01/30/2004 12:00AM

Top honors for Russian Rhythm

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A Pennsylvania-bred star who made headlines in Europe, a farm with a roster of leading sires, and a perennial leading breeder were among the top Pennsylvania performers in 2003.

The most accomplished Pennsylvania-bred runner of 2003 was Russian Rhythm.

A three-time Group 1 winner at 3 last season, Russian Rhythm earned $880,027 from five starts. Bred by Elizabeth Moran's Brushwood Stable, Russian Rhythm surprised many, including her trainer, Michael Stoute, in her first start of the year, the English classic 1000 Guineas, which she won with authority over the eventual Breeders' Cup Mile winner, Six Perfections.

Russian Rhythm also captured the Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot, followed by a victory against older females in the Nassau Stakes at Goodwood. She rounded out her 3-year-old campaign with a second-place finish to Falbrav in the one-mile Queen Elizabeth II Stakes, a Group 1 race, and then a fifth in the Champion Stakes at Newmarket in her final start of the year.

At 2 she won two group stakes and finished second in the Group 1 Cheveley Park Stakes.

A chestnut filly by Kingmambo out of Brushwood Stable's homebred mare Balistroika (by Nijinsky II), Russian Rhythm was sold by her breeder for $370,000 as a weanling at the 2000 Keeneland November sale. Her current owner, Cheveley Park Stud, purchased Russian Rhythm for $678,770 at the Tattersalls Houghton sale in 2001.

Russian Rhythm has career earnings of $1,057,066 from nine starts, ranking her ninth on the all-time list of Pennsylvania-bred money winners, directly behind another Brushwood Stable star, High Yield ($1,170,196).

Docent was the leading Pennsylvania-bred by number of stakes wins lsat year, with five.

Pennsylvania's leading handicap horse, Docent, picked up where he left off in 2002, winning five stakes for the second consecutive year, topped by a repeat victory in the Maryland Million Classic Stakes. A son of Waquoit out of Dormir (by Halo), Docent, 6, was bred by Mr. and Mrs. Bernard Daney, and he has earned $740,516 from 28 starts, with 11 stakes wins, over three seasons.

There were 30 Pennsylvania-bred stakes winners in 2003, and seven of them - nearly 25 percent - were graded winners. Leading the way was Russian Rhythm, but Brushwood Stable was also represented as the breeder of Grade 2 Belmont Breeders' Cup Handicap winner Della Francesca.

Other Pennsylvania-bred graded stakes winners - all Grade 3 or Group 3 - in 2003 were Caught in the Rain (Athenia Handicap at Belmont), Presidentialaffair (Stuyvesant Handicap at Aqueduct), Rochester (Kentucky Cup Turf Handicap at Kentucky Downs), Lord Zada (Appleton Hurdle Stakes at Far Hills) and juvenile Fantastic View (Autumn Stakes at Ascot in England).

Patton tops sires

Tom Reigle has assembled an arsenal of top sires at his Reigle Heir Farms in Grantville. Patton, who moved to Reigle Heir for the 2001 season, led the state's general sires lists in all categories in 2003. Patton, a 13-year-old graded-stakes-winning son of Lord at War, had $2,031,220 in total progeny earnings for the year from four crops to race, and his 75 winners accounted for 134 wins.

The top three places on Pennsylvania's leading sires lists were taken by Reigle Heir stallions - second was Caller I. D., who joined the farm's roster in 2003. In third came Reigle Heir's newest addition, Banker's Gold.

In addition, Banker's Gold's 2-year-olds earned $292,830 in 2003, by far the highest total among the state's sires, nearly $100,000 more than Caller I. D., who was second.

It's never a surprise to see George Strawbridge top the leading breeders lists, which he did again in 2003. The Strawbridge broodmare band produced four stakes winners last year - Lord Zada, Risotto and Rochester, as well as Fantastic View, bred in partnership with London Thoroughbred Services Ltd.

Strawbridge-bred runners earned $1,672,981 in 2003.