by Travelling Music) won or placed in 13 of 16 starts last year, winning five times in allowance company. She placed in three stakes races and earned $182,440.

It's a Giggle: steeplechaser. Named Pennsylvania's champion steeplechaser for the second year in a row, It's a Giggle (1994, Northern Baby-Martie's Delighted, by Mo Bay) was bred by partners William Pape and Jonathan Sheppard and campaigned in Pape's name with Sheppard as his trainer. The brilliant jumper won three stakes races, including the Grade 1 Royal Chase Hurdle at Keeneland in 2002, but sadly will not be back for another season, having died from colic in mid-December.