The key question regarding the trotting breed in North America, as I see it, is whether or not the line emanating from Stars Pride endures. It appears to be on shaky ground. Viking Kronos, sire of European sensation Maharajah, as well as Order By Fax, Going Kronos and Thai Thanic, has sustained it in Europe. He was born in Italy to the Bonefish mare, Conch, who won the Oaks in 1985. So Viking Kronos is a Yankee through and through, but he’s in Sweden. He relocated there from Italy in 2007. He’s two years older than the NA patriarch of this line, his paternal brother Credit Winner, who is also by the smooth and refined American Winner, who has served as the extender for Stars Pride’s greatest siring son, Super Bowl. Credit Winner seems to have a lot in common with his Blue Chip stablemate on the pacing side, Art Major: He’s very successful in both the restricted and open realms and popular with breeders and buyers, but like Art Major, he hasn’t turned the trick when it comes to a line-extender.
Credit Winner is seventeen-years-old and his eleventh crop hits the track this year. More often than not successful sires produce an heir early. Credit Winner’s first crop consisted of plenty of good trotters but no potential extenders in NA. Chocolatier, who was not considered a notable stallion and was sold Swedish interests in 2011, was from Credit Winner’s second crop. RC Royalty, the sire of Royalty For Life and Here Comes Herbie, the half to Donato who sired Mister Herbie, were also from that crop. All have attractive qualities but none of them give us the impression they will carry Stars Pride into the future. Other possibilities are Crazed, who has been moved from New York to Pennsylvania and continues to struggle; Dejarmbro, who is just getting started in Ohio; and Archangel, who is standing in New York.
The fifteen-year-old Ontario stallion Kadabra, the sire of Bee A Magician, also goes back to Stars Pride, via Nevele Pride. His best son, Daylon Magician—there’s a big problem right there—has tried and failed as a stallion a couple of times and is now back racing. Windsong Espoir is now standing in Ontario. Knows Nothing has been sold to European interests, and Prestidigitator is in the Witness Protection Program. Four-year-old Flanagan Memory, winner of a divisional O’Brien for 2013, is a recent plus on the male side. Credit Winner’s son, Jurgen Hanover, was off to a very promising start last year when his campaign was cut short by injury. Perhaps he’ll go on. All in all, things are looking sketchy for the great Stars Pride.
And Malabar Man, who passed in 2011, went back to Stars Pride on top, but he never produced a top line extender. He was born in 1994, the year his sire, Supergill, was sent off to Italy. Supergill, a $500,000 yearling by Super Bowl and out of the world champion Bonefish mare, Winky’s Gill, was very successful in Europe, siring the likes of Toss Out and Promising Catch. Many bemoaned the fact that he was exported after standing at Castleton for six years. As is the case with Viking Kronos, Supergill represents another missed opportunity to extend Super Bowl and Stars Pride in the Americas.
The Volomite line, as is often the case, has not been extended from the expected source—Noble Gesture. Balanced Image and Mystic Park have petered out on top. It appeared that all was safe with ABC Freight’s son Garland Lobell and his potent trio, Andover, Angus and Conway, but that’s no sure thing. Donato looked like a cinch to extend but he’s better at fillies than he is at colts. With four racing crops behind him there’s no likely heir in sight. Big Rigs is standing in Ohio and a lot of folks like him, but he’s an unlikely line-extender. And eighteen-year-old Angus is not a good bet to get it done with Majestic Son, Cincinnati Kid or Winning Mister. It’s the little, older brother, Conway Hall, who appears to be the best bet to carry the line forward via his grandsons Lucky Chucky and Chapter Seven. Regardless, Bob Marks has always privileged the Hall trio’s mama, Amour Angus, over Garland Lobell, because Garland has thrown nothing faintly resembling a stallion in NA without Amour Angus. That further complicates things for this line.
The brilliant Self Possessed, a grandson of Valley Victory, is the modern day key to the line running through Speedy Scot and Speedy Crown. Trainer Ron Gurfein said he was the fastest standardbred—trotter or pacer—he had ever seen. Thirteen-year-old Cantab Hall looks to be a snap to carry on this Line. His son Father Patrick was outstanding last year. Then again, another son Wheeling N Dealin was also unbeatable as a freshman. Eight-year-old Explosive Matter has met with some success in Pennsylvania and Pastor Stephen has been retired to stud in Sweden. Dewey can’t get out of his own way, however, while Muscle Hill has hardly been the diagonally gaited answer to SBSW, he may keep Muscles Yankee going. Mr Muscleman, from Muscles Yankee’s first crop, is still his richest son. Losing him as a stallion prospect has been very unfortunate. Still, nine-year-old Muscle Mass, who was very successful in the ONSS, has been relocated to Blue Chip in New York and his little brother, Muscle Massive, is at Hanover. And Yankee Glide has lots of promising young sons, like MOMM, Holiday Road, Guccio, Aperfectyankee and All Laid Out.
Perretti brought over Revenue S a decade ago and he hooked up with the Yankee Glide mare Classical Flirt to give us the 2012 and 2013 division champion Market Share. Obviously he will open new vistas for breeders when he is retired to stud. Revenue’s seven-year-old son Break The Bank, a BC winner in 2010, is already standing in Ohio.
Again, what about Stars Pride and Super Bowl in NA? I can’t say I’m optimistic about them having an extended run from this point forward, but it only takes one special son to turn the tide in this game.