06/16/2005 11:00PM

In-state success of United has given breeder a boost


United has flown, in more ways than one.

In his 13 career starts for Dogwood Stable and Saratoga-based trainer George Weaver, United, a 3-year-old Pennsylvania-bred colt, has raced at 11 tracks in eight states. Fortunately for his breeder, Phil Fanning, United's two stakes wins have come in his home state - where he is undefeated.

"The breeder's awards have been quite substantial, and a welcome boost to our operation," Fanning said after United's dominating victory in the Peppy Addy Stakes for Pennsylvania-breds on June 11 at Philadelphia Park.

Dispatched as the 1-2 favorite in a field of six for the Peppy Addy, United set the pace and turned back determined challenges from second- and third-place finishers North Potomac and Moonshine Man to win by 1 1/2 lengths in 1:22.18 for the seven furlongs.

Last November, United won the seven-furlong Pennsylvania Nursery at Philadelphia Park in similar front-running style.

Since winning his maiden at Saratoga in August, United has run second in three stakes: the Continental Mile at Monmouth in September, the World Appeal Stakes at The Meadowlands in October, and the Woodlawn Stakes at Pimlico in May.

United, who has earned $153,856, is "definitely one of our most exciting 3-year-olds," said Dogwood vice president Jack Sadler.

All three of United's stakes placings have come on the grass, at distances of a mile or more.

"We've believed all along that his best potential would be on the turf, and we're hoping that he has a big future there," Sadler said.

United's next start, according to Sadler, is expected to be the Spend a Buck Stakes at 1 1/16 miles on the turf, on July 9 at Monmouth Park.

"We're in a great position with him, because if a race comes off the grass, we don't have to worry," Sadler said. "We know he can run on the dirt because all three of his wins have been on the dirt. His best distance is still a question."

United's forays have been a delight for Fanning, who counts the colt's dam, Robyns Tune, among the 10 broodmares at his Ivy Dell Stud near Unionville, Pa. Robyns Tune is a stakes-winning daughter of Robyn Dancer.

Fanning bought Robyns Tune with United (a son of Dixie Union) in utero for $180,000 at the 2001 Keeneland November sale.

"I bought her to cheer up my wife, who was seriously ill," Fanning said. "And now the mare is cheering me up."

Fanning's late wife, Jill Fanning, who died in March 2003, was one of Pennsylania's most accomplished horsewomen, with much of her success coming with steeplechasers. She trained Cancottage to win three runnings of the Maryland Hunt Cup (1980, 1981, and 1983) and bred Hunt Cup winners Bewley's Hill and Freeman's Hill, who were full brothers.

United was bred in the name of Knockmuira Stud, the racing and breeding establishment that Jill Fanning inherited from her mother, Mrs. Miles Valentine.

Phil Fanning sold United for $90,000 at the 2003 Saratoga yearling sale. The colt was subsequently consigned to the 2004 Fasig-Tipton February 2-year-olds in training sale, where Dogwood president Cot Campbell bought him for $150,000.

United is the second stakes performer from Robyn Dancer's two foals to race. Her first foal, the 4-year-old Tale of the Cat gelding Tale of Woe, finished second in the 2003 Maria's Mon Stakes and has earned $132,952.

Fanning has bred two more foals from Robyn Dancer - a 2-year-old filly, Robyns Anthem, whom he sold for $25,000 at the 2004 Keeneland September yearling sale, and a yearling colt by Belong to Me, whom he hopes to sell at Keeneland this September.

Robyns Tune was barren for 2005, but is in foal to Dixie Union.