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Monday, June 4, 2012

A Brief Respite

Things have certainly not been great in standardbred racing this past few weeks, and I am sure people have been getting frayed over things; I know I have.  So it was time for a break.  Well, I found a picture of a standardbred in the United Kingdom which just caught my attention so here is a blog entry about this particular horse.

Meet Old Bloke.... 

Old Bloke (Rorschach-Moss Side Lass by Rajah Lobell)
Old Bloke, is an UK-bred standardbred.  That's right, a standardbred.  We all heard about the white foal recently, but could you imagine the looks racing would get if you saw a horse like this showing up at an American harness track?  Actually, the color is skewbald, and I'm told they are attempting to reintroduce this color in Australia and the United Kingdom.  I must admit, I love the color and markings of a paint horse so here is a case where you get both in a standardbred.   A  freak?  Not really, the breeder has a few skewbalds on the farm.

Admittedly, Old Bloke has not been a big success on the track, a 6yo stallion who according to the British Harness Racing Club records made only 6 lifetime starts and earnings of £150 and was timed in 2:09.8 at York Raceway.  However, he has raced on the roads as well.  Based on the few starts the horse made, I assume there were some issues which impacted the horse's ability to race.  He is standing his first year at stud.

In case you are interested in Old Bloke's breeding, he is by Rorschach (b. 1993), an Australian stallion with lifetime earnings of $30,311, 9 wins in 95 lifetime starts, and a mile rate record of 1:58.6 earned in a time trial.  Rorschach broke the world record for skewbalds during his racing career.

The dam is Moss Side Lass (no information available) who is by the American sire Rajah Lobell, a foal of 1971 who had 42 registered foals with 37 starters of which 29 were 2:05 performers; 18 in 2:00; 2 in 1:55, earning a total of $2,069,419 before being exported to Great Britain.  Seven of his off-spring were winners of $100,000.

I realize on harness racing's list of problems, adding color to the sport is probably number 48 on the list of 50 things to be done.  But still, wouldn't it be something if we were able to reintroduce the skewbald color in North American harness racing?  It would take a while for it to gain a foothold and your larger commercial breeders would laugh, but wouldn't it be nice if this was the worst problem we had to talk about?

Like I said, a nice diversion.

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