Updated on 09/17/2011 6:02PM

Promise of slots riches prompts expansion


The bandwagon is filling up in Pennsylvania, before a slot machine handle has even been pulled.

When Gov. Ed Rendell signed the bill in July legalizing slots in the state, Pennsylvania's breeding industry prepared to take off. Recent announcements indicate business is soaring.

"People are looking down the road," said the veterinarian William Solomon, owner of Pin Oak Lane Farm, a 400-acre breeding farm located just across the Maryland border in New Freedom, Pa. "There has been a lot of activity, with breeders wanting to foal mares in Pennsylvania as well as wanting to stand stallions in the state."

Solomon, a former president of the Pennsylvania Horse Breeders Association, is quick to point out the major attraction: Money for the state's breeders fund is projected to more than triple.

"The breeding program, which now distributes $8 million annually, is expected to grow to $25 million," said Solomon. "Breeders are going to benefit, as well, with increases in purses and increases in the number of tracks."

Solomon expanded the Pin Oak Lane stallion barn in 2003 to 11 stalls in anticipation of the slots bill passage, and has already hit the jackpot. In the past month, Pin Oak Lane announced the addition of six new stallions to its roster. A total of nine stallions are expected to stand at the farm in 2005.

Pin Oak Lane's new additions include four with crops of racing age: Multiple Grade 1 winners Lite the Fuse and Will's Way, graded stakes winner Appealing Skier, and Storm Cat's half-brother Wheaton. Each has a stud fee of $3,500 live foal.

Lite the Fuse comes to Pennsylvania after standing at Adena Springs South in Florida. A millionaire, he earned his money in the sprint division, winning six stakes, including back-to-back runnings of both the Grade 1 Carter Handicap and Frank J. De Francis Memorial Dash.

A son of Buckaroo - from the sire line that has produced recent top sprinters Pico Central and Shake You Down - Lite the Fuse entered stud in 1997. He has sired 11 stakes winners; his most recent is the 2-year-old Ablo, winner of the $250,000 Coronation Futurity at Woodbine on Nov. 13. With 2004 progeny earnings of more than $2 million, 13-year-old Lite the Fuse tops the state's sires by money won.

Will's Way won two of the nation's most prestigious races - the Travers Stakes and Whitney Handicap - and earned $956,400 from 13 starts. An 11-year-old son of Easy Goer out of Willamae (by Tentam), Will's Way is a half-brother to leading Maryland sire Citidancer as well as Grade 1 winner Willa on the Move. He entered stud in Kentucky in 1999.

With his first crop, now 4, Will's Way has sired stakes winners Lion Tamer and Gang. Lion Tamer has earnings of more than $500,000 and counts three graded scores among his seven wins, including this year's Commonwealth Breeders' Cup Stakes at Keeneland and Richter Scale Breeders' Cup Handicap at Gulfstream Park.

Wheaton is currently the nation's top-ranked stallion by number of juvenile winners, with 20. From six crops to race, Wheaton has sired 15 stakes horses and has total progeny earnings of more than $6 million.

Fourteen-year-old Wheaton is by Alydar out of graded stakes winner Terlingua, a half-sister to Breeders' Cup Mile winner and champion Royal Academy and a full sister to graded stakes winner Pancho Villa.

Appealing Skier (by Baldski) has sired six stakes horses in his first four crops. A track-record-setting sprinter and a full or half-brother to three stakes winners, including Trippi, Appealing Skier stood the past three seasons in Maryland.