11/24/2006 12:00AM

What's not new at Pin Oak Lane?


No farm in Pennsylvania or the surrounding states has had more going on in recent months than Dr. William J. Solomon's Pin Oak Lane Farm in New Freedom, Pa.

Word came in mid-October that the bustling nursery, encompassing nearly 400 acres just north of the Maryland border, will stand three leading Pennsylvania stallions who formerly resided at Regal Heir Farm. Coinciding with that development was the exploits of juveniles Eagle Speed and Fancy Dan, the first two stakes winners for Pin Oak Lane's young sire Coastal Storm. Then, after adjusting the roster and having all its stallions lined up for the new season, Pin Oak Lane took a blow with the loss of one of its most popular stallions, Wheaton.

Add the excitement of the long-anticipated slots revenue finally starting to roll in, and one would think that Solomon would be emotionally drained. But after speaking with Solomon, a practicing veterinarian who also maintains a busy equine clinic, it sounds as if it's just business as usual.

The anticipation of slots fueling the breeders' fund has allowed farms such as Pin Oak Lane to offer higher quality stallions in recent years, with many arriving via Kentucky.

"A lot of the horses coming out of Kentucky aren't bad sires," Solomon said. "They just couldn't compete against the best of Kentucky's sires."

The current top five Pennsylvania sires -- all transplants from other states who will stand or have stood at Pin Oak Lane -- bear this out. Lite the Fuse, who has led the ranks of Pennsylvania sires since making his move to Pin Oak Lane from Florida at the start of the 2005 breeding season, has progeny earnings in excess of $3 million this year.

He ranks 67th in the nation and is the sire of eight stakes winners in 2006, including the undefeated

3-year-old Ferocious Fires, who most recently won the Mr. Leader Stakes at Aqueduct Nov. 11. The former Regal Heir stallions are Real Quiet (ranked second), Siphon (third), and Banker's Gold (fifth). Real Quiet is the sire of two Grade 1 winners this year -- Pussycat Doll and Wonder Lady Anne L. Siphon is the sire of 2005 Grade 1 Frank J. De Francis Memorial Dash winner I'm the Tiger, and Banker's Gold is represented by five stakes horses this year, including graded stakes-placed juvenile My List. All have covered large books of mares while standing in the Keystone State. Wheaton (ranked fourth) was set to stand his third year in Pennsylvania, but fractured a hind leg in his stall on Nov. 13.

"That was a tough one when we lost Wheaton," said Solomon.

Wheaton, 16, was a son of Alydar and half-brother to leading sire Storm Cat. Both were produced by the top-class race mare Terlingua. Wheaton was a good sire of 2-year-olds, and was North America's leader in 2004 by number of juvenile winners, with 24. Through Thursday, he was the sire of 11 stakes winners and 14 stakes-placed runners.

Pin Oak Lane can take credit for launching the career of Coastal Storm. By Storm Cat, Coastal Storm, owned by Overbrook Farm, is out of Grade 1 winner Pearl City, a half-sister to Grade 1 winner and top sire Hennessy.

Solomon describes Coastal Storm as "an absolute replica of Storm Cat, from an awesome family."

Coastal Storm has 10 winners from 18 starters in his first crop, but his sons Eagle Speed and Fancy Dan, which are his two winners from three starters in his second crop, have been making all the noise. The two, both bred and campaigned by Sam Engle's Willowdale Farms Ltd., have been tearing up Charles Town, taking the majority of the stakes for 2-year-olds there, and ran one-two (Eagle Speed won by a half-length) in the $100,000 Vincent Moscarelli Memorial Breeders Classic Stakes.

They have accounted for five stakes wins or placings, with combined earnings of more than $150,000 from 10 starts.

Solomon, who has been a breeder in Pennsylvania for more than 30 years, believes that slots already have raised the level of interest in breeding in the state. A former Pennsylvania Horse Breeders Association president who remains on the association's board of directors, Solomon had been one of the most vocal when it came to making changes to Pennsylvania's breeding fund program. New residency requirements and breed-back rules, announced in September, go into effect with the 2007 foal crop, and Solomon credits the change with generating greater interest in Pennsylvania stallions. "

"You'll see a much bigger increase in breeding back to Pennsylvania stallions in order to make foals eligible for the fund," he said.