08/03/2006 11:00PM

Spring Water: Steady source of talent


Richard and Gale Reveley have not stamped a brand on horses bred and raised at their Spring Water Farm in Glen Rock, Pa. But they have found another way to make them instantly recognizable - giving them names that begin with the initials "S W."

Over the past decade, those letters have taken on added meaning at tracks in Pennsylvania and Maryland. They are often the mark of a serious warrior.

The current heavy-hitter among the Reveleys' troops is S W Aly'svalentine, a 4-year-old daughter of former Maryland sire Malibu Moon who scored convincingly in the Ambassador of Luck Handicap last Saturday at Philadelphia Park.

The race was one of six featured statebred restricted stakes on the sixth annual Pennsylvania's Day at the Races - a festive event that drew more than 500 of the state's breeders and their guests.

Aiming for her third victory in a row, S W Aly'svalentine was dispatched as the 2-1 favorite and 121-pound highweight in a field of nine. She lived up to expectations by setting every fraction under jockey Vladimir Diaz in the seven-furlong contest, holding off the lightly weighted (115 pounds) runner-up, Hailie's Girl, by 1 1/2 lengths, scoring in a final time of 1:22.62.

S W Aly'svalentine belongs to a family that makes up the nucleus of the small breeding operation at 50-acre Spring Water Farm. The Reveleys bought her great-granddam, Babalinka, (by Stonewalk out of Surfing, by Noor) for $11,000, in foal to Darby Creek Road, at the 1986 Maryland Sales Agency February auction.

"Babalinka was our first Thoroughbred," said Reveley, who along with his wife owned and showed Arabians for many years before switching their focus to Thoroughbreds in the late 1980's.

In an unusual reversal, the Reveleys owned a share in the stallion Carnivalay before they had any mares to breed to him, Reveley explained.

Like many other people in the region, the Reveleys trace their early experiences in the business to the Pons family, proprietors of Country Life Farm (where Carnivalay, a son of Northern Dancer, had a long and successful career and now is living out his life as a pensioner).

The first registered foal that Babalinka produced for the Reveleys (in 1988) was Carnivalay's daughter Shirley Furlong. After a relatively successful racing career that included wins and placings in 13 of her 38 starts and earnings of $43,168, Shirley Furlong joined the broodmare band at Spring Water Farm and produced as her first foal, in 1995, S W Phoebie, by Country Life stallion Allen's Prospect. S W Phoebie proved ultra-consistent on the racetrack, finishing off the board only once in her dozen starts and earning $64,730.

S W Aly'svalentine is S W Phoebie's second foal. S W Aly'svalentine hails from the second crop of Malibu Moon, and thus is a contemporary of Malibu Moon's Eclipse Award-winning son Declan's Moon. She was conceived at Country Life, where Malibu Moon (now at Castleton Lyons in Kentucky) held court until his first crop, containing California graded star Perfect Moon, came to the races in 2003.

Gale Reveley credits Country Life's assistant manager, Val Kilby, with steering them toward Malibu Moon.

Unraced at 2, S W Aly'svalentine burst on the scene last year, taking honors as champion Pennsylvania-bred 3-year-old filly based upon her victory in the Wonders Delight Stakes and second-place finishes in the Foxy J.G. Stakes and Ambassador of Luck Handicap, along with four allowance scores.

S W Aly'svalentine is undefeated in two starts this season, having captured the Missy Good Stakes at Penn National on July 6 with a Beyer Speed Figure of 95. Her latest win boosted her earnings to $166,080 from 15 career starts.

The Reveleys' best runner to date is still Babalinka's son S W Clarence, a huge (18-hand) gelding by Maryland-based Iron who won or placed in eight stakes in Pennsylvania and Maryland as a 5- and 6-year-old in 1999 and 2000.

Currently, the couple has seven horses in training, five of them descendants of Babalinka. They are spread between Randolph and another trainer at Penn National, Tom Lingenfelter.

The Reveleys typically keep six broodmares on their farm, handling about 90 percent of their care themselves. S W Phoebie, sadly, is not among them. She died of colic a few weeks ago, in foal to Lite the Fuse, but leaving a 2006 colt by Knockadoon.