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Wednesday, July 2, 2014

High Profile Performers Give New Ohio Pacing Stallions A Boost

Due to numerous factors, including the growth of sire stakes opportunities in Ohio and the countervailing contraction in Ontario and New Jersey, an inordinate number of stallions have changed addresses over the last couple of years. It’s difficult enough for a premium sire like Bettor’s Delight, who has been bounced from New York to Ontario to Pennsylvania, to pull off, but it’s particularly difficult for a marginal stallion. In many cases a reduced stud fee reflects their lack of success in the previous location, or their fee may simply be cut to a level commensurate with the more limited opportunities available in their destination state. This in turn lessens the perceived value of the stallion for breeders and buyers alike.

McArdle, the 15-year-old son of Falcon Seelster who serves as the last top line link to the great Bret Hanover, began his stallion career in New Jersey but followed the slots dollars to Pennsylvania in 2006, where he stood for $6,000. After meeting with very mixed results in the Keystone State for eight years and having his stud fee dip to a low of $3,500 in 2013, he followed the casino dollar trail once more, this time to Ohio, where he currently stands for $4,000.

McArdle’s premier son is Meadowlands Pace winner One More Laugh, from his third crop. OML was a world record holder at two and three and has earned more than $2.6 million, but he fell off the earth as a four-year-old and is at this point a distant memory for breeders.  And Big McDeal, now retired, is his best mare. She wasn’t a prolific stakes winner, but she did possess world class speed and an abundance of toughness.

In a show of perfect timing McArdle has raised his profile in Ohio with a pair of pacers that may prove to be his best ever. McWicked, who was taken back for $210,000 at a sale in November and was apparently subsequently moved in a private transaction, won the Hempt in a world record 1:47.3 the other night, making him the fastest son of his sire. This in tandem with impressive wins in his NA Cup and Hempt eliminations and a solid freshman campaign in the PASS, where he made the board nine times in ten stars and earned $180,000, will certainly translate into increased bookings in his new locale.

The same applies to McArdle’s daughter Tyra, who won the Lismore in late May and set a new lifetime mark of 1:50.1 while winning the Lynch consolation at Pocono the other night. And beyond that, last night in a PA All Stars split a McArdle freshman filly named Macarena Mama won easy as can be in 1:54.2 at 1/5 for Mark MacDonald and Blake MacIntosh.

The Artiscape stallion Yankee Cruiser, at fourteen a year younger than his fellow Pennsylvania expatriate McArdle, has also set up shop in slots rich Ohio after fighting a losing battle against the heavy hitters in the PASS program for several years. He stood at Hanover for $6,000 in 2013 and is now getting $4,500 in the Buckeye State. His sons Sweet Lou and Dancin Yankee have both stepped up their game to give him the same sort of boost McArdle is getting. Lou won his division at two but disappointed more often than not since, despite a prodigious appetite for purse money. Now he has a chance to become the first pacer ever to win his division at ages two and five. And the 6-year-old journeyman Dancin Yankee has seemingly been imparted the elixir of the Gods by trainer Josh Green—he scorched the Pocono drag strip in 1:47.3 on Saturday night for current trainer Amber Buter.

Allamerican Native, the 14-year-old Presidential Ball stallion who was relocated from Ontario to Ohio for the 2014 season, stands for a modest $2,500. He’s thrown some good fillies like A And G’s Confusion, but he’s been an absolutely gynocentric stallion, destitute when it comes to accomplished sons. However, just in time for his introduction to Ohio breeders and buyers, National Debt, the flashy winner of the Gilmour series at the Meadowlands and a starter in Saturday’s Meadowlands Pace elimination round, showed up. And another son, Mattamerican, a Robert Key homebred out of a Matt’s Scooter mare, has been turning heads of late in Pennsylvania. He cut the mile in the Hempt consolation the other night, only to be picked up by NJSS final winner Doo Wop Hanover. And Allamerican Native is still turning out those top fillies, with example A being the speedy 3-year-old frontrunner Weeper, who has won 9 of 14 lifetime starts, good for about $180,000.

Nine-year-old Art Official is another who found out how quickly judgment is rendered in the Keystone State. His $7,000 fee was cut 30% in 2012, with his first crop still a year away from the track, and he’s now down to $3,500 in Ohio. The thee-year-old filly, Cinamony, a bargain yearling purchase who got a lot of press coverage after a striking win in her Lynch elimination, is helping to raise Art Official’s profile in the Buckeye State.

McArdle, Yankee Cruiser, Allamerican Native and Art Official all carry the stain of having been relocated from richer programs to Ohio, and they will have to compete with high profile newcomers like Pet Rock and Big Bad John, but nothing sells a stallion like dominant performers in the here and now.  Tyra’s crush job in the Lismore moves the meter, as does the fact that Sweet Lou stands with Sebastian as the dominant performers of their respective gaits. McWicked isn’t staked to the Meadowlands Pace, but he’ll be at The Meadows July 19 for the Adios elimination round, and folks in Ohio with mares to breed will take notice.

Joe FitzGerald

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