11/16/2007 12:00AM

Skeedattle strikes gold with young mares

EmailSkeedattle Associates, a partnership comprising Willie White, Lou Rehak, and Bob Orndorff, has had many successes in its 16 years of owning Thoroughbreds. Skeedattle has expanded to the breeding side of the business, and within a short time has notched numerous accomplishments, among the most notable coming over the past two weeks at Laurel Park.

From a small band of broodmares, Skeedattle Associates bred Digger, winner of the Northern Dancer Stakes on Nov. 3, and Headsandtales, who captured the Find Handicap on Nov. 10. Both runners are the first foals out of mares purchased by Skeedattle as yearlings.

"We try to stay with people we know," said White. "We support the people who help and support us. We know they breed and raise good horses on their farm. That's a big part of our success."

The Bowman family on the Eastern Shore has been instrumental in the success of Skeedattle. The Skeedattle mares in Maryland are kept at the Bowmans' Dance Forth Farm in Chestertown and Roland Farm in Chesapeake City, and include Indian Head Penny, a daughter of Waquoit who was bred by the Bowmans and acquired by Skeedattle as a yearling in 1995. Indian Head Penny, the dam of Headsandtales, was a stakes winner of $217,738. A big, strong filly, Indian Head Penny fit the program that Skeedattle was building.

"She comes from a good family and we like Relaunch-line mares," White said.

Indian Head Penny, who is in foal to Not for Love, is one of five Skeedattle-owned mares. Da Choice, the dam of Digger, is also at Dance Forth Farm.

Raised by Jackie Ramos in Kentucky at Ashley Stud, where Skeedattle boards its Kentucky-based mares, Da Choice (by Dehere) was purchased as a yearling for $70,000 at Keeneland September in 2001. Unraced after fracturing her knee while in training, she was bred to Yonaguska in 2003, and produced Digger the following May.

Unfortunately for the Skeedattle partners, Digger was claimed out of his second start, in November of his 2-year-old year, for $25,000. He won his maiden the next month for owner Lawrence Roman and finished third in the Maryland Juvenile Championship in his final start of the year. In 2007, he has won two stakes, having also taken the Deputed Testamony at Laurel in September by nearly 12 lengths. Sent off at 1-9 odds in the 1 1/8-mile Northern Dancer, he set every fraction to win by 3 1/4 lengths.

"We root for him every time he runs," said White.

Da Choice has a yearling colt by Lion Hearted and produced a filly by first-year sire Dance With Ravens this year. She is in foal to Lion Hearted.

Luckily for the partners, Headsandtales, a son of Tale of the Cat, is one of the six horses they currently have in training. Based with their longtime trainer Robin Graham, Headsandtales was overlooked by bettors in the Find Handicap - "but not by us," said White.

The second-longest price, at 25-1, in the eight-horse field, Headsandtales was always in contention and drew off to win by nearly two lengths in the 1 1/8-mile turf stakes. He has won 5 of 21 starts and $129,060.

Skeedattle also has Headsandtales's 2-year-old half-brother Money for Love (by Not for Love) in training. Still a maiden, Money for Love was third in his most recent effort on Nov. 3.

The jewel of the Skeedattle broodmares remains Gin Talking, a daughter of Allen's Prospect purchased by Skeedattle as a yearling in 1998 for $40,000, and described by White as "the best at everything." The Maryland-bred horse of the year in 2000 and a graded stakes winner, Gin Talking retired with earnings of $348,206 from 11 starts. Her first foal, Dixie Talking, was a graded stakes winner and is now one of the Skeedattle mares. Gin Talking's second foal is multiple-stakes-placed Keep on Talking. White is excited about Gin Talking's third foal, her current 2-year-old colt Fast Talking, by Hennessy. A winner first time out at Pimlico in June, he had a chip taken out of his ankle, but is due back in training on Dec. 1.

"Breeding to race is a long and tough route," said White. "But it's so good when involved with people like the Bowmans and Jackie Ramos."