The Pennsylvania Equine Coalition highlighted the fact that one of the three finalists for national “Horse of the Year,” the highest honor in thoroughbred horse racing, was sired by a stallion now standing at stud in a Berks County farm. This represents a monumental achievement for horse breeding in the state of Pennsylvania, as it is rare for top breeding horses to be located outside of Kentucky.
Wise Dan, sired by Wiseman’s Ferry of Dana Point Farm in Lenhartsville, was named a finalist for “Horse of the Year” at the 2012 Eclipse Awards, honoring champions of the horse racing industry. Finalists are selected by voters from Daily Racing Form, the National Turf Writers and Broadcasters, and the National Thoroughbred Racing Association.
“The fact that Wise Dan was sired by a stallion that is now standing at a farm in Pennsylvania started within the past five years underscores the impact of the state’s breeder incentives and the growing stature of Pennsylvania within the thoroughbred breeding industry,” said Brian Sanfratello, president of the Pennsylvania Horse Breeders Association. “We have seen an incredible rebirth of the racing and breeding industry in Pennsylvania since 2004, when the legislature legalized slot gaming in Pennsylvania as a means to fund, save, and revitalize horse racing and breeding.”
Wiseman’s Ferry has been a perennially sought after stud, with lifetime progeny earnings exceeding $13.7 million and counting. He has sired 12 stakes horses, including Wise Dan, Riding the River, and European 2 year-old Stakes Winner Swilly Ferry.
The 90-plus acre Dana Point Farms was opened Sept. 1, 2008 – again as a result of Act 71, Race Horse Development and Gaming Act -- -- and has quickly grown in stature in the Pennsylvania Thoroughbred breeding industry. Dana Point is the first thoroughbred venture by Gayle Gerth and is managed by Maria Vorhauer, who brings a lifetime of experience to the position. A successful business woman in her own right from Dana Point, Calif., Gerth decided to follow her heart and take up shop in Pennsylvania, where the burgeoning horse racing industry promised a good return on her investment. Following her purchase of the farm four years ago, Gerth invested millions of dollars in the property and business and now spends roughly half of the year in Pennsylvania.
“A decade ago, the equine industry in Pennsylvania was on life support – its very existence in question with thousands of jobs at risk and the viability of countless farms and small businesses in jeopardy,” said Pete Peterson, spokesperson for the Pennsylvania Equine Coalition. “Now, with a dedicated funding source in the Race Horse Development Fund, Pennsylvania is quickly becoming one of the leading equine states in the country, attracting millions of dollars in investment from racing partnerships, agricultural companies and from individuals that want to do business here.”
The Annual Eclipse Awards dinner at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale, Fla, also recognizes the best horses in the industry in a variety of categories, as well as the accomplishments of individual trainers, jockeys, owners, and apprentices.
About the Pennsylvania Equine Coalition
The Pennsylvania Equine Coalition is a statewide group representing more than 10,000 owners and trainers of the horseracing industry in Pennsylvania. Members of the coalition include the Pennsylvania Harness Horsemen’s Association, the Pennsylvania Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association, the Standardbred Breeders Association of Pennsylvania, the Pennsylvania Horse Breeders Association, the Meadows Standardbred Owners Association, and the Pennsylvania Horsemen’s Benevolent & Protective Association.