Philadelphia Park was named the site for the 2002 national Claiming Crown. Launched in 1999, the six races worth $550,000 would be held for the first time at a track other than Canterbury Park.
“We’re very pleased to be able to showcase the Claiming Crown,” said Philadelphia Park’s vice-president and general manager Jim Gagliano. “It’s a great reward for our horsemen, who we feel are among the nation’s best.”
• Shamrock Farms in Woodbine, Md., became home to two stallions with Lane’s End Farm connections.
Established sire Eastern Echo, a Grade 1-winning juvenile whose progeny included Hollywood Futurity-G1 winner Swiss Yodeler, had previously stood at Lane’s End in Kentucky. Bred in Virginia by Paul Mellon, Eastern Echo represented one of Rokeby Farm’s most distinguished families. The 14-year-old son of Damascus was out of Northern Dancer’s graded stakes-winning daughter Wild Applause; his second dam was broodmare of the year Glowing Tribute, dam of Kentucky Derby-G1 winner Sea Hero and multiple Grade 1 winner and top sire Hero’s Honor.
Standing his first season was multiple graded stakes winner Jazz Club, a son of Dixieland Band out of the Farish family’s Mr. Prospector mare Hidden Garden, a half-sister to Delaware Oaks-G2 winner and major producer Up the Flagpole. Among Up the Flagpole’s offspring were champion Flagbird and Ashland Stakes-G1 winner Prospectors Delite.
Eastern Echo stood three seasons at Shamrock, and was to move to Maryland Stallion Station in Glyndon, for the 2005 season, but died of an apparent heart attack in December 2004.
• Two Philadelphia Park shippers upstaged New York runners in January at Aqueduct.
Fox Hill Farm Inc.’s Delaware Oaks-G3 winner Zonk, trained by John Servis, captured the Grade 3 Affectionately Handicap in her first start at 4.
One day later, Faith Tanchak’s 4-year-old filly Fabulous Find pulled a 9-1 surprise in a 6-furlong maiden special weight in her debut. The daughter of Lost Code out of Dial a Babe, by Fire Dancer, bred in Pennsylvania by Victoria Racing Stable Inc., was trained by Jose Gallegos, who noted: “She’s definitely got stakes potential.”
Zonk came back the next year to repeat in the Affectionately and retired with four stakes wins and earnings of $559,476.
Fabulous Find failed to win again in two more tries that winter and was retired. However, she became a star as a broodmare, her first foal being Grade 1-winning millionaire Fabulous Strike.
• The richest North American-based runner in 2001 bred in the Mid-Atlantic was Robert Meyerhoff’s Maryland-bred Include, an earner of $1,435,400 who counted five stakes wins during the season, including the Pimlico Special-G1.
Pennsylvania-bred Nobo Jack, based in Japan, banked $2,355,510 for the year to top all regional runners. Bred by Mrs. Lewis C. Ledyard, Nobo Jack captured six group races, including the JBC Sprint-G1.
• Country Life Farm’s perennial leading sire Allen’s Prospect led the nation by winners in a season for the fifth time since 1995. The 20-year-old son of Mr. Prospector was represented 132 winners (10 were stakes winners). He also led the region in progeny earnings with nearly $5 million.